Marist’s New Touchscreen Computers

Poughkeepsie, NY- You may have noticed the new “All in One” (Desktop+monitor) computers for the first time at the beginning of the semester, but when did you notice they feature touchscreens?

For awhile Library student employee/Student Government Resident Senator Brian Lampert did not know they featured it..

“I noticed the new (touchscreen) computers about three weeks after the semester had started; keep in mind I’ve been at Marist for a week before that, so it took me about 4 weeks to notice that they were touchscreen,” Lampert said.

A fair amount of students may still not be aware that with one finger gesture one can scroll through the computers in Donnelly, the library and various other computer labs around campus. Yet, why exactly did Marist choose the new touchscreens for the computers labs?

Marist's  new "All in One" computers in the James Cannavino library.

Marist’s new “All in One” computers in the James Cannavino library.

The Library Director, Verne Newton says his staff has little to no input in the selection process. Instead he said that the I.T. department pulls the strings.

“We’re kind of silent partners on it (choosing process). Like I say they (I.T. Department) announce that they’re going to do upgrades. They send in their teams. They take out the old and put in the new. And in two or three years they come back and do it all over again,” said Newton.

Kathleen LaBarbera, the Manager of Client Services in I.T., says that every three years hardware upgrades occur on campus to particular areas that are due for it. Also she mentioned that since I.T. always tries obtains the latest technology.  In this case, the touchscreens are part of that latest feature. Basically, it’s the popular trend around the computer world.


Everyone worries about getting sick, especially parents when they send their children away to schools with thousands of other college students. As people touch the screens, not knowing whether they have washed their hands in the bathroom, one wonders who is cleaning them?

According to Lampert, none of the librarians are cleaning them.

“So far I nor to the best of my knowledge anyone else from the library or student workers have had to clean the computers,” he said.

Verne is also doubtful.

“I don’t think there’s any systemic cleaning.  Anymore than there were for previous years,” he said.

He added the purview either falls under I.T. or the Housekeeping, saying the library does not have the “manpower” to clean the computers.

Yet according to LaBarbera, there is no one cleaning all the computer screens at Marist, but why?

She said,“No one wants to clean them because of the fear, because what if they (housekeeping) use the wrong chemical?”

So housekeeping is essentially worried that if they tried to clean them, they may be doing more harm than good to the screens.

She pointed out that “It’s (computers) advanced so much now you can’t just take a paper towel and put Windex on it(screen) to wipe it down.”

More computers.  Photo by Bob Tognetti

More computers. Photo by Bob Tognetti

She added one needs a special microfiber cloth to clean the screens, which is available at the Donelly computer store. And I.T. does try to clean the computers in their purview like the Donnelly lab.

But what if there’s was a flu epidemic?

LaBarbra mentioned in the past they have passed out hand sanitizers. A couple of years ago I.T. and Student Government did so over the fear of the bird flu epidemic.

As for now, if your a Germaphobe, like Howie Mandel, your best bet is to use the Donnelly computer lab or to always carry around you’re own cleaning supplies.

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