After years of considering bringing mobile electronics to the university libraries, a task force at the libraries has finally done it. Ten Apple iPad Airs, 10 Macbook Airs installed with Windows and 10 Macbook Airs installed with OS X are now available at the circulation desk at the Moffitt Library. This program, started May 27, was funded by Associate University Librarian Erik Mitchell, who wanted to provide a variety of computing options for library-goers. Moffitt Library in particular was chosen as the circulation point due to its hours of operation.
All UC Berkeley graduate and undergraduate students with a valid Cal ID or yellow library card are eligible to borrow the electronics for four hours at a time with one renewal — a total of eight hours — but students must be in good standing (no fines, no overdue items, no recalls and no blocks). These devices are loaned out on a first-come, first-served basis and are not available to reserve ahead of time or for overnight checkout, but you are free to take them outside the library, so long as they are returned to the Moffitt Library circulation desk.
Although you may do whatever you would like with the devices when they are in your possession, be sure to return them in the same state as they were. You are responsible for loss, damage or theft of the device while it is in your possession, and the replacement fines are extravagant — a Macbook Air costs $2,000, and an iPad Air costs $1,200. No matter the excuse, your replacement charges cannot be waived or forgiven, and the library will not accept an actual replacement.
Despite the profuse replacement charges and fees, the ability to borrow an iPad or Macbook Air is a great addition to Moffitt. According to Mark Marow, head of Access Services Division, the idea behind this program was to assist students with their research needs and help level the playing field for the students who only have a desktop at home or who forget to bring their mobile device to work. These electronics are perfect for preparing presentations, having an extra screen available for research or for procrastination when you should be studying. The Macbook Air with OS X is the most popular device to be loaned, and once the Social Welfare Research Library reopens in the fall, laptops will also be available there at the circulation desk.
As mobile devices have become increasingly popular over the years, “rethinking computing options for users resulted in the redistribution of computing funds to include mobile devices,” Marow said. As the semester kicks off once again, this program is likely to become very popular, so rent out an iPad or Macbook Air while they are still readily available.
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