If you’ve paid attention to the news lately, you might have noticed that Chromebooks are finally being noticed. I think schools are probably making up a big portion of the increased sales. Educational technologists have long advocated for Chromebooks because they sensibly meet schools’ technology needs. And now more and more school districts are adopting Chromebooks successfully. Libraries need to pay attention to this as well, as Chromebooks offer a simple solution for many libraries’ technology needs.
Here are 10 reasons to consider the Chromebook:
- Value. Starting at $199, you can’t beat the price.
- Practicality. Chromebooks are great for productivity and browser related functions, the very things that most library users are doing on PCs. And they come with keyboards (unlike tablets)!
- Simplicity. There’s not much to the Chromebook. Just a browser.
- Flexibility. If you were to replace most of the wired PCs in your library with Chromebooks, how much space would that free up? More space equals more flexibility (to serve multiple functions).
- Efficiency. Start-up is seriously fast.
- Durability. There really isn’t much that can go wrong with a Chromebook. Past reviews have shown them to be very durable. (I have one, and can vouch for that).
- Security. Security is one of my favorite features of the Chromebook. Nothing can be downloaded on it (which is great for libraries). And security is built-in.
- Manageability. With the Chromebook Management Console, you can change and update settings on all your Chromebooks simultaneously. That will cost you an additional $30 per device.
- Portability. For library users, the ability to work anywhere in the library is an asset. For library staff, portability presents opportunities for using the devices in multiple locations (e.g. classrooms, branches, meeting rooms).
- Ubiquity. Supporting ubiquitous learning is a principle of new librarianship, and the portability of Chromebooks makes them an anywhere-enabled learning technology.
Those are all great reasons to consider Chromebooks, but there are potential downsides to the Chromebook as well. Chromebooks don’t support Java or Silverlight. They don’t replace the need for a truly multimedia lab. And for printing, they require Cloud Ready printers.
So, if you are interested in Chromebooks, you might want to borrow one first and test it out to make sure it meets your library’s needs.
I think that Chromebooks present an opportunity to look at your library’s space in a whole new way. Imagine a library without rows and rows of hardwired PCs sitting in the middle of the floor…taking up space. That’s a beautiful thing.