The ‘drone loan’ and other surprising items at college libraries

Some college students can now check drones out of their libraries. (Perhaps not exactly this model, a Parrot Minidrone 'Rolling Spider').
(STAN HONDA / AFP/Getty Images)

At the Colgate University Library you can check out the book “Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution” by Richard Whittle, the book “The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam” by Akbar Ahmed, or skip the reading and just borrow a drone.

“Colgate University’s library is among several around the country that offer what are known as ‘drone loan’ programs,” writes Jeffrey R. Young at the Chronicle of Higher Education. The drones are equipped with a camera that can send video back to a computer. To check out a drone, students must undergo training, have a partner for spotting, and a good reason. “One of the first takers was a biology professor doing field research in Ethiopia,” Young writes.

Another high-tech gadget college libraries are adding to their collections is Google Glass. Claremont Colleges, CU Boulder, North Carolina State Universities and Yale University have all made Google Glass available to their communities in one way or another. In North Carolina, researchers could request Google Glass; Claremont and CU Boulder students and professors were invited to submit short-term proposals for research, teaching and learning; Yale emphasized collaborative projects.


Young writes that another tech item patrons can get at college libraries these days isn’t as flashy as a computer embedded in a set of glasses or a flying drone, but it’s more essential: juice. Power cords and adapters are certainly needed by college students and, a staffer at George Tech’s library points out, “not terribly expensive.”

Desktops have long been available at college libraries, but now students are regularly able to borrow laptops, tablets and netbooks, too.

What some college students might need even more than those personal computing devices is a room-cleaning robot like the Roomba.

Book news and more; I’m @paperhaus on Twitter