By Andrew Ayala
The Helen Miller Bailey Library at East Los Angeles College has began offering three-hour Chromebook rentals to ELAC students this semester.
Antonio Ng, a professor of library science and a librarian on the main campus said that the program has been going on for about two weeks now. The Chromebook students can check out is an HP Chromebook x360.
The laptop has no programs installed, but students can connect to the Wifi on campus without logging in and use programs such as Google Docs or Office 365 to take notes or type papers up.
The Chromebook can be used as a laptop, folded to be a tablet or even connected to the televisions in the study rooms in the library to project what is displayed on the small screen. This can be a tool for students to use when practicing presentations or working on a group project.
“We try as much as possible to provide the technology for students. We try to stay up to standards, I guess, as far as providing state-of-the-art technology,” Ng said.
The library has about 50 Chromebooks available for rent, but at the moment they are doing 10 at a time.
So far only a couple a week have been rented out due to the lack of awareness of the program.
“Every so often we conduct a library survey. We are running one as we speak until May 3. So far we have received 3,000 responses already. We do take comments very seriously, as far as how we can improve our services and this was one of them,” Ng said.
In order to rent one of these, students must have a valid student ID and fill out a Chromebook borrower agreement which states the terms and conditions that the students must abide by.
“Students would check them out and return them to the tech help desk…They can only be checked out when our IT person is on duty,” Ng said. “He is the expert and he is the one that will make sure that everything is working and functional before it gets lent out to the student. We don’t want to get into any problems between the library and the patron.”
The Chromebooks have a tracking software which will prevent them from being stolen or lost.
There is a replacement fee which starts at $500. The laptops are not allowed outside of campus but are not restricted to library use only.
“I think it is easier and a better update to the computers that we have here. The Chromebooks and these computers offer the same services they just add more accessibility, like when finals come up,” said Cristian Perez, a student aid at the library.
The program was funded through lottery funds and is still in the pilot stage, which is why there are so few being rented out at once.
Ng said he has bigger plans to expand the technology in the library by hopefully adding updated scanners and printers which would have the ability to actually scan textbook pages and convert them into downloadable PDFs.
The Chromebooks are available all semester and only on the main campus.