Where Are the Desktop Computers in Charles Library?

Why aren’t there desktop computers in Charles Library like there were in Paley Library? Sometimes you just want to use a desktop computer.

Let’s start the answer with a really important point. Charles Library is an academic and research library for the future and it is designed as such. Its designers were imagining a library that is not only for current students but the students of 10, 20, 50 years and beyond. That meant some critical decisions needed to be made about investing in the infrastructure (electrical, data, etc) required for stationary desktop computers. Once incorporated into the structure, those utilities are difficult to remove or re-purpose.

Rather than make that costly investment, Charles Library is based on a future of mobile computing where students use laptop computers, tablets and smartphones for their computing. This is based on the following types of data and information:
1) Large numbers of Temple students own and bring laptops and tablets to campus everyday;
2) Our analysis of the time spent on Paley desktop computers told us that the average computer session is less than 30 minutes and often less than 10 minutes. Further investigation identified that students were primarily using desktops for quick email checks, sending documents to printers and other quick uses – not longer-term writing or research activity (and yes – quite a bit of entertainment activity).
3) Our pilot of the laptop share kiosk in Paley clearly showed that it lead to an increase in the use of the laptops and a decrease in the use of desktops in the same area of the library.
4) Temple University is committed to supporting a campus-wide laptop/battery share system that will place these devices throughout campus buildings thus making it truly convenient to pick-up and drop-off laptops all around campus.

The vision for Charles Library is that students will primarily use laptop computers and other mobile devices. We support this vision with our portable battery kiosks – which allow students to charge their devices on the go. While that may not sit well with today’s students when they are looking for a desktop, since we have no way of knowing what sort of computing solutions will exist 5, 10 or more years from now, why commit ourselves and future generations of students to a computing solution that only works for today’s students? That said, please consider the following:

  • Stand-up computers have been added around the library that can be used for quick searches, email checks, sending print jobs, etc. Please consider using these and let us know if we could use a few more of them and where.
  • For now instruction room 210 is left open and it contains approximately 30 desktop computers. If there is no instruction class in session students may use the computers in that room.
  • If you haven’t given the laptop and battery share kiosks a try, please do. Students are using the laptops quite regularly and they are meeting the computing needs of our students.
  • As much as we’d love you to spend all your time in Charles Library, the TECH is a 5-minute walk from Charles and that facility continues to offer hundreds of desktop computers.

Thanks for your question and continue to share your thoughts about Charles Library with us.

Steven Bell
Associate University Librarian