Computer and Building Use in Cabell
The Library will need more computers on the First, Second and Fourth Floors, so that students and guests will not have to stand and wait for access.There are many places in the State of Virginia and the Federal Government that throw away computers annually.
From: A Friend of the Library
John Duke, Senior Associate University Librarian, replies...
You are right -- Cabell Library is indeed busy and crowded! In addition to competition for computers, other resources are at a premium, including study space and shelves for books. The library was built for a much smaller student body and a much smaller collection, and we simply have grown beyond our ability to satisfy the demand. Working within the limits of our existing space is a daily and serious challenge for us.
Using surplus computers is an interesting idea, but one that we have chosen not to pursue. The initial cost of the hardware is not our primary barrier, although that of course is always an issue. Electrical expansion is a major blocker, as the building is now operating close to capacity. Bringing in another power line to upgrade our electrical infrastructure would be very costly and beyond our current budget.
We are also facing overall space constraints. Thanks to Student Technology Fees, last year we added more network ports in the second floor group study area and in the third floor group study rooms, as well as additional computers on the first and second floors. We also hope to see improved wireless coverage this Fall as part of work that VCUnet has committed to. However, trying to squeeze more computers into our current space, in addition to providing the electrical and network connections that would be needed, is becoming harder and harder to do. If funds become available in the future and the electrical grid will support it, we will look at modestly expanding the number of computers if we can do it without disrupting other important operations.
In addition to the logistical problem of adding more machines, it would not be wise for us to use surplus machines from other agencies as you suggest. Those agencies are surplussing their computers for a very good reason -- they are no longer able to keep up with the increasing demands of graphical and database intensive network computing. We find that our oldest computers -- those more than three years old -- give users the most problems and require the most effort on our part to keep operating. Our first priority this year will be to replace as many of these as we can with our equipment allocation. After that project is complete, we will look at expanding laptop ports and computers.
Eventually, we will have expanded library space on the Monroe Park Campus, and filling that space with appropriate, advanced technologies will be among our highest priorities. We all hope that day comes soon!