Inside BCPL: BCPL Now Loans Chromebooks and Other Devices

(Music Intro)
I love a good book, and I love great technology. Ever since time began, people have been telling
stories, and these stories became word, and then we had printed word, and then we had
books. And we have computer interactive platforms
and iPhones. We have technology now. It’s our reality. We’re here at the White Marsh Branch of the
Baltimore County Public Library to talk about technology and books; how they are working
together. Today we are talking about Chromebooks. We spoke to Matthew Aaron at the Device Loan
Press Conference. He’s going to tell us all about it. Well, technology is the way people experience
the world today. It’s not just through the printed books and
those are still important…still very much part of our collection. But we want to expand it so that everyone
in our community has the chance to experience the full range of technology that’s available
out there in the world. The Playaway Locks, first of all, are a preloaded
e-reader that’s going to allow us to circulate eBooks to customers who may not have their
own devices to download them to directly. It also gives people a chance to experience
e-readers if they haven’t experienced reading in that way before. One of the things that our strategic plan
means to do is give people what they want in the format that they want. And so expanding the range of formats we have
available is a great wat to offer more services to our customers. We love to do things to entertain and educate
the public, and these training labs give us the capacity to do that at any of our locations,
and even occasionally offsite. We’ll be able to have a bank of 20 computers
to offer programs or trainings to teach people from job skills to also fun programs as well. I am thrilled that we get to offer this to
our customers. It’s something that I think not a lot of libraries
are offering right now, so it’s a very exciting thing to be able to offer. Baltimore County Public Library has a great
reputation and it has always been on the forefront of harnessing technology. So Paul let you know that I have been around
for 22 years. And in those 22 years I have witnessed the
growth from bookmobiles to a library that promoted email access to the public for the
first time to loaning DVD’s. And by also importantly providing computer
access in the branches. So I am excited to announce that our library
patrons can now checkout e-readers with a book called, no, a Playaway Lock. And those Playaway Locks will have five books
preloaded for their reading pleasure. So you can come to the library to borrow the
e-reader. You can also come to the library to borrow
a Chromebook, which are basically laptops, so they can work on the internet outside of
the library and at home. And the last item is called a Go-Chip, which
are really portable devices that are preloaded with content that can be connected wirelessly
to your smartphone, tablet or computer, and again without worrying about data or streaming
charges or any storage issues. Plus our library technology will now be portable
with two mobile training labs. I guess this is the next generation of bookmobiles. Two mobile training labs that are complete
with 20 student laptops, as well as one for the instructor. And these labs will float between branches
for staff and customer training. Adding these devices to our collection allows
our county to access the latest technology, but also become more computer literate, and
learn those technical skills that are vital now in our workplaces and our global economy. Kevin has just beautifully pointed out why
this project is so important to our libraries. As providers of information and knowledge
in the 21st century, and to our customers, who in the age of the internet, need tools
to access that knowledge. In fact, there has been no period of greater
change in our libraries than over the last couple of decades. In Ben Franklin’s day, of course, print books
were the key to education and learning. But in today’s connected and tech-enhances
and savvy society, technology and electronic resources are just as essential. By bridging the digital and the economic divide
with these devices, you have helped us immensely. In our libraries, to fulfill our role of being
an instrument of democracy. And that is a phrase that we have coined here
in our libraries to symbolize everyone we serve and all of these opportunities that
we try to provide to our customers. But it’s also a phrase that Ben Franklin would
be proud of, I think. And this is definitely a project that Ben
Franklin would whole heartedly approve of, because it increases opportunities for self-education
and learning. And it was Ben Franklin that also said by
the way, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Here at the White Marsh Branch books and technology
have become best friends, and I couldn’t have picked a better friend to help us out today. I am here with a member of the Device Loan
Team, Will Malkus, who’s going to talk to us all about the new technology here at the
library. Will, thanks for being with us today. I appreciate it. Pleasure to be here. So, I’ve heard all about the Chromebook. I wonder if you could talk to us a little
bit about what’s going on here at the library with Chromebooks and some of the other technology
we have going on. Absolutely. So this is going to be one of our seven day
loan Chromebooks and a Chromebook’s basic functionality is it’s a laptop. It works like a laptop. It has all of the capabilities of a laptop,
but it’s specifically designed to work with the Cloud. It’s specifically designed to work with Google
Drive. So it reaches its best functionality when
the user has an active Google account. So when they can login to Google account they
can use the Chromebook in conjunction with Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets…all
sorts of Google apps. So the Chromebook itself is an Ultrabook,
so not only does it function as a laptop, but you can bend the screen all of the way
back around and it has a touch screen. So it’s a tablet. It can also be used as a display function,
and it can also be used as sort of a tent, again, as another type of display. So as far as the Chromebook capabilities are
concerned, anything a laptop can do, this can also do. You mentioned that I can access this through
