Managing Public Computing · 59
“We have a shared responsibility with campus staff in some library-based computer clusters and we manage
others on our own. So it is difficult to answer some of your questions about number of staff involved in
supporting public computing here.”
“We spend little time on a day-to-day basis managing public workstations. Given we are undergoing a large
renovation, the most frequent complaint about the machines is that they are dirty due to construction dust.”
Survey Follow-up Question
During analysis of the survey responses, and reinforced by the article “Are Computers in
Libraries on the Wane?” ( in the
Chronicle of Higher Education, the survey authors realized they needed to ask one more
question. An e-mail was sent to the survey respondents with the question below.
Over the last five years, would you say that user demand for public computing at your
institution has increased, decreased, or stayed about the same? N=40
Increased 36 90%
Increased in certain locations, decreased in others 1 3%
Decreased 0
Stayed about the same 3 7%
Selected Comments from Respondents
“Public computing use in the Libraries has increased to some extent, but there is some evidence that public
computing use has decreased across campus. So it depends on what you mean by ‘your institution.’”
“It has increased in certain locations, decreased in others.”
“Although the % of personal PCs that students bring to campus has gradually increased over time, our library
continues to received requests from patrons for more computers. One reason is our library is located centrally
on campus and has become a popular stop-over and meeting place for students. Even though we have added
more PCs, the convenience has meant greater user demand and we never seem to have enough PCs.”
“I would say that demand in our libraries for public computing has increased somewhat over the last five
years. However, alongside this modest increase, demand for wireless access accompanied by electrical outlets
has increased greatly.”
“Student computers in our public areas are always in use. There has never been a problem with equipment
sitting idle! Of particular note is the voracious appetite students have for laptops they can check out. It seems
that no matter how many more we make available, there is always need of a few more.”
“Our networked computers, where students log in and can access their student accounts and printing
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