Palo Alto, CA – Public libraries have long been known as places where you can check out and take home books, magazines, audiobooks, CDs and DVDs. However, Palo Alto City Library is taking the lending concept to an exciting new level by letting library users borrow Chromebooks to take home for a week at a time. This pilot project in partnership with Google Chrome will run from January 30 - March 31, 2012.
Chromebooks are available to library card holders age 14 and older on a first-come, first-served basis at the Downtown, Main, and Mitchell Park libraries. Six of these laptop computers are available at each library. There is no fee to check out one, however, late fees and replacement costs will apply if this is not returned on time.
The Chromebook, a simplified lightweight laptop computer based on Google’s Chrome browser, is fast, secure and simple to use. It uses cloud computing rather than running software or storing files directly on the computer. Because all operations take place through the web rather than on the computer, Chromebooks do not require manual updates, security software, or resetting to maintain privacy, unlike traditional laptops.
"The simplicity and security of the Chromebook makes this ideal for lending to library users," said Library Director Monique le Conge. "The library is a starting place for anything the community wants to learn, and Chromebooks are one tool that can help our users do just that."
Palo Alto City Library began offering Chromebooks in November 2011 as an alternative to the longstanding, popular laptop lending program for two-hour in-library use. The interest generated by this new equipment, combined with a recognized need for users to spend more time exploring this new web-based kind of computer, led the library to develop a system to allow customers to check one out and take it home for 7 days. Week-long checkouts will give borrowers enough time to get acquainted with the Chromebook concept of cloud computing through practical use in their everyday lives.
"This is an amazing opportunity for the library to make new technologies accessible to everyone regardless of income or technology experience," said Senior Librarian, Jessica Goodman. "Today’s library is not only a place to get books, but also a place for anyone to learn the skills demanded by the rapidly changing world of information."
Patrons with further questions can contact the Palo Alto Library desk by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 650-329-2436. More contact options are listed here.