Editorial: Lamenting laptops

As Paley’s laptop loan program ends, the TECH Center must consider its own lending services.

Once again, Paley Library has to make due with reduced means. Facing a 6 percent reduction from an already reduced 2011 budget, Paley staff was forced to critically examine its programs, hours and staff to make some difficult decisions.

As reported by Dominique Johnson in “Paley discontinues laptop loan program,” p. 2, Paley will be ending its laptop loan program this year amid declining utilization by the student body.

The Temple News recognizes that budget cuts must result in some cost containment action. The Paley staff made the right decision by considering recent trends toward personal computer possession. While the laptop loaning program was undoubtedly a valuable service, the other resources offered by Paley, including its vast library and knowledgeable staff, are absolutely invaluable. By maintaining the same hours of operations and avoiding staff size reductions, they have successfully minimized the negative effects that will be noticed by the student body.

That said, the ability to rent laptops for extended periods of time is still an important one for students. The TECH Center, which also maintains a laptop lending program, should change its policies to accommodate students who previously rented from the library.

In lieu of the overnight lending program once offered by Paley, the TECH Center program should extend its rental time span from the three-hour window it currently offers.

For longer assignments, most notably those that get clustered around midterms and finals, three hours is simply not enough. Because these times also serve as the TECH Center’s most bustling weeks, the importance of longer laptop lending time frames is magnified further.

The Paley staff examined the writing on the wall – higher rates of computer ownership among students, reduced interest and unmanageable costs – and made a decision that protected its most important services. While it is unfortunate that this decision had to be made, The Temple News believes it is more important to accept it. But it would benefit students if the TECH Center alters its laptop lending program to make it more amicable to students with more time-consuming assignments.

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