The days of people going to public libraries to check out a book or two are almost nostalgic at this point. Nowadays, libraries are not only bastions of books; they’ve blossomed into community hubs with access to modern technologies.
The latest technological innovation in the San Diego County Library system is the introduction of Google Chromebooks at several branches. The libraries have long offered free Wi-Fi access but now eight branches offer the new ultra-lightweight notebooks for use by patrons.
“We see all different kinds of use with the Chromebooks,” said Amanda Heller, Casa de Oro Library branch manager. “In the morning, customers use them when all the public computers are taken or they just want to sit in a nice, comfy chair.
“Some are working on job applications or resumes and others are browsing the internet.”
The notebooks are proving especially popular with students.
“A mother told me she was in awe of what the library is providing for her son,” said Heller. “She wished she had those opportunities when she was growing up.”
Librarians are using the Chromebooks to show students how to use the library’s online databases. They’re also using them for library programs, such as TECH Time at Casa de Oro.
“For TECH Time, we focus on educational apps to give them extra assistance in math and reading,” said Heller. “For kids without internet access at home, these Chromebooks are an excellent way for them to do their homework and research.
“It’s portable, so they can find a quite place to work in the library.”
The 48 Chromebooks were acquired through a grant from the California State Library and Califa Library Group.
The branches with Chromebooks are Borrego Springs, Casa de Oro, El Cajon, LaMesa, Rancho San Diego, San Marcos, Santee and Spring Valley.
For more information on Google Chromebooks at San Diego County Library, visit www.sdcl.org.