Pilot program allows free scans at library - lsureveille.com: News

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Pilot program allows free scans at library

iPad checkout, public scanner tested

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Posted: Sunday, February 3, 2013 3:17 pm

Middleton Library patrons can now easily scan books, articles and just about anything else for free  with the advent of a new pilot program.

Elissa Plank, LSU Libraries head of circulation services, said the library received a public access scanner kiosk last week. Plank said patron demand influenced the decision to try the pilot program.

“We’ve gotten feedback from students to say that they wanted this scanner,” she said.

The KIC BookEdge scanner station is set up near the entrance of Middleton. It is outfitted with a touch-screen monitor patrons use to complete the scan and to save the document to a flash drive, email or cloud storage like Google Docs, Plank said.

Plank said the scanner may prove especially useful for faculty and students who need copies of articles in old journals that were never digitized. Some current journals have vendor restrictions on when they can become available, so patrons would need to scan or copy those articles, too, she said.

Library Computer Manager Brian Melancon wrote in an email to The Daily Reveille that the scanner trial period will last 30 days.

When that time is up, the library will decide if there has been enough positive feedback to warrant purchasing the scanner, Plank said.

“We’re trying to get as many people to use it while it’s here and give us some feedback on how you like it,” Plank said.

The library might bring a proposal to the [Student Technological              Fee] Oversight Committee to secure funds to pay for the scanner, Melancon said.

Plank said the library is also testing an iPad checkout program. Beginning in early February, patrons will be able to check out an iPad for seven days, she said.

There are 10 iPads in the checkout pool; each has a case and is loaded with some basic software, Plank said. The iPads were purchased with tech fee funds.

The more than $10,000 pilot program was approved at a tech fee committee meeting Oct. 22. Mike Smith, director of Technical Services, told the committee at the meeting many students regularly use newer technologies like the iPad for schoolwork.

“When students go to check them out, they’re going to find out if that’s a useful replacement for a laptop,” Smith said.

The iPad pilot may expand to a full checkout program if enough interest is shown, he said.

“The adoption rate for a tablet was so much increased proportionally, so much faster than, say, the introduction of things like laptops that we decided that we wanted to look at it,” Plank said. 

Plank said because most University students have their own laptops, the library’s current Gear to Geaux laptop checkout program may need to be re-evaluated if iPad checkout is particularly successful. Programs like the iPad pilot help determine what kinds of new technological investments should be made with tech fee money, she said.

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