Laptops for Checkout at All Memphis Public Library Locations
By: Marcey Evans
Books aren’t the only things library customers can check out. Now, the “smartest” card in your wallet offers access to laptops which can be checked out for internal use at any library branch system wide.
No line. No waiting. Customers needing to use computers no longer have to wait on the next desktop computer. They can use these printer-ready laptops equipped with current software such as Microsoft Office 2010.
“Come, check them out, and use them,” advised JobLINC Services Manager Robyn Stone, who helped to secure the mobile computers for public use. “We are expanding access with these laptops. While we have hundreds of computers, they were not enough. We have WiFi access at each (library) location, and we have the resources to satisfy our customers’ need to know.”
More than 170 laptops were purchased for Memphis public libraries through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), a federal grant meant to increase access to health information, workforce development training, financial literacy resources, and job search assistance in urban areas. After state government secured federal dollars, the City of Memphis also contributed to the fund, which totaled more than $200,000. This gift was given to the Library system to “bridge the gap between Tennessee’s impoverished and unemployed,” as outlined in the grant’s overall objective.
To reach this ambitious goal, each laptop has icons that are connected to websites on the aforementioned topics, along with a hyperlink to the JobLINC web page (http://www.memphislibrary.org/joblinc). Connecting people to employers and other resources, this web page offers job readiness information, career planning and assessment, classes and workshops, facts for small businesses, test preparation and practice, computer tutorials, and connections to several other opportunities.
To check out a laptop, customers must be 18 years of age with a Library card and valid Tennessee driver’s license or government-issued picture identification. Users must complete a one-page laptop registration form and review the checkout policy with a librarian.
“We’re here to help you,” Stone said. “We just want customers to take advantage of this opportunity to become familiar with this technology.”
For more information on how to check out a laptop, call your local library branch or visit any circulation desk. At Central Library, laptops are available on the third floor in the Business/Sciences Department.
“We only ask that you bring a flash drive, if you’re working on your resume,” Stone added.