Lending Laptops at the Library

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Rockridge Library has a new program for Oakland Public Library cardholders: laptop checkout for use in the library.

Maybe you have a big project you're working on that might take a couple of hours (workstations have a one-hour limit), or perhaps you'd prefer to settle in to the cozy chairs near the newspapers to work. Check out a laptop and you're assured two hours to get your work done. Whatever your needs, the Rockridge Library has five laptops available for use in the library. Just ask at the Reference Desk.

To check out a laptop, you need a valid Oakland Public Library card and a piece of mail or identification that shows your current address. Then, sign a portable electronic device use agreement and you're ready to use an available laptop inside the library.

Children's Librarian Erica Siskind shared how a family benefitted from the lending program: "A mom with her four- and seven-year-old children came into the library. They didn't have a computer at home, and the mom needed to type a resume, fill out some online work applications, and take care of email. The mom checked out a laptop and sat at the table in the children's area, where she could easily observe her younger daughter playing with toys, coloring with other children, and looking at books, while she completed her work. Her son played educational games on the children's computer, also within sight of his mom. Everyone was happy."

The laptops were also a boon during open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, during which the library hosted popular sessions to help people sign up for insurance. The mobility of the laptops meant that the library could hold separate sessions in the meeting room, allowing individualized support to those navigating the system, all without disturbing others in the library.

The Friends of the Rockridge Library (FORL) purchased the five laptops for the new laptop checkout program that began in March. FORL collaborates with library leadership and staff to determine funding needs for the library and community. In hundreds of libraries across the country, laptop checkout programs have expanded access to technology and allowed libraries more flexibility for training, to address space constraints, and to facilitate mobile programs.

The Rockridge Library is excited to offer this resource to the community.

Find out more about FORL, its programs, and how you can help at www.RockridgeFriends.org