Why have the computers for the public changed? [This is] the only place in the city of Richmond that has unlimited time on the computers and doesn’t block different sites. It takes 3-4 hours to do my reports, plus to check my emails. This is cruel and unusual punishment to take [away] the only tool to do work and makes it hard for people who are not in a status phase where they can afford a $2,500 computer. I'm just wondering how other people feel who can't express themselves dealing with this same situation coming here and finding this had occurred since this past Wednesday before the holidays. Please allow this message to penetrate your thoughts and also to give an overview of the sudden changes dealing with this computer system. I thank you for your time.
Pat Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, replies.....
Thank you for your comments about the Cabell Library stand-up computers. I can understand your frustration with the inability to access a computer. VCU students, faculty and staff doing research encounter this problem very often. Unfortunately, we are at electrical capacity for computers in this building and cannot add more. Because of this, researchers are frequently in need of computers and cannot find them, even for very brief library catalog look-ups or for library staff members to help them locate a needed article or form. With all of these issues in mind, and with a history of requests from researchers for express-use computers, we determined that some machines around the building needed to be devoted to short-term use, and we converted a few to the tall stand-up tables to provide for this.
Your need to use library computers for several hours to prepare reports does bring up an important point. Use of library computers for VCU community academic purposes must take priority over other uses because of the computer shortage, and is included in library regulations on our web site: http://www.library.vcu.edu/admin/regulations/computer_resources.html.
When computers are available, however, Reference Desk staff can log guests onto a computer for research purposes. For more extensive use of computers or for non-academic purposes, Richmond Public Library may provide a broader level of access to machines. In addition, in the near future all VCU library computers will require logging in. The remaining machines that don’t require this right now will be changed, according to VCU policy. Strict log-on policies for all VCU network computers have been mandated for computer security reasons.
I hope that this helps explain the reasons for the changes made to library computers last week.