Library life-savers

When senior Brianne Marshall’s computer charger died, she could have wallowed in misery without a laptop. Instead she decided to take a visit to the McIntyre Library equipment checkout desk.

Although it didn’t have a charger for her computer available, she was able to check out a laptop to use for the week. This gave her a replacement for her personal computer until she could buy a new charger.

Students regularly utilize the equipment checkout when their hard drives crash or crazy accidents happen, Dallas Rayburn, a junior who works at the library said. However, students should take advantage of this service more often.

While the equipment checkout desk is not deserted on a daily basis, students often sign the equipment checkout agreement at the beginning of the semester and rarely use the service, said Vince Mussehl, Reserve and Equipment Checkout supervisor.

Not only does the library’s equipment checkout offer laptops and laptop chargers, but it also rents out phone chargers, flash drives, graphing calculators and even office supplies when students find themselves in a bind.

This service has been helpful to me for academics. I have checked out several audio recorders, DSLR cameras and video cameras for journalism classes.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the library holds more equipment than I thought. The simple amenities it provides are ones I misplace or break on a regular basis.

The vast selection of equipment at the library can also be helpful for students who don’t have the funds to buy expensive devices like flip camcorders or laptops. For students who are in the market to buy these devices, the library equipment checkout can allow them to test the products to see if they’re worth purchasing.

Students can use the equipment for leisure as well.  Kindles and iPads are available  for students to use for classes or just for fun.

“Part of the library’s mission is that it’s not just here for learning,” Mussehl said. “It’s here for recreation, too.”

But the fun may come to an end if a student neglects to bring the equipment back on time.

Students often shy away from using the library’s equipment because of the stringent late fees. The overdue fee for most items is $10 for each hour they are late.

Students should understand there is an important reason behind the overdue fees.

The library takes the matter of turning in equipment late seriously because it wants every student to be able to check out equipment when they need it, Mussehl said. If students do not bring back their items on time, other students with reservations may not be able to use the equipment they need to finish a project or assignment. But the library often makes appeals from the fines if students forget to bring something back until the next day.

After neglecting to bring a recorder back to the library and paying a twenty dollar fine, I recognize that the library could make an improvement. Simply sending automatic email notifications to students who have library equipment due soon would be helpful. Mussehl said this is something the library is working on for next year.

Even though the threat of late fees exists, it is not difficult to be responsible in making special note of when your equipment is due to the library. Students should not be deterred from using the service because of the fines and fees.

The equipment checkout service is now more accessible with its new website, showing pictures of everything the library has available. QR codes on devices like iPads make renewing devices through the website simple as well.

Students should take the opportunity to browse the site to look into the items available at the library. Only in college will you be able to use so many items for free, whether they’re critically necessary or simply for enjoyment.