Library Expands Tech Offerings

Alexandra Goetz, Reporter

Techies can get their fill of gadgets at the library.

The library now has 30 new iPads, a tripod and a new scanner that students are free to borrow. The library recently added char- gers for the iPads, too, as well as other devices to its inventory.

“Now students, some of their laptops don’t have DVD players so we added the portable DVD players for them. It progresses as technology progresses. The library progresses and we have to stay on top,” said Access Services Manager Colleen Newhart.

The library staff decided to make the purchases because they want to keep up with students’ needs.

“We want to see what students are using and that is what we want to have,” Newhart explained.

Newhart believes that these purchases can help students academically.

“Our iPads are available now for instructors to use for their classes. All the professors have to do is reserve them ahead of time,” said Newhart.

Some professors have already begun checking out the iPads to use in class. Freshman occupational therapy major Beth Pfisterer said if her professor were to use the iPads in class, students might enjoy class more.

“It would make classes more interactive and more hands-on. Going off of what I just said about the iPads making classes more hands-on, the iPads could show you how do something rather than having a PowerPoint show you how.”

An iPad could be worth even more than that. According to the iPad checkout policy, the replacement fee is $700 and that doesn’t include the charger, case, and screen protectors.

Students can use the new tripod with the iPads. For example, students can use them for a presentation, to take pictures, or to video tape something.

All this new technology can also be used for non-academic purposes.

“You can come in and take an iPad out for a week and just play with it to see if you like it,” Newhart said.

Newhart thinks students will respond positively to the new selection of technology.

“Students are becoming more and more accustomed to using it to the point where they expect it,” said Newhart. “They expect us to have it, and we want to fulfill those expectations because we want to have everything they need so that they can get the best education they can.”

She said she is enjoying the gadgets, too.

“I think these changes are great! In fact, I just got my new iPhone because I figured I have to learn it too because I am not familiar with all of this new stuff, but being here with the students and seeing them come in with everything new we have to know how things work so that we can answer the questions,” Newhart said.

“I don’t find it difficult; it’s just different. It’s like getting a new car. You’re use to your car and then you get a new car and everything is on the other side. You have to get used to it. I like it. It’s just something new.”

Pfisterer also believes that students will even use the devices as a temporary replacement for their own or borrow them for a test drive.

“I think the laptops would be good for students in case of an emergency.

For example, if theirs is broken so badly that IT couldn’t fix it or if they left their laptop at home, they could easily just go borrow one. I think the iPads are good for students to be able to see if they are interested in it. Someone could be thinking about buying one and before they do make that purchase, they’ll probably want to see if they like it and if they find it easy to work. The iPads are also good for students to see how education can be changed with them or even how careers can be changed with the iPads.”

Freshman occupation therapy major Caitlin Chappell said she didn’t know iPads are available at the library, but she was pleased to learn they are.

“I usually just go to the library to print papers out or to study,” Chappell said. She said it’s good to know that the library is always trying to get the latest technology for students to use even though she doesn’t need to borrow a laptop or an iPad at the moment.

In addition to the new pur- chases, the library also has 40 laptops, which were provided by the Information Technology Department. Twenty are available to check out, while the other 20 can be borrowed, but they have to be used in the library.

“Right now we have IBM laptops and HP laptops and the big thing with being able to take out laptops is if a student’s laptop isn’t working properly, they can come in and take one of ours out for a week. We always have laptops available in the library that students can use,” Newhart said. The replacement fee on laptops is $600.

The library also has a DVD collection that can be accessed on- line, which makes trying to find a DVD much simpler. As new DVDs come out, library staffers put them into the catalog so people can search under DVD collections. Students can search by format
or genre. The library is also open to suggestions for new movies as well.

Still, Newhart said nothing takes the place of genuine human communication.

“I will say though, all the technology does not take the place of human interaction, and it is very important, even though you can text, to talk to people because you cannot get the same emotions with a smiley face, and sometimes it’s easier to get your message across just by talking to someone,” Newhart said.

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