Laptops go on loan at library
LODI, Jan 17, 2013 (The Record - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Laptop computers were available for loan at the Lodi Public Library on Wednesday as part of a new statewide effort to increase Internet access.
The library received 15 Google Chromebook laptops through the federal Library Services and Technology Act, and will allow library card holders to check them out for seven days at a time.
"The only thing they need to have is a Gmail account that they can sign in with and they need an Internet connection," said reference librarian Behjat Kerdetari.
Chromebooks are a new product that have tiny hard drives and run on Google's cloud-based Chrome software. With a Gmail account, however, users can sign in and have access to Google Documents and other programs. All work is stored on a personal Google account on the cloud.
"When they sign out, they can sign back in to Gmail on any computer and have access to all their work from anywhere," Kerdetari said.
The library will be judicious on making sure people who check out the computers will return them on time, senior library assistant Kathy Contavile said. There will be a $10 charge for each day the computer is overdue up to $50 for five days. On the sixth day, a lost item bill will automatically charge $350 to replace the $250 machine, its case and administration fees.
The Lodi Library's Chromebooks are just a few of 1,000 that have been released in libraries throughout the state.
While none had been checked out in Lodi on Wednesday afternoon, other libraries say the program has been a major success.
"We're really happy with the program and would like to see it expand," Roseville Library Supervisor Chris Rohde said in a written statement, adding that there has been an "overwhelming response."
The California State Library system said Internet access for the community is among the institution's top priorities.
"Part of the State Library mission is to help libraries serve those in communities who want to find information online but don't have a home computer. By making Chromebooks available for loan, libraries can help bridge that digital divide," said acting State Librarian Gerald Maginnity.
Contact reporter Keith Reid at (209) 546-8257 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his blog at recordnet.com/lodiblog.
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