We started issuing laptops to select staff over 7 years ago. Every year since we issue more and more of them. In general we have found they improve productivity and are no more trouble than desktop pcs. You will want to modify your policies and procedures to include issued laptops. Most of our regular staff computer polices covered them as well as the desktops and we already had procedures for issuing equipment to staff which we modified to include laptops. In answer to your questions:


1.       Yes. We solicit input from the staff who will use them as to specifications (screen size and features). They don’t get to choose make, that’s left to IT. We have tried netbooks but after the novelty wore off staff preferred something a little larger. We also issue smart phones to a few select staff who have a demonstrated need.

2.       Depends on the need. Most of the laptop users have a desktop pc as well.

3.       Depends on the need, but we tend to have more problems with the loaners and floaters than we do the units that are issued to a specific person. They just take better care of them when it is “their” laptop.

4.       Yes.

5.       Our policy provides for holding the user responsible if they were negligent but in practice we never have. Over the years we had one stolen, two damaged from dropping, and one damaged from being run over. We probably will deploy tracking software next fy, budget permitting.

6.       Personal preference. We have bought docking stations but most users just plug in an external monitor and use an external mouse. Only one uses and external keyboard. A couple just use the laptop alone.

7.       We have in-house IT and laptops get the same support as our desktops. 24/7/365 for critical work stopping issues, next business day for everything else. If outside normal business hours support is limited to email and telephone. The only time a laptop user has ever called in for support has been when they were away at conferences or workshops and once when a staff member was in the hospital for an extended stay and was working from there. Normally they just bring the laptop in to IT if there is a problem. We generally have fewer support calls on laptops.

8.       We do not allow any protected staff or patron data on laptops, flash drives, CDs, etc. that leave the facility. This is strictly enforced and briefed to staff all the time. At this time we do not encrypt laptops.

9.       They tend to cost more than desktop pcs but support time is about the same. Besides an occasional memory upgrade we don’t upgrade laptops like we tend to do with desktop units. We buy at least a computer carrying case and an external mouse for each laptop. For some users, depending on need, we also buy auto chargers, cellular modems, and other accessories. Laptops tend to be in service about 4 years before being replaced while we have some desktops that are twice that old. When past their prime we sometimes repurpose laptops as static machines for pacs or to drive public information displays.

10.   We don’t allow staff administrative privileges on the laptops and only software installed by IT is allowed. Our network based antivirus software is installed and the systems are set to auto update when connected to our network. IT keeps an eye on when they last connected to the network and can recall a machine if it hasn’t been in for a while.




Phillip B. Whitford

Infrastructure Manager

Braswell Memorial Library

Rocky Mount, NC 27804


From: Heckbert Jr, Richard W. [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2010 9:24 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [LIBNT-L] Laptops for staff


Good morning everyone,


We are getting many requests this fiscal year from our reference librarians for laptops.  Before we move in this direction I wanted to ask some questions of the group.


1.       Do people have staff with laptops? 

2.       If so, are they a replacement for their traditional desktop machine or in addition to?

3.       Are they assigned to one person or are they “floaters/loaners”?

4.       Are they allowed to take them home?

5.       Who is responsible for them if lost or damaged while out of the building?  Do they have tracking software on them?

6.       What setup are people using for laptops if they are the replacement for a desktop?  Are staff using docking stations with separate monitors and keyboards?

7.       What type of service agreement is in place with IT as far as off hours support and support at home?

8.       What about personal/personnel data if they leave the building?  Is anyone encrypting them?  Massachusetts just enacted some of the toughest personal information laws in the country.

9.       Are they taking up more support time/budget?

10.   What type of security are people using on  them?  Especially as relates to bringing security risks inside your network?


I would really appreciate any experiences or opinions you may want to share and thanks in advance for your replies.


Rick Heckbert
Library Systems Adminsitrator
Tisch Library
35 Professors Row
Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155                                                                                                                          

“The difference between men and women is that, if given the choice between saving the life of an infant or catching a fly ball, a woman will automatically choose to save the infant, without even considering if there's a man on base.”
-Dave Barry