CASE STUDY: Userful Desktop Libraries

Windsor Public Library

A Case Study by Userful Corporation

“I appreciate technology which does as promised. It allows
us to concentrate on providing more and varied services to our public.”- Marc Pillon, Supervisor
Library Electronic Services,
Windsor Public Library

The Library
Windsor Public Library serves a bustling community of 300,000 south of Detroit, Michigan. Like many North American libraries, Windsor has found its public access computer stations a very popular asset. Use of their public computers grew so quickly the library had to work hard to keep up with demand, and a lot of public access stations meant a lot of staff time invested in maintaining and managing them. Windsor realized early on that, though an important asset, their public access computers were proving extremely labor intensive for the library.

Quick Fact: ECO SAVINGS - based on this case study
Electricity Saved: 238,597.92 KWh = $8,303 saved, CO/2 Saved: 369,827 lbs. of CO2, Cars off the Road: 31 cars off the roads, Trees planted: 45 acres of trees

Thin Clients Didn’t Deliver
Windsor 1 In 1999, Windsor deployed a thin client solution for public use. It was a technology intended to solve their public access woes. After all, centralized administration should result in less IT work.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. The Microsoft server, the Citrix application and the 65 thin client devices were hard to set up and hard to secure. Windsor’s IT staff found them difficult to make safe and secure for public access. Users were limited to a web browser with catalog and Internet access. According to Marc Pillon, Supervisor of Library Electronic Services, the thin clients simply “never did what we wanted them to. And so we began looking for a better option.”

“We wanted a secure system that was scalable, one that was not difficult to configure and support. It also had to provide users with a rich environment,” explained Mr. Pillon. Like so many libraries, Windsor also wanted a cost-effective solution; one that not only provided up-front savings, but ongoing labor savings. The library administration valued staff time and knew that public access computers could be an enormous drain on staff hours.

Quick Fact: Total Cost of Ownership
We can help you achieve more with less. Userful Desktop saves up to 80% of the IT and administrative time usually spent on computing.

The Solution
Userful Desktop’s comprehensive support guarantee immediately caught Mr. Pillon’s eye. Userful fully supports the hardware and software for Userful Desktop. Should a component fail, Userful immediately sends replacement hardware by courier.

Userful also guarantees the software and takes care of all problems no matter what the cause. Updates, upgrades, patches and support costs are all included; there are no hidden costs. Windsor 2

Userful Desktop offers all the applications a user could want: a full office suite, HTML editor, photo editor, games, chat and much more in 30+ languages. Userful also includes the public access management features that thin clients lack: session timer, automated desktop clean-up, print cost recovery, auto log-out, and the crown jewel of time management -- a PC booking and reservation module.

Computer reservation was important to Windsor. Along with the 115-seat Userful Desktop purchase, Windsor also invested in Pre-Book, Userful’s comprehensive computer booking and reservation product. Loaded with features including e-mail reminders, grace periods, walk-up bookings and “next best choice,” Pre-Book would now allow library staff to throw away paper sign-up sheets.

Quick Fact: Userful Desktop Features
Userful Desktop includes over 40 applications in 30+ languages. Users can surf the web, catch up on work, burn CDs, or just play games. There’s even a large-print option for those with vision impairment.

The Future
Userful Desktop does everything as promised. The patron’s stations continue to run hour after hour, day after day without intervention from the library IT staff. Patrons are happy and library staff are free to return to their duties. Their days of worrying about their public access stations are over.

PDF Download: Windsor Public Library Case Study (PDF - 545KB)