Renting Laptops Past One-Semester OffPublished by Dipa Barua
Q: I have for the first time this semester needed to access a laptop between semesters, while I wasn't taking summer classes. - However, I didn't take summer classes multiple of the semesters and it was just the coincidence that back then I was healthy enough to carry my own laptop to campus, that kept me from noticing this earlier.
There is currently a one-semester exception (per degree) in place (which I now used, even though I only really really needed a laptop a couple of times, to take notes while meeting with various professors), but why it is so limited is unclear to me. I felt comfortable that because I'd finish the honors degree this fall, I'd be safe next semester, but things come up and now I'm feeling unsafe in regards to having access to informational technology as needed on campus (should I be sick or my aging laptop fails, or I forget it at home, or...) in the case that I will spend another un-enrolled summer in this area (likely since course options are so limited).
If you're unable or unwilling to consider granting the same access to all students that happen to not be taking courses in the current semester in the same way that other students get access, please consider adding an affordable rental system, so that these students aren't entirely screwed in regards to having a mobile computer that they can bring to on-campus meetings, etc. - If you're concerned about having too many computers be in use by these students who are not enrolled in the current semester, consider that it's already rather rare that students use the one-semester exception rule that already exists in the first place, so the risk doesn't seem to be very large.
A: The reason for the one-semester limit is to limit the use of library material for non-registered students. To prevent someone from taking every second semester off for example and still get full access to everything in the library. That is basically it. As your SFU ID, which people use to access online resources, will keep working for a number of months after the semester ends the restriction on the use of books and equipment has never been a big issue for most people.
As far as laptops go, we do restrict their use to current students because of the high demand (alumni and external borrowers cannot borrow laptops). Many days all of our laptops are checked out by noon and we have a lineup of people waiting for one to be returned. A student with semester off privileges can borrow laptops and thus the limit on the one semester, as mentioned above.
Were you needing to borrow equipment in the fall in order to complete your degree? If that is the case, let me know and I will see if we can make a one-time exception.
Head, Access Services (Loans)