UNSW has set up a laptop locker in its main library offering dozens of $1800 Dell machines for free loans of up to four hours.
The university first unveiled the concept of lending laptops out of “self-service lockers” in a brief post on its library website last week.
But it took a social media post of the locker this week to attract significantly more attention to the new service offering.
“We stormed Area 51 and brought back this weird looking device! It hands out FREE LAPTOPS for four hours with your student card,” UNSW Library posted to Facebook.
The university is offering effectively four lockers comprising trays for 12 laptops each.
It confirmed on Facebook that the machines are made by Dell. In terms and conditions for the service, the university noted that each machine is worth $1800.
Students are able to check out a laptop via a touchscreen. When they return it, they must connect it to power in the locker tray.
One of the conditions of use is that students store data on portable media such as a USB stick.
“All personal data or files on a laptop will be erased once the laptop is returned to the library and will not be recoverable if the laptop is logged off or powered down,” UNSW said in T&Cs.
“The borrower must ensure that their work is saved regularly on to an external storage device.”
Laptops returned later than four hour incur a fine of $3 per hour (or part thereof).
“If a student incurs a fine of $20 or more and it remains unpaid, they will be blocked from accessing all borrowing facilities (including auto-renewals) at UNSW Sydney,” the university said.
“If the student incurs a fine of $100 or more which remains unpaid, their enrolment will be blocked, and they will not have access to other student services (including graduations).”
The T&Cs note that if a laptop was “more than five days overdue”, it would be officially “considered lost/stolen” and the student would be up for an $1800 fee to replace it, along with other fees.
“The full cost of replacement may be waived at the discretion of the Library, provided that the laptop is returned in good condition,” the university said.
The presence of the locker and free loans of laptops was well-received by students on UNSW’s Facebook pages.