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S.F. library eyes laptop-lending kiosks

San Francisco Chronicle
February 3, 2013
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The library wants to earmark $99,500 in its upcoming budget to purchase three laptop lending kiosks that would boost the number of available computers and remove the human element from the current system where librarians check out portable computers to patrons for inside use. Worthwhile investmentBut the library says it's a worthwhile investment to a growing laptop lending program that has six laptops available at each of the 27 branch libraries, except for the main library. Michael Liang, the library's chief information officer, said limited availability of desktop computers and laptops are a top complaint, and he wants to double the number of laptops in the near future. LaptopsAnytime co-founder Matthew Buscher, whose company would provide the kiosks, says his vision is to make the library and its 900 public computers "more like a library and less like a computer lab." Having also marketed the kiosks to colleges, Buscher said he's learned from students that people often don't want to lug their laptop out to a library or worry about their personal computer getting stolen. Portability a plusWhen Santa Clarita (Los Angeles County) was considering adding a laptop lending program, City Librarian Ed Kieczykowski said he was worried about the cost of adding staff to be responsible for the computers, and purchasing three kiosks in September has turned out to be a good investment.


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