Managing Public Computing · 61
“It has been consistently high demand, with some increase from high to higher. (Science Librarian) The current
number of public laptops is roughly double what it was five years ago: 30 then to 50 today. (Our IT guy.) Staff
in the main library also report increases in demand for public computing. This also applies to laptops. The
students don’t want to carry their laptops around; they want to borrow ours.”
“Feedback from our patrons has been very consistent that they desire more public computers, particularly
ones that are focused on productivity (in contrast to simple OPACs). In our largest library, we’re adding public
computers, mostly in the form of additional free public loaner laptops, and expect demand for the library’s
public computers in general to continue to increase.
FWIW, here’s what I’ve seen regarding demand for public computers over time. At first we thought that as
students acquired computers in their residence hall rooms and apartments, demand would go down for the
campus’s public computers. Demand went up during that period instead. Then we thought that as students
got laptops, demand would go down for public computers. Alas, demand has continued to increase! It turns
out that our mostly generic but robust and functional public computers, conveniently available in appealing
environments, represents a large utility to our library’s patrons.”
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