LTU donates laptop computers for lending by Detroit Public Library

Release Date: November 16, 2020

SOUTHFIELD—The Detroit Public Library has begun letting patrons check out laptop computers, using 200 refurbished Lenovo Yoga laptops donated by Lawrence Technological University.

Library users can check out computers for 90 days by presenting an adult Detroit Public Library card under the program, called “Laptop to Go.”

Tim Chavis, LTU’s recently retired CIO, and LTU’s HelpDesk staff prepared the laptops, which come with Wi-Fi capability, a camera, speaker, and microphone. The Detroit Public Library is also providing Microsoft Office software for the machines.

2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of the university’s LTuZone laptop program, under which all full-time undergraduate students receive laptops loaded with all the software they’ll need in their studies and in their future careers. The laptops are returned when students graduate or leave the university. Charlene Ramos, director of LTU’s HelpDesk, leads LTU’s laptop initiative and is always working with academic departments to improve it. “Laptop models and features have changed over the years, based on program needs and advances in technology, as has the software running on these machines,” said Lynn Wietecha, director of eLearning and interim director of IT services at LTU. “Everyone agrees that this program enabled LTU to seamlessly move classes and operations online in March at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Wietecha said the university has donated used laptops to various organizations for years, including Volunteers of America and the Michigan Council of Women in Technology. This time, the beneficiary was the Detroit library.

The program comes as library computer labs are restricted due to the pandemic.

“For the safety of staff and customers, the library has had to limit and restrict computer use in the building,” said Katie Dowgiewicz, library public relations specialist, said in a news release. “We know this creates a hardship for our customers who depend on the library for computer and internet access. We hope that by providing laptops to check out, customers have the flexibility to access information and resources they normally do in the library.”

As for LTU’s laptop program, Wietecha said it will continue to evolve to meet future student needs.

“This might mean that future laptops for some programs actually become tablets or other more mobile devices,” she said. “We’re also exploring the possibility of software-on-demand. This would allow students to install specific software applications they need. The goal of the program, however it evolves, will always be to ensure that LTU faculty have the technology tools they need to teach, and LTU students are using industry-leading applications to learn and build their skills. This makes LTU students ready for their careers on day one.”

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.