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Penn State University Libraries

Using Computers in the Library

This information pertains to the libraries at University Park. For information on other campus libraries, visit your Campus Library website.

Available computers in the Pattee Paterno Libraries.

Software programs available on Library computers.



Visitor Station

Visitor Station in 203 Paterno

You may search the CAT (library catalog) from library computers marked "VISITOR STATION" without logging on. These visitor station computers also provide Internet access to Penn State Web sites, along with governmental Web sites. Visitors may also search most library databases using the Vistor Station computers.

Visitor Station locations in Pattee-Paterno Libraries:

  • Leisure Reading Room
  • Arts and Humanities Library (W202)
  • Arts and Humanities Library (W211)
  • Special Collections Library (Blockson Room)
  • Special Collections Library (E105)
  • Social Sciences Library (E201)
  • Business Library (E301)
  • Life Sciences Library (E401)
  • Education and Behavioral Sciences Library (E501)

Visitor Stations in UP branch libraries:

  • Engineering Library (325 Hammond)
  • Physical and Mathematical Sciences Library (201 Davey)
  • Earth and Mineral Sciences Library (105 Deike)

Connecting to the Internet

Wireless Internet is available in most PSU libraries. Library laptops are wireless-ready. Patrons with personal laptops must install the Cisco virtual private network (VPN) client in order to connect wirelessly. Go to Penn State Wireless for more information.


Accessing your Penn State Access Account Storage Space (PASS)

Note: Default PASS space allocation is 500 MB. Go to ITS's PASS resources for more information.

To connect:

Go to, or:

  1. Open a Web browser and go to
  2. Click on Login in the upper left corner, and enter your Access ID and password.
  3. Your should see the PASS Explorer on your Portal page. If it is not there, click on Add Channels in the upper right corner of the page. In the Categories drop-down menu, select Access Account Services. In the Channels box, highlight Penn State Access Account Storage Space. Then click on Add and Save.
  4. On your portal homepage, click on PASS Explorer.

To save a file from your computer to your PASS space:

  1. Save the file on the computer's hard drive.
  2. In the PASS Explorer window, click on Upload File.
  3. Click on Browse and select the file.
  4. Click Upload to save the file.

You should now be able to access the file from any other computer by accessing your PASS space online. 


Borrowing Laptops

Dell Laptop

Laptop computers are available for loan to registered students, faculty and staff at most Penn State University Libraries.  Ask your local PSU library for details.

  • You must present a valid Penn State ID to borrow laptop computers.
  • Laptops are available from most PSU libraries for 24-hour, in-house use only. Laptops loaned for 24 hours must remain in the Library and must be returned at least 30 minutes before the Library closes.
  • Laptops are also available from the Pattee Library Lending Services desk (University Park campus) for 7-day loan. Laptops loaned for 7-days may leave the library and are subject to overdue fees of $25.00 per day for each day overdue. Laptops not returned within 4 days of the date due may be presumed lost and replacement fees of $2,500, in addition to overdue fees, may be assessed.
  • Upon return, all laptops are re-imaged and any files or programs saved to the laptop during use are deleted and cannot be retrieved. Always make copies of your work before returning the laptop.

Laptop Specs

You are responsible for any laptop borrowed on your account. Do not leave laptops unattended for any length of time. Report any hardware or software problems to a Library service desk immediately.


  • Dell Latitude 620 or 630
  • Intel Centrino Core 2 Duo processor (2 GHz)
  • 2 GB RAM
  • DVD +/- RW optical drive
  • Four USB 2.0 ports
  • Intel Pro/Wireless 3945 WiFi 802.11 a/b/g card
  • 14.1" WXGA display


  • Windows XP Professional OS
  • Microsoft Office 2007
  • Adobe Acrobat 8.0
  • Symantec Antivirus
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • iTunes and QuickTime
  • Trillian IM client
  • Cyberlink Power DVD

Borrowing iPads - NEW!!!!

IPad now available to borrow

Thirty-six iPad 2s are available for loan to students, faculty and staff. Loans are for seven days, no renewals, with a $25/day overdue fee.

The iPads are wi-fi only, and borrowers may add their own apps.

If/when all iPads are checked-out, staff at the Commons Services desk will place holds for borrowers (borrowers cannot place holds on iPads themselves).



The LIAS-VPN (different from the VPN used for on campus wireless) is designed to help PSU users working from home to more seamlessly connect to the databases. It makes the home computer "look like" it is on campus and also makes a "secure tunnel" through which the information communicated passes. LIAS VPN is also used for music audio reserves.

LIAS VPN also allows the "get-it" button to appear in Google Scholar and in other places when the other VPN will not work. The LIAS VPN comes in with the VPN client and is at the very bottom of the list of connections after all the campuses.

Note: You can not use the LIAS VPN for wireless at UP or other on-campus locations. It is intended to be used by people who are not at a Penn State location to access the databases and other licensed library resources.

For software assistance, refer patrons to an ITS Consultant at the Gateway Commons or the ITS Consulting Services helpdesk

More information about accessing the Penn State network (including the VPN, and accounts).

Macintosh Users

Information about using the VPN on a Macintosh computer with the Snow Leopard or Lion OS.

In the VPN settings, specify the following to activate the LIAS-VPN




Authentication Problems

We've created a page documenting some recent user authentication problems and their solutions:

We began seeing the second issue on this page last fall. Briefly, it occurs because students enrolled during the past few semesters have identical Friends of Penn State IDs (created when students begin applying for enrollment) and Access IDs (created shortly after registration). If students also create Access passwords that match their FPS passwords, then resources such as eLion, ANGEL, and the CAT may attempt to authenticate to both systems. If the FPS system responds first, then students will have Friends of Penn State credentials, with limited access to many of our resources. The solution recommended by the ITS helpdesk is to have students change their Access passwords so that the two passwords no longer match.  


Using an iPod Touch/iPhone on the Wireless Network

Instructions can be found here.


Printing in the Libraries

Current information on printing can be found here.


Collaborative Workstations

There are several areas around the libraries available for group study around a computer workstation. These computers feature 24" wide screen displays for easy group viewing and memory card readers supporting all the popular flash memory card formats including:

  • Compact Flash
  • XD and SD cards
  • Memory Stick
  • Multimedia Cards
  • USB Flash Drives

These workstations can be found in the following areas: 

  • Social Science Library
  • Business Library
  • Life Sciences Library
  • Music and Media Center
  • Sidewater Commons
  • Knowledge Commons

Macintosh Computers

Macintosh computers are available in the Sidewater Commons and W140 inside of the Knowledge Commons.

For a listing of what programs are installed on these computers, please visit the ITS Macintosh Program list page.