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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Surf the internet waves with the Surface Pros

The Library / Learning Crossroads is open Monday through Thursday until 7:30 p.m., but for students, schoolwork does not always end at the close of campus.

The library has instituted a program that will allow all currently enrolled students the opportunity to check out a Surface Pro personal tablet for their school work.

The tablets were originally offered to students in need of financial support, in Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOP&S), and veterans who didn’t have the access or means to obtain personal devices for school, according to Librarian Clay Gediman.

“Now, we are expanding the program to anybody at this point in the semester, especially with finals coming up,” Gediman said. “We feel like this would be a good time to open it up to all students.”

The library is offering Surface Pro 3s and 4s, tablets made by Microsoft with a removable keyboard and the capability of a normal laptop.

“It’s more portable than a full laptop, which tends to be bigger, bulkier and harder to configure,” Gediman said.

To check out a Surface Pro from the library, students need to have a school ID  and fill out a contract saying they will replace the device if it is damaged.

“If a Pro is damaged it’s about $1500 to replace it. There is a responsibility to checking these things out,” Gediman said. “But what they can do is check these out for a month at a time, at the end of the month bring it in, and we can renew it for another month. This way it helps students keep track.”

Gediman said that the school decided to offer the program to all students so that they would be able to do homework after library and campus hours.

“We noticed that students come to the library to do their homework, and that is fine, but a lot of the other students have no other place to do their homework,” Gediman said. “This program creates a little bit more flexibility for the student, and they are just not limited to what our library hours are.”

Library Department Chair Paula Paggi said she is excited to offer this program to all students because it demonstrates how useful libraries continue to be the digital age.

“We are really excited about this program. We are not just a building. The library’s focus is to help you succeed and support you in your studies and classes,” Paggi said.

According to Paggi, the idea for this program didn’t happen all of the sudden.

“The whole idea of getting tablets in general has been floating as conversation for a number a years. We were just worried about funding,” Paggi said. “Distance Education and EOP&S had purchased 30 Surface Pros for veterans and low income students, but they were having a hard time trying to manage that. They turned to the library, because the library is a perfect place. We catalog and check things out.”

Chia Lee, a pre-veterinary student at Pierce, visits the library to do homework or study with classmates.

“I think this program is very good because some students have financial difficulties, but some students also don’t have the convenience of their own devices,” Lee said. “I know some people that go to the computer lab here because they just don’t have access to a computer.”

According to Gediman, the library will release the Surface Pros in increments because they are unsure of the demand for the tablets.

“We are going to see how popular these turn out and scale it up from that point. Hopefully, this makes college a little bit easier for students. We are trying to take out the stress of not knowing where to do your homework,“ Gediman said.  

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