Having a loan service of netbooks for students is highly desirable. But how can the logistical problems be overcome?

This is the story of Swansea University’s desire to implement a self-service netbook loan solution via their main library building and in a newly developed study area.

Self-service library books have been in place for a number of years, but the self-service of netbooks introduced a new set of challenges – especially as the university desired it to be a low maintenance and secure service that could be operated 24 hours a day.

A key element of the service was to allow a student to self-issue a netbook in the quickest possible time and to then proceed to use the netbook just as quickly.

Swansea University also envisaged the use of the self-service lockers as a supplementary service to their fixed, open access PCs – the netbooks could cater for students who didn’t need the “full fat” service as supplied on PCs, whilst also allowing them to bring the device to where they are studying.

Obviously, the university was also keen to ensure that they only loaned netbooks to known, valid students and that the students return them in a secure manner.

It was a fair collection of requirements: students to have a 24 hour access to netbooks, getting to use the equipment quickly, low maintenance, available to valid students only, keeping track of returned netbooks and having a solution that fitted in with university’s existing systems.

The university found one solution that met all these requirements, and that was the Bretford Myritrac – but they then came up with one more challenge. The university wanted to launch the service with little or no publicity or instructions. And, in fact, students started using the system and found it quite intuitive; there was no need to introduce extra directions or instructions or carry out training. Staff support training requirements were minimal too.

The Bretford Myritrac system allows you to take control of all aspects of managing electrical equipment including laptops, tablets and even mobile phones. Securely storing it; charging it; running software updates; assigning user access rights and even feeding back information about when, at what time and by whom the allocated item was removed or replaced.

Additionally, they reduce the requirement for mains supply outlets within library/study areas as each cabinet is connected to a single mains supply.

There is still more that the Bretford Myritrac system can do; more detailed information can be found on our website. Alternatively call us on 01753 53 99 55.