Branch 3 Computer Lab

I attempted to utlize the branch 3 computer lab (for employment resources). The IT department has basically nuetralized the computers. People cannot access USB flash storage devices, cd-roms- and presently the printer is not working.

There are only about 6 computers to serve a huge population. Sadly, the restrictions on the computers (no USB access etc…) makes it very difficult to successfully benefit from the machines. It is very difficult to attach resumes, cover letters, and writing samples when you can only access materials stored online.

Essentially, the machines are nothing more than glorified VIC-20’s. It would be much more helpful if people could access the printer, USB ports, DVD-Rom drives, in order to look for work.

If there is concern about the machines being tampered with, it would be possible to go to a USB boot system on a basic persistent linux pendrive (e.g. Knoppix) in which people were given flash drives to store and use. This would reduce any kind of security concerns while maintaining functionality.

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that people are required to conform to systems that do not serve them well in these situations and would be better off if they had more ability to exercise self direction.

For example, I waited outside Branch 3 to access my locker (which I can only do during certain times of the day.) Then I decided to utilize their lab instead of the workforce center because it would save me the travel time to the Workforce center- but as I explained, their lab was fairly dysfunctional.

To be fair, the workforce lab staff explained she had requested the IT department get the printer working and open up access to the computer. Hopefully, it will get straightened out soon. Otherwise, people are just idling.

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