Students working at Leavey Library now have the option of renting computer locks for their laptops at the circulation desk, as part of a pilot project started by USC Libraries to counter theft.
Students can rent locks and secure their laptops to stations on the second floor to prevent theft, said Hugh McHarg, executive director of communications and public programming at USC Libraries.
USC Libraries collaborated with the Undergraduate Student Government in an effort to complement the already extensive array of services offered at the library.
“The idea came out of speaking with the Undergraduate Student Government. It wasn’t in response to any particular increase in theft,” McHarg said.
The lock will reduce the risk of laptop theft if a student has to leave his laptop unattended while using the bathroom, taking a break or getting some water or coffee, he said.
Students will be able to rent the lock for four hours at a time, however, if students wish to use the locks for a longer period of time, they can go to the circulation desk and renew their rental.
So far, about 30 students have already rented locks, McHarg said.
Avery Berhle, a junior majoring in art history, said the locks would be good for students who study most of the time in Leavey Library.
“[The locks] are a great idea, especially during finals,” she said.
Sherif Higazy, a freshman majoring in cinema-television production, said he wondered why locks were necessary at the library.
“It’s troubling to know that this is enough of an issue to have to put this lock system in place. It seems convenient, but I’m just not accustomed to using a lock yet,” he said.
Some students, however, said they are more reluctant to make use of the laptop locks.
“I would still be worried even with the lock. It would stop people from stealing my laptop, but they would still be able to open my laptop and use it,” said Tehani De Fonseka, a senior majoring in psychology.
McHarg said that if the pilot proves successful, the lock system might be implemented throughout Leavey Library instead of just on the second floor.
In addition, student workers would inform people who come into the library with laptops that there are locks located at the circulation desk for their safety and convenience.
“We hope people will let us know how the system is working by leaving a comment on the Libraries website,” McHarg said. “We ultimately want to provide tools for a comfortable and safe study environment.”
Meghna Sapre, a graduate student studying computer science, said she also approves of the lock rental system.
“It would allow me to leave my things unattended if I had to run to the bathroom,” Sapre said.