Media Center takes hit on losses


Check out and go: Sophomore Layla Kheiralla checks out a laptop from media specialist Beth Hempke Shapiro. The Media Center uses an electronic inventory system in an attempt to combat annual damages to media equipment.

Thomas White

As the end of the school year approaches, the Media Center will experience losses when items go unreturned or destroyed. This problem leads to severe financial damage, however, it is getting better as compared to previous years, Media Center specialist Dennis Murphy said.
Yet, this improvement is being offset by the emergence of a new issue of students vandalizing the computers.
Most of the casualties the Media Center experiences come from missing laptops and books. While the school undergoes losses every year, the issue of laptops and books being lost has improved, Murphy said. He believes the cause of the new positive trend has to do with a better system of keeping track of the inventory, which came into effect about five years ago.
“[The Media Center] started to use a new inventory system called ‘Destiny’ several years ago, and it automatically keeps track of the inventory,” Murphy said. “Since then, it has been much easier to keep track of our items, and it has prevented items from being lost.”
The system helps to organize the records by sorting the catalog when books, laptops, calculators and iPads are scanned, checked in and checked out.
In addition to tracking items, the school also looks to prevent more losses by imposing fines on students who fail to return items to the Media Center. With the help of the inventory manager, the school has been able to easily identify the students who have unreturned items. Throughout the years, the school is reducing the losses of its property, although the negative costs are not completely eliminated, Murphy said.
“We really have not had big issues with laptops and books being lost for the past few years,” Murphy said. “The students and the school are doing a good job to safely return things.”
Though the loss of items has been decreasing over the years, the Media Center is facing a number of new problems this year, with students vandalizing computers during school hours. Every day a lengthy amount of computers and laptops have to be fixed by Information Technology manager Jeremy Young. The main problems surrounding the computers are the students tampering with the cords, monitors and mouses. Junior Dawit Casete first noticed this trend. He said he has seen people purposely plug in cords from a computer into different monitors so that it causes trouble for those using the computers.
Although the intent of the vandals may simply be a prank, some students have felt frustrated with people damaging the equipment.
“It gets really annoying when people mess with computers, especially when other computers in the Media Center are not available,” Casete said. “It really becomes a setback for things I want to do considering that I sometimes try to get work done in a short period of time.”
While most problems are minor, some of the more severe difficulties include laptop and desktop screens being damaged or cracked, which then need to be replaced and adds to the financial damages.
“These problems come up daily, and I usually fix several screens, hard drives and chips a day.” Young said. “But that’s my job.”