At OSU Institute of Technology’s Library, books don’t even begin to cover what students can check out and take with them.
Last fall, the Library launched the Tech To-Go program that allows students to check out a variety of tech gadgets and tools including laptops, digital cameras, tablets, headphones, wearable technology, even a 3D printer.
“It’s done really, really well. It took a little bit for people to catch on, but once a student came and checked something out, their friends would start to come in,” said Jennifer Tatum, reference and instruction librarian. “The students were the first to buy-in, especially when they learned it’s free.”
Since January, there have been 761 checkouts of Tech To-Go items, Tatum said, with the most popular items being Beats headphones with 243 checkouts, MacBooks with 215 checkouts and Dell laptops with 124 checkouts.
“We’ve ordered 10 more laptops and will probably order more later this year. Students have told us they’ve got all kinds of use out of them,” she said. “There are a lot of students who don’t want to work on a lab computer, they’d rather work from their dorm room or home so they come and check out a laptop to do their work, or to play. They may not want to watch Netflix in a computer lab.”
It’s also a great opportunity for students to test drive technology without having to travel to retailers in cities like Tulsa or Oklahoma City.
“They can try out items before they buy them, see if it’s something they will actually enjoy using. They can see the difference between computers and the capabilities of each one. They can decide if they really need an iPad or if one of the more affordable options will work just as well for them,” she said.
It’s also opened up the Library to students who may not have utilized it before.
“It’s been helpful to introduce them to what’s going on in the library. They come in to check out a laptop and learn they can also check out DVD to watch on it,” Tatum said.
This year, Tatum said the Tech To-Go program will hopefully become an even better tool for students in certain programs.
“We’ve gone out of our way to meet with faculty to learn what kinds of equipment they utilize, but that aren’t accessible to students outside of the classroom. Things like thermal imaging cameras or in Culinary a tool called a Joule for immersion sous vide,” she said.
Tatum hopes the program continues to grow and evolve, just like technology.
“I watch tech blogs all the time to see what’s coming. As we see things we start adding them, when students come and ask for things, we get them,” she said. “We do try to keep up with the latest technology.”