Man learns library laptops not to be taken home

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
You can check out laptops from the Rowan Public Library, but you can’t take them home. That’s what one patron found out Tuesday morning.
Administrative Services Manager Melody Moxley said the laptops, which have been available to patrons for six months, must remain on the premises. Patrons who want to use the laptops leave an ID and a check card or credit card. The laptops, which work through a wireless Internet connection, can be used for two hours at a time.
“They can only be used on our wireless network,” Moxley said.
Laptop users complete a form that spells out the policy.
But a library patron Tuesday took the computer home. When he couldn’t get it to work, he called customer support. The library staff told him to return the laptop. He did, and it was undamaged.
Salisbury Police Officer P.J. Smith, the downtown liaison, was waiting for the patron at the library. The man, who is in his mid-20s, told the officer he misunderstood the policy.
Moxley said she had informed the man of the policy.
“It was explained to him to use it in the building,” she said.
Smith said the man signed the policy, indicating he understood it, then claimed he had not read it. The man was not charged with a crime, but he was banned from the library or any of its branches.
Smith said the same man had received a warning from library staff after viewing pornography in the computer lab on a previous occasion.
Of the laptop, Moxley said, “Police were very helpful and able to recover it undamaged.”
This was the first time someone has taken a laptop since the program began. Moxley said library staff don’t expect this to be a problem in the future and have no plans to amend the laptop policy. In fact, the staff members encourage people to use the new amenity and the computer lab, just inside the facility.
“The staff and police handled it well,” she said.