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Self-serve laptop kiosk speeds up service

September 23, 2013

A new self-serve kiosk in the lobby of James Branch Cabell Library should speed up laptop loans and returns.

Last year, VCU Libraries loaned laptops about 40,000 times, making these  top-used items, said M. Teresa Doherty, head of Information Services. She played a lead role in bringing the new kiosk to Cabell, one of the few libraries in the nation to place one in a library building.   

With the kiosk, students can avoid the service desk and get straight to work with the swipe of their VCUCard. The kiosk will shorten waits for other patrons who need to talk with information associates at the main desk. 

The kiosk charges the machines while they are waiting to be checked out, so they can get back into circulation faster. It also makes it easy to see if machines are available. 

"So far, students seem to have adapted very well to them," Doherty said, "Our students usually notice quickly when we introduce something to make their work easier and faster." During its first 24 hours of operation, more than 200 laptops were checked out through the kiosk. 

Added Jimmy Ghaphery, head of Digital Technologies for VCU Libraries: "This is a pilot and we are all eager to see how well it works. It promises to be more convenient for students and has the potential, if successful, to be reproduced in other locations on campus."

The new checkout kiosk is part of an ongoing partnership between VCU Libraries and VCU Technology Services to provide free equipment for student use. 

Another new service this semester is an express line for gadget checkins and checkouts. 

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