Case Study

Exeter College: Smart Locker Supports Asset Loans

Denise Crouch

Denise Crouch

In 2016 the LRC team at Exeter College decided to implement a self-service procedure for loaning devices to students. Tammy East, Customer Experience Manager, and Trevor Leyland, Library Systems Coordinator for Information and Learning Services, share their self-service success with the Diplomat™ LMS Smart Locker.

Customer Profile

Exeter College is a large, thriving and growing tertiary college which places teaching, learning and student success as their top priority. They enjoy an excellent regional reputation. An Ofsted Inspection in 2022 resulted in the college retaining the impressive accolade of Outstanding. The College also scored the top assessment of ‘strong’ for its approach to meeting the skills needs of the area. This makes Exeter College the first college in the country to achieve the highest judgement in both elements of Ofsted’s new enhanced inspections.

Entrance to Exeter College Library


Tammy East - “We wanted to be able to offer students the use of a laptop while they were here at college and knew we needed to invest in a larger number of these. However, the problem with introducing a manual loan system for this purpose is that it’s quite cumbersome and time-consuming in terms of preparation and distribution. Therefore, we needed to find a simple and efficient means of making a large number of these devices available to our staff and students”.

This type of innovation is important to Information and Learning Services at Exeter College. The LRC service has a Grade 1 CoLRiC rating, and they are committed to offering students up-to-date technology and easy access to resources.

Trevor Leyland - “It’s also very much about managing flexible learning spaces. In a study suite, it’s only possible to install so many PCs whilst still providing sufficient access to desk space for alternative reading and studying purposes. With the use of laptops, it’s possible to do both. We had observed and spoken to colleagues working in universities and had been informed that it had worked well for them. We then wondered how we could bring self-service laptop loans into a college environment”.

Exeter College Library


Having decided that self-service circulation would be the way forward, Exeter College reviewed what was on offer across the market and invited quotes and specifications from LapSafe® and other companies to investigate their requirements.

Trevor Leyland - “Physically the look of the Diplomat™ LMS Smart Locker was more attractive and having the full functionality of being able to link it with our Heritage LMS in conjunction with the ‘Best charged device loaning feature’ is something the other companies couldn’t offer us at that time. The Diplomat™ LMS Smart Locker was a little more expensive than the competition, but it offered a far better solution. Sometimes the quality of the product is more important than price.”

Tammy East - “For us, it is very much about providing an exceptional learning resource service. If you look at library services in general, there are a lot of diversifications outside the use of books and library space. With this in mind, self-service laptop loans reflect how we are currently looking into developing our services, so we were very keen to find the necessary funding to implement it”.

To begin the sales process Trevor contacted LapSafe® and asked if it was possible to see a demonstration of the Diplomat™ LMS Smart Locker at the college to establish whether it covered all the functionality they required. He was suitably impressed with both the product and the service he received.

Trevor Leyland - “Rob our Account Manager at LapSafe™ was very quick to answer any questions that arose and brought in a working demo model for us to examine, which was very helpful. The delivery process went well, and we had no real issues. Once the LapSafe® installation teams had set everything up they gave our LRC staff full training on how to use the Smart Locker before leaving, and it’s been functioning perfectly ever since”.

Diplomat™ LMS Smart Locker in Exeter College Library

“We’ve found that most students don’t require training as they use it intuitively, although we’ve provided a video to facilitate the process. Generally, it’s very easy to operate and they just pick it up. Many students were gathering around while it was being fitted and wanted to start using it straight away. The snapshot of weekly device issues in the chart below shows, from February 2017, when the Diplomat™ LMS Smart Locker was first installed, to the end of the academic year. This demonstrates its popularity with students; especially given its location within a centre containing over sixty desktop PCs."

snapshot of weekly device issues in the chart


Trevor Leyland - _“Since we purchased the Diplomat™ LMS Smart Locker, there have been a couple of upgrades that have worked perfectly and offered additional functionality”.

“We take the view that although the purchase and maintenance costs of our self-service stations, (including books and laptops), account for quite a lot of our budget, employing these technologies raises our profile, increases the use of our services and encourages independent study."_

Tammy East“We would recommend the Diplomat LMS Smart Locker to other colleges. It integrates well with our system; the students love it, and we get great support from the service team at LapSafe® if we need it”.

Exeter College has expressed an interest in expanding the service to other LRCs across the college and will be considering this in the future.

Exeter College continued to expand its Smart Lockers and now boasts 72 locker bays for its devices.

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