Grant provides laptop rental service, additional tech resource


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Engineering major Ogheneyengbame Akpojiyovbi uses one of the laptops now available for rent in the library. The laptops can be used for three hours at a time and can be picked up at the information desk.

By Nora Alkrizy, Staff Writer

The technological changes introduced by the Library and Learning Resource Center this semester are providing new assistance for students in using the services offered.

With the aid of the innovation grant, Contra Costa College has managed to offer, in its Library, the use of personal laptops as well as a new service called Library Chat Help 24/7.

The purpose of both plans is to support students in being more connected to the Library and for them to make use of its tools to succeed in their schoolwork, Librarian Megan Kinney said.

With the desktop computers in the Library and College Skills Center that CCC makes available to students, there are times when they are either all occupied, or not suitable for group study sessions.

The laptops are suitable for mobile use and their usage is not restricted to a specific area. Students are free to use them in the Library or in the group study rooms.

The newly acquired laptops are currently available to any registered student.

“Since the beginning of the semester 62 students have come forth to the reference desk and registered to check out a laptop,” Kinney said.

“I’m glad to see the students are (using) the service to their advantage.”

For checkout eligibility, students must first sign up at the Library Reference Desk and fill out a contract.

“The registration process is fairly simple and fast,” Library and Resource Circulation Desk Secretary Tadelech Yoseph said.

“It’s a policy process where the students let us know that they are agreeing to the terms and conditions and are responsible for the laptops in their company,” Yoseph said.

Criminal justice major Jesse Gonzales said, “Having the opportunity to get a mobile laptop will do wonders.  I can go into a silent study room and do my work with zero distractions.”

Library Chat Help 24/7 is an online messaging service designed for students who cannot reach the Library to chat with a librarian, so this service intends to provide students with the assistance of a library off campus.

Students are asked for a name and email address in case the librarian needs to send follow-up information.

The conversation is then sent directly to Kinney. This gives the opportunity to go back and review the conversation so that she can later reach out to the student when she finds it necessary, she said.

Psychology major Sergio Corona took a library studies class this past summer and said, “Lots and lots of library usage is important for that class.” I wish I had the opportunity to connect with a librarian online to get the help I needed out of (the) hours the Library was available.”

Since the college will be soon replacing Desire2Learn with a new districtwide online learning management system called Canvas, the Library is hoping to implement these services within that upcoming system.

“Having students connect to Library services online is a great way to familiarize them with the process,” Kinney said, “so that when such Library services are implemented in the new (online learning) management system, it won’t be a shock to students as they will be more comfortable.”

Kinney said that the free laptop usage and chatting online with a librarian started out concurrently and this campus is the first to implement these services among its sister colleges (Diablo Valley and Los Medanos).

“We understand that students are busy,” she said.

“They normally have classes during Library hours (and) having an librarian available online helps students reach one, outside of Library hours or if they are off campus.”