Library to offer locks for laptops
Olin Library will soon take steps to prevent laptop burglary by making laptop locks available for checkout.
After last year’s spike in laptop thefts from the library, former Student Union Senator senior Eric Schwartz has been working with the library administration to find a solution to this problem. The thefts occur when students leave their computers unattended and take a break to head to the bathroom or to Whispers, the first-floor café.
Schwartz was the student liaison to the library last semester.
“One thing that was brought up by several people was that it would be nice if when you’re there working you could have some way to leave your laptops secure,” Schwartz said.
The library has already ordered a dozen laptop locks, according to Shirley Baker, vice chancellor for scholarly resources and dean of University libraries. These locks will be advertised the locks as part of a pilot program as soon as the shipment arrives, and if students use them, the library will order more.
The locks cost about $50 each and are funded through the library’s technology budget. They will be free for checkout from Olin Library’s circulation desk.
Some students are looking forward to the locks.
“It’s really inconvenient to have to take my laptop down to Whispers when I want to get some food,” freshman Taylor Docking said.
Others student cite the inconvenience of obtaining a lock as a potential hindrance to the program.
“If I had to go out of my way to obtain the lock, I wouldn’t use it,” freshman David Glaubke said.
Although they don’t want their laptops stolen, the vast majority of students interviewed are comfortable with leaving their belongings out in the library as long as there are people there to watch them.
“I trust my fellow students, that they would stop someone if someone was stealing something,” freshman Tim Cooney said.
Sophomore Mohit Harsh agreed. He said that he wouldn’t use the locks because laptop theft has not affected him personally. “I haven’t had a problem with it yet, which is probably bad reasoning, but I have enough faith in the Wash. U. community to leave my stuff,” he said.
Freshman Rose Miller has another idea about why students are accustomed to leaving their belongings unprotected.
“I think people will just assume that people won’t steal them because we go to Wash. U.,” Miller said. “Most people have their own computers, so why would they take yours?”
When it comes down to it, the number of students using the locks will depend on how much students value their belongings, according to Schwartz.
“The basic stance is always, you know, the library is open. If you’re going to leave your stuff, you do that at your own risk,” Schwartz said. “If you walk away and go to the bathroom, or whatever, it’s not the library’s responsibility.”