Books. CDs. DVDs. Audiobooks. Now you can add laptop computers to the list of items that can be checked out from the East Baton Rouge Parish library system.
The Main Library on Goodwood Boulevard will have 10 laptop computers available for patrons to take home starting on Thursday, said Mary Stein, assistant library director for the East Baton Rouge Parish Library system.
The laptops are only available to adults age 18 or older who have a library card in good standing, issued at least 90 days prior to checking out the computer.
“Ten is just a drop in the bucket, but it’s a way to get started to see how people use them,” Stein said.
The computers were purchased under a federal stimulus grant to the state library system, Stein said. Each parish in Louisiana is getting 10 laptops, she said.
Stein said the laptops fill a need.
She noted that desktop computers available inside the main library and branches are heavily used, and patrons are restricted to one hour of time on them when others are waiting a turn.
“They may be working on their résumé, a newsletter for their church or a college project,” she said. “This way they can take a laptop home with them and keep working.”
Stein said the laptops can be checked out for up to three days and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis from the Main Library on Goodwood Boulevard.
A late fee of $10 per day will be charged if the laptop isn’t returned by the due date, she said. And a patron who loses a computer, or damages it to the point that it can’t be fixed, faces a $1,000 charge, she said.
The computers are equipped with CompuTrace, which allows them to be tracked and secured, Stein said. She described it as similar to tracking devices used to locate stolen cars.
She said the library has no control over how people choose to use the laptop computers they take home with them, or what content they access over the Internet.
However, the computers are set up so nothing can be saved to the hard drive, she said.
“The minute you turn it off, all the history is gone,” Stein said. “Every time it reboots, it basically wipes it off. ”
She said the laptop program was tested for several months in libraries in Jefferson Parish and a few other places and “they did not have any problems.”
Stein said the library will monitor how things go over the next few months, and depending how it goes, would “slowly add to our fleet of deployable laptops” over time.
She said the library would probably look to retrofit donated laptops, which would be loaded with the same types of software.