El Camino College Library has temporarily halted its distribution of laptops and Wi-Fi devices because few requests are submitted to the program.
Although this will not last for the entire semester, staff take a break before coming to the library to also minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
“But of course if we get more requests, people are going to get their devices,” said Camila Jenkin, outreach librarian.
The Laptop and Internet Access Point Loan Program is where students can register to request laptop and internet hotspot as long as they have completed their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act.
Students must go to the campus library to pick up their devices.
Crystle Martin, Dean of Library and Learning Resources, said the program is on a “first come, first served” basis.
“We are really excited to provide this service to students,” said Martin.
The program had already been in place before the pandemic and over time would grow because of it.
“As a library, where our focus is about letting students borrow things for free, without paying, without removing those barriers, everything we lend doesn’t pay, ”Jenkin said. “We don’t rent anything, we only let the students borrow it.
In August 2020, the library used funds from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) law to purchase 1,500 Dell laptops, including 941 were distributed and 550 remain. They also purchased 2,000 Sprint Wi-Fi access points, of which 659 were distributed and 1,350 remain.
If a student plans to return to ECC for the next semester, the library will automatically renew their device loan.
“Laptops come standard so that students can install all the software they need on them, which is a huge advantage,” said Martin.
The library was distributing Chromebooks, but stopped that as soon as Dell laptops arrived because Chromebooks could only use the browser version of programs that can’t be downloaded.
“If you need the Adobe suite or some statistics software, things like that, it limits what students can use it for,” Martin said.
There are other laptops the library has bought like Surface Go, a Windows laptop with a detachable keyboard and tablet.
This laptop is distributed specifically to students as part of the South Bay Promise (SBP) program, where students are immediately enrolled in the ECC upon graduation from high school and are full-time on campus.
According to Andrea Sala, executive director of the ECC Foundation, the foundation bought laptops worth around $ 200,000.
“We have 300 [Surface Go’s] and for the SBP program, that seems sufficient for now, so we’ll see what happens, ”said Sala. “As the program grows and expands, we may need to purchase more. “