The Westborough Public Library’s teen room now has a computer with Internet access, thanks to a local business.
The public’s response to this Chromebox that Cumulus Global loaned to the library will shape computer purchases there, Library Director Maureen Ambrosino said today.
The desktop computers the library purchases through the state cost around $800, she said. A Chromebook, the laptop version, can cost about half of that, she estimated.
“We would like to add some additional computers to this space. That could be a way that we would be able to afford to do that,” Ambrosino said.
“For most of the places where we have computers for the public, we could replace the actual CPU with one of these, (and) keep the existing monitor.”
Ambrosino said she is unaware of any other Massachusetts community libraries with public access Chromeboxes.
The Westborough library’s one arrived last Friday a few weeks after Ambrosino heard Cumulus CEO Allen Falcon speak at a Rotary Club of Westborough meeting. Falcon discussed cloud computing, and mentioned Chromebooks, she said.
“I was listening to him, and it just started the wheels turning of how that could apply to the services that we provide here for the public,” Ambrosino said.
Ambrosino said she then spoke with Rotarian Gerry Gross . Gross and Falcon brought Chromebooks to the library for the staff to try.
“Allan suggested putting in a Chromebox for the public to try out,” she said.
Users will log onto this computer using either their personal gmail account, a gmail account they can create there, or as a guest, Ambrosino explained.
The user will save their documents in Google Drive, which they can access anywhere.
“For a student, they can go to school, log into it, (and) have it there,” she said.
The information’s safety is protected.
“When you’re done and you sign out, it clears out all of your information and reboots,” Ambrosino said.
“So, no one can access your personal information.”
Library officials are collecting patrons’ feedback on using the Chromebox.
Library officials also thinking about how “we would like to be able to have laptops for the public to use in the building, or even maybe someday have them so people can check them out and take them home,” Ambrosino said.
“That might be a way that we could get technology into people’s hands that they could take out of the building and use at home,” she said.