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Chromebooks and Wifi Hotspots
WFPL has 20 Chromebooks available for home use. Chromebooks can be borrowed for up to two weeks and are not eligible for renewal. Chromebooks must be returned to WFPL’s main Circulation Desk with accompanying mice and charging cords. Want to learn more about using a Chromebook? Check out our FAQ below, the user guide included with each Chromebook, or Google's How to Chromebook resource.
- Limit one Chromebook per library card.
- The replacement cost for a lost or damaged Chromebook is $300.
If you are a Watertown resident and would like to reserve a Chromebook, search the catalog for “Watertown Chromebook” or click the button below. Minuteman cardholders from other towns may borrow a Chromebook at the Circulation Desk (subject to availability) but cannot place a hold.
- What is a Chromebook?
Chromebooks are streamlined laptops that run on ChromeOS. You can use a Chromebook to do just about anything you'd normally do online: browse websites, check your email, watch online videos, and so on.
- How do I use a Chromebook?
If you're using a Chromebook in the library, simply open the lid and turn it on! The Chromebook will automatically connect to the internet. You will need to accept the Computer Use policies before you can access the Chromebook. If you are using a Chromebook outside the library, you will need to connect to the internet first. Click on the Wi-Fi button in the lower right corner and select a Wi-Fi network to continue.
- How do I save my work?
Saving your files is important! The Chromebook will reset and remove all data any time you close the lid, restart, or turn off the Chromebook. To save any files, you will need to save to a flash drive/external hard drive, email files to yourself, or upload them to cloud storage like OneDrive or Google Drive.
- Do I need a Google account?
A Google account is not required for using a Chromebook, but it does allow you to use the Chromebook more efficiently! By logging into the Chrome browser with a Google account, you will gain access to everything in your account including the Google productivity apps. Work opened or edited in the Google productivity apps will be automatically saved to your Google Drive, so you will have access to your files each time you log into your Google account from any computer.
- How do I use Microsoft Office?
While desktop software can't be installed on Chromebooks, there are two ways to edit Microsoft Office files. You can open files in their corresponding Google productivity apps: Docs for Word files; Sheets for Excel files; or Slides for PowerPoint files. Alternatively, you can use a free Microsoft account to log into Office.com and use the web versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, or Teams.
If you just need to quickly type and save a document, try using the "Word" web app in the bottom task bar. You can create and download a new document without having to log into any account.
- What about other programs?
Most popular apps are going cloud-based and are now available online, so you will still be able to access them on a Chromebook. We have installed Zoom in the bottom task bar for easy access. You will not be able to install any software on the Chromebook.
- How do I use accessibility features on a Chromebook?
To enable accessibility features, click on the box with the time shown in the bottom right corner of the screen. Select the Accessibility button to open a list of options, including spoken text, dictation, screen magnification, and more. Simply click on an option to turn it on or off.
WFPL has 17 hotspots available for home use. Hotspots allow the user to access the Internet without needing a home internet setup. These can be borrowed for up to two weeks and are not eligible for renewal. Hotspots must be returned to WFPL’s main Circulation Desk, with accompanying charging cords and instruction booklets.
- Limit one hotspot per library card.
- The replacement cost for a lost or damaged hot spot is $50. If a hotspot is kept beyond its due date, internet access will be shut off.
If you are a Watertown resident and would like to reserve a hotspot, search the catalog for “Watertown hotspot” or click the button below. Minuteman cardholders from other towns may borrow a hotspot at the Circulation Desk (subject to availability) but cannot place a hold.
Questions about borrowing library laptops and hotspots? Call us at 617-972-6431 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.