the Google platform? Yes. That’s when it works best. It can be used without a Google account. It works best when used in conjunction with
a Google account. Okay now, if I want to check it out though,
do I need a Google account, or can I just do that through my library card? All you need is a library card to check it
out. Okay and it’s a seven day loan on that? It is a seven day loan on this one. We are also going to be lending 2 hour Chromebooks
for use specifically with the branch. Those will not be going home with people. Those can be used in the branch or someone
could take them to the local Starbucks if they wanted to. Nice. Now if I am going on, like let’s say a vacation. I am going to be away for three or four days,
this fits that description? This does fit that description, and if you
were going to go away for longer, or if you had to extend your vacation, you can always
renew it, just like any other library item, up to two times. You can have it for a total of 21 days. Nice. I like that. Now what about connectivity? How do I…do I need a Wi-Fi connection to
make this happen elsewhere? You will need some sort of internet connection. Just like any other laptop, most other computer,
it’s not really going to do much for you without an internet connection. That’s especially true for the Chromebook,
because like I said, it’s designed to work best with the Cloud. Okay so this device is also through the BCPL
website. I can directly link to all of the resources
that the library has as well? Yeah. You’ll have access to everything that you
can normally access through our website. You can see these in our catalog. You can even reserve them ahead of time so
that it’s ready for you in the branch when you come to pick it up. Okay. In prepping these and having them now ready
for the library system, and being a part of the Device Team, what’s been one of your most
enjoyable kind of experiences getting all of this ready? Well, it was a great opportunity because when
we went into the project, we knew that we were going to fulfill a need that up until
now the library hasn’t been able to fulfill. All across the county, educators… schools
are making this push towards digital learning. And the problem is that not everybody has
connectivity. Not everybody has access to that sort of technology
in their home. So up until now, if they wanted that, they
could come to the library. But now they can take it home with them. Okay, nice…good. So I am thinking about some of the stuff I
have seen recently with regards to the technology. We have the Chromebook. We have the Chromebook that we can check out
here at the library. We have the Chromebook that we can take out
for an extended period of time. I have also been hearing about another device. It’s called the Playaway Lock. I was hoping you can tell me a little more
about that. Absolutely. Yeah, so we have that right here. So the Playaway Lock is basically just a preloaded
super simple e-reader. So it comes, like I said, preloaded with a
series of titles, usually split up by author or a best-seller list or sort of a greatest
hits. So anything that’s on here you can access. And the nice thing about the Playaway Lock
is that even if you aren’t sure about eBooks, even if you’re not sure if it’s something
you’ be interested in checking out in the future, this is a perfect opportunity to figure
out if that might be something you are interested in because it’s…you really can’t hurt it. You really can’t change any of the settings
on it. It’s always going to have the same books. It’s very convenient. Nice. Small. Pocket sized. And the books are preloaded? They are. Now can I also add books onto it? You can’t add books, but we can take suggestions
and we can speak to the producers of the item and they can add those in the future, or we
can get more. And this, probably like that Chromebook are
both chargeable devices. I just can use a charger to plug in the wall…kind
of unit charger? Absolutely. And when you check it out it comes with a
charger as well. Okay. And what about connectivity with this device? Do I also require that? This does not connect to the internet at all. That’s good. That’s helpful. We have been learning about a host of technology
options the libraries have. We have been talking about digital learning,
the 21st century models recently. How the library is trying to take a large
amount of learning and also make it online so it is much more accessible, not only to
students, but parents, in a more digital interactive kind of nation…worldwide classroom. So I am wondering about…I have been hearing
about the technology the library has and the mobile…or mobile computer labs. Can you tell me a little bit more about what
those are for? Absolutely. So part of our device loan push was we purchased
two computer labs of laptops. They are going to be Lenovo. And we are going to be using them primarily
running programs for the public. We are also going to be able to use them for
training staff members. So it benefits both sides of the equation
and everybody gets to learn. Okay. I am just curious. Is there something as a librarian…you spend
your life loving and dealing with books all of the time. We now have music, videos…a lot of those
types of things interactively in the library system, but now we brought this larger component
in, not just computers for finding books here in the library, but also for accessing literature
and just digital literacy at a larger level. What have you found to be the most challenging
for yourself so far as a librarian integrating literature, the books themselves, in technology? Well, I mean, you see this push more and more
into eBooks, into e-resources, into digital materials, but books still have their place. Our print collection circulates way better
than e-readers, so it seems that while the usage of eBooks is growing, there’s still
definitely a place for print collections. Excellent. Well I am here with Will Malkus, device loan
guru, master, technology king, whose been teaching us all about our Playaway Locks,
about the Go-Chips, about the new Chromebooks. Come to the library. Check these out. They are going to blow you away. So the next time you are at the library, don’t
forget your book…and don’t forget your Chromebook. We’ll see you at the library. (Music Outro)

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