Rice Library adds more technology

Ariana Beedie

ipadRice Library has taken steps to make the student’s study experience more convenient. This summer the library staff and the IT department has added new technology for students to have at their fingertips.

Additions like charging stations, media hubs, more iPads and longer hours will take affect this year.

“The charging stations are for personal device charging,” Library Director Marna Hostetler said.

“They’re very portable.”

The library staff has two charging stations placed in highly trafficked areas on the first floor for a trial run. There are two others that are being placed in other strategic areas. The idea behind the placement is for safety for the students and their devices.

“We’re thinking it might be good to have them in a more busy location in the library,” Hostetler said. “We’re kind of worried that the students will leave their devices.”

If they’re in a public spot, somebody might see if someone decides to steal an iPad, she said.

The charging stations are equipped with plug-ins for multiple devices such as iPhones, Androids and other devices using those chargers.

Another addition to the library is the Media Hubs. These are workstations with up to four device hookups that will link to a large screen so groups can incorporate their technology with any project with easy display.

“They finally became totally operational a couple weeks ago and we’re still waiting on a couple things to be done,” Hostetler said. “We want to mount the monitors on the wall, and we’re also

hoping to get more of the chords underneath the table so there’s more work space for the group.”

For now, there are two located on the first floor to see how students react to them. Library staff will display the other two later in the semester. The hubs are still a work in progress.

“Right now we’re calling them the in house octopus,” Hostetler said.

Along with the other technology improvements, Rice Library has been approved for 20 additional iPads, which will bring the total number up to 60.

“I’m hoping that’ll be approaching the number that we need,” Hostetler said. “We just placed the order, so I don’t know when they’ll arrive.”

The iPads will be available for checkout as soon as possible, she said.

After adding the technology, the library will also close later on Fridays and Saturdays this school year. Hours are extended just an hour, making Rice Library open 12 hours on both days: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays. Closing procedures are going to also be altered.

“The closing process will begin a lot closer to actual closing time,” Hostetler said. “Hopefully that’ll mean fewer people getting kicked out of the computer labs and study rooms.”

The staff will actually stay later, she said.

All the library staff members are on the same page with these changes. It’s a group effort, with lots of support.

Jennifer Greene, reference and archives librarian, is in full support of these changes.

“I think that anything we can do to help the students to be able to access our services more is a really good thing,” Greene said. “Our main goal is to protect the students and how to benefit the student’s needs.”

These changes benefit library staff, but especially student workers.

“The whole idea of the media hubs are really cool,” senior William Love said. “I haven’t gotten around to playing with them yet, which is something I want to do.”

The elementary education major is also a checkout assistant.

“During the school year there’s a lot more traffic in the library so it’s more typical for us to stay open late,” he said. “The late hours are a great idea.”