Throwing It All at the Wall: Building a Comprehensive Technology and Research Equipment Lending Collection

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Association of College & Research Libraries


Technology is an ongoing need for instructors, students, staff, and researchers at institutions of higher education. Many academic departments attempt to solve needs on a case-by-case basis, purchasing and providing equipment to the specific groups of people they serve. Although these solutions work in the short term, they do not address widespread needs across universities or long-term use of the equipment beyond a given project. As modern academic libraries expand collections and services, we are poised to more efficiently provide access to expensive technology to our institutions due to our centralized nature. To meet this need, the Studios Network of Virginia Tech University Libraries developed the Studios Technology Lending Desk (STLD). In this chapter, we discuss how we have shaped our acquisition, support, and outreach methods to create a service that provides Virginia Tech’s faculty, staff, and students with technology to pursue a variety of creative endeavors within their fields of study and beyond. In sharing our experiences and the ethos behind choices we have made, we hope to inspire other programs to establish or extend their lending services to include technology that supports creators at their libraries.