Laptop loans are an important part of student experience for university libraries, and this case study demonstrates the benefits of self-service and prime positioning to maximise popularity. The Lanchester is a perfect example of getting things right, and this is demonstrated by the additional cabinet installations they have requested from D-Tech.
The award-winning Lanchester Library at Coventry University opened in September 2000 at a cost of £19m. At the time it was opened it was the largest deep-plan, naturally ventilated building in Europe. The building’s sustainable energy features brought much attention, but the design also allowed the library space to easily evolve according to customer needs, making the library service delivery as sustainable as the building services.
Open 24 hours a day, 364 days a year, and spread over five floors, the Lanchester library offers a mix of silent, quiet and group study zones, ensuring students can study comfortably in an environment that suits their learning style.
With an extensive collection of digital as well as physical resources, the library also offers over 500 PCs plus a laptop loan scheme.
The Lanchester Library had offered a laptop loan service from behind its service counter for a number of years. This service required students to queue at the desk and staff to manually issue a laptop which was time consuming for both. In addition, laptops could not be issued after midnight due to staffing arrangements. In spite of proactively promoting the service, many customers remained unaware that the service was offered. The staff sought a solution that would enhance the student experience, maximise university resources and be more visible within the library setting.
In order to maximise the benefits of a laptop loan service, including improving the student experience, Coventry University Library decided to install a self-service solution. The Lanchester Library currently has one computeIT cabinet housing 60 laptops and has subsequently installed computeIT at its subsidiaries CU Scarborough, CU London and Coventry University London. As borrowing rates are high and the system has increased in popularity with the students, the University decided to install a second cabinet at the Lanchester Library.
– Improved student experience allows customers to borrow laptops across the whole 24-hour opening period
– Excellent ROI facilitating better use of staff resources, improved laptop security and enhancing the customer journey increases the ROI proposition of the computeIT
– Reduced queues allowing staff to carry out other tasks and utilising university resources in a more effective manner
Kirsty Kift, Assistant Director (Customer Experience and Service Innovation), Lanchester Library, says: “There is a limited marketplace when it comes to laptop safes, but D-Tech came out top for us. Their cabinet offered all the features that we needed and was competitive on price. The installation went very smoothly with D-Tech working in collaboration with our IT services department.
“Our students like the convenience of borrowing laptops. Many of our students travel long distances to the University, so it is ideal for them. It means they don’t have to carry their own laptop around or worry about security. We had the laptop cabinet installed at the entrance of the library to ensure it is as visible as possible which has really made a difference. When we loaned laptops from the service counter we found that, despite staff working hard to promote the service, many of our library users remained unaware that they could borrow a device.
“Loaning laptops through self-service cabinets supports our 24-hour opening and facilitates a better use of staff resources. It’s been so successful that we are installing a second cabinet at Lanchester and have rolled it out across our subsidiaries.”
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