Google-based Chrome Cafe opens to students in E. H. Butler Library


Teagan Knowles/The Record

The Chrome Cafe opened Aug. 17.

Autumn Evans, News Editor

Students at SUNY Buffalo State are utilizing the Chrome Cafe that opened in E.H. Butler Library last month.

The cafe consists of six Chromebase desktop computers and is located near the main entrance to the library, in the space where Starbucks used to operate. After Argo Tea replaced Starbucks in the spring, the space was left empty.

For Andrew Chambers, the library’s Information Commons technology administrator and self-described “Google person,” the Chrome Cafe was the perfect way to fill that empty space. He said the library had been loaning out Chromebooks for a few years already and students seemed to like them. When he saw the Chrome OS at a conference last year, he was impressed.

“I thought, why don’t we get six or seven of these Chromebases and see how students like them,” Chambers said.

Student response has so far been positive. Kayleigh Bemisderfer, a graduate forensic sciences major, said she had only used the cafe once, but would probably use it more in the future.

“It’s fairly easy to use, and it’s fast,” she said.

Chambers said he chose Chromebases for the library because of their simplicity.

“The beauty about the Chrome OS is, it’s just a web browser,” he said. He said that made it easy to use, and much cheaper than a standard desktop. He said each Chromebase cost about $300, compared to about $600 for other desktops. The funds for the computers came from the library’s technology budget.

Freshman media production major, Brandon Lumen, also said he liked the cafe, but for different reasons. First described to him on a campus tour, Lumen said he has only used the cafe once but plans to use it more often. He said he preferred the location of the cafe over other computer stations.

“It’s more of a closed space,” Lumen said. “In the other [computer areas] there are more people around.”

Chambers said that because Chromebases have built-in wireless, unlike other desktops used on campus, they could easily be placed anywhere. He said that opened the possibility of adding more workstations in the future.

Chambers said the library was considering adding more Chromebase work stations to the second and third floors. He also said he looked forward to seeing student reception to the current cafe.

“It’s just, to me, I look at it as a great opportunity,” he said. “I’m excited to see how well it’s received.”

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