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Laptop Lending Program Popular with Students  

Submitted by on October 13, 2016 – 7:43 pm
NECC librarians Susan Leonardi and Fred Curty display one of the Dell laptops and carry case available to NECC students through a new laptop lending program.

NECC librarians Susan Leonardi and Fred Curty display one of the Dell laptops and carry cases available to NECC students through a new laptop lending program.

If you are a Northern Essex Community College student and don’t have access to a computer off campus, the NECC library has a solution – a new laptop, lending program.

Whether the dog ate your own computer or you can’t visit the NECC computer lab because of your work schedule or child’s soccer practice, there is now a new, short-term option. Students who hold an NECC library card can borrow one of five, Dell laptops. There are two laptops available through the NECC Lawrence library and three through the Haverhill campus library.

Each laptop comes with a heavy-duty laptop case and a two-piece charger. Each is equipped with Microsoft Office Suite 2013 as well as internet access capabilities. Curriculum specific software, however, is not included. The laptops can be checked out for up to 48 hours with a seven-day wait period between renewals so as to prevent anyone from monopolizing them.

The idea for the laptop lending library, said Mike Hearn, director of library services, started with English Professor Suzanne Van Wert. Some students shared with her that they had trouble completing assignments in a timely manner because they lacked access to a personal or public computer. The idea was taken to Bill Heineman, vice president of academic and student affairs, who thought the library, would be the perfect department to handle a laptop lending program since a circulation policy was already in place. Van Wert applied for and received a $3600 NECC Fund Grant last spring. The library agreed to administer the grant. The laptops and carry cases were purchased over the summer.

Since fall classes began September 7, the laptop use has been brisk. In just four weeks the Lawrence laptops have been loaned seven times and Haverhill laptops 21 times. Hearn expects this number to increase as word of the program spreads.

“They are routinely being loaned out,” said Hearn. “The students are very excited about the program. We’ve had a lot of positive comments.”

When his computer unexpectedly went in for repairs, Peter Leon of Lawrence, a chemical engineering major, turned to the laptop lending program to help him keep up with his math and biology homework.

“The laptop held me over for 48 hours,” the 21-year-old said. “It was perfect for my needs.”

NECC’s IT department maintains the computers. Students notify librarians of technical issues. Students sign an equipment liability agreement. The laptops are subject to the same terms of use as all NECC computers.

There is a $500 replacement fee if the computer is damaged or lost, said Hearn. The laptop is protected by a computer restore software called Deep Freeze. Students can safely save files to a folder on the laptop titled “student files”. All documents or files not in that folder are erased when the laptop is restarted. The library recommends that students use a USB drive or cloud service to back up a file.

All laptops must be returned to the campus and the library desk from which it was taken. The laptops must not be placed in a book drop. A late fee of a $1 per hour will be accrued for all delinquent laptop returns.

Hearn said the students seem to appreciate the program.

“They understand it’s a privilege …they know if something happens to the equipment it jeopardizes their right to use it again.”