RE: [Videolib] Wireless networks in libraries

Jonathan Degan (
Mon, 13 Dec 2004 16:22:40 -0500

Excellent comments regarding laptop loans service Barb, thank you.

We are an academic library as well, and the IT services controls the
Wireless (802.11b service) and is restricted to current students and
staff. Very popular service as more and more students are buying laptop
computers instead of desktop computers. We see that desks that are close
to AC plugs very popular!

As for public libraries, I'd be wary of the open access, as anyone could
pretty much do anything. I would look at higher level routers/access
points which can control connections/speeds/access/ports etc...


At 03:19 PM 12/13/2004, you wrote:

>Not quite the same situation since I'm in an academic library, but...
>Our campus is wireless throughout the campus, including the library
>building. The network is open to students and staff. There is no
>We do circulate laptops (48 hour loan). And have a love/hate
>relationship with them. Although it's a great service, we find it to be
>a major headache for several reasons. I'd advise you to think twice
>unless you have staff who can spend the majority of their day handling
>the computers. Things to consider if you purchase some laptop computers:
>- When buying, look at the warranty and service package. You want the
>best you can find. We have Dell's with the service agreement that covers
>pretty much everything but theft and complete annihilation. (If you can
>produce a computer, they'll deal with it. We once had them replace a
>computer that had been run over by a car.) More common replacements have
>been things such as faulty batteries or problems with screens or
>- Are you prepared for ongoing maintenance costs? Replacing batteries,
>lost power supplies and other parts.
>- Unless you lock down the configuration, users will download, etc. For
>short-tem loans, Deep Freeze (which resets everything at Shut
>Down/Restart) is good, but because our loans are longer, we have to
>manually run a ghost image to reset the configuration after each return.
>- Our demand is much higher than supply. Do you do advance reservations
>or do you make available first-come? Both create problems-- a booked
>computer not returned by the time it's needed is a problem; but with a
>first-come policy, it means people have to wait & those who have time to
>wait always get one.
>- How will you handle overdues? We've had to keep raising the overdue
>fines. Currently $25 per day the minute it's late. When computer fines
>were $5/day, we had people who didn't care about other user's
>reservations and were too willing to pay fine.
>- And one that we never dreamt of -- Does the patron need a computer or
>does he really just want portable DVD player?
>It's one thing to say you don't help with configuration, etc., of
>personal laptops. Quite another situation when you have people asking
>all the time...
>Good luck,
>Barb Bergman
>Media Services Librarian
>Minnesota State University-Mankato
>(507) 389-5945

Jonathan Degan --
Médiathèque -- Media Resources
Bibliothèque Morisset Library - Université d'Ottawa -- University of Ottawa
Tel.: 613-562-5800 (3579); Fax: 613-562-5133

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