Eighty percent of the University’s print jobs are processed through Walsh Library’s four printers. The printers, which date back to 2008 and 2009, have printed more than 1 million pieces of paper each – one printer has exceeded 3 million prints, according to John Bushman, dean of University libraries.
Bushman is working with IT Services and meeting with several printing companies to hopefully meet a goal for the summer of a consolidation and upgrade of the University’s printing system.
“We are very well aware of the shortcomings and challenges students face,” Bushman said.
Student Government Association Academic Affairs Committee Chair Drew Holden has been working with Bushman on the issue since Bushman started as dean.
“It’s time that we upgrade our printing technology – that is currently multiple generations old and suffering the kinds of issues that come with older technology – to come into line with that technological track record,” Holden said. “This is only more important as the University looks to increase the number of printers on campus.”
Bushman said he is most concerned about the lines that the students face, how quickly print jobs can be handled, that machines are more energy efficient and that students get in and out of the lines as quickly as possible.
“Students are great, they’re patient,” Bushman said. “I worry for them. They’ve got classes to get to, and other appointments to make … when you have to wait 10 minutes to get to a print job it’s a little tough.”
IT and the library are investigating new companies and new machines.
According to Bushman, the initial solution that IT was looking at that they were going to do this fall fell through when WEPA, a wireless printing company, went bankrupt.
Bushman said it is an industry standard that once a machine passes 2 million prints, it should be replaced.
One of the companies is proposing that it has the capabilities to cut down the printing process to a simple I.D. card swipe.
On top of shortening that process, Bushman said he hopes to consolidate the five black and white printers, two scanners and two copiers in the library to a few machines that can handle all those printing tasks.
Bushman also said that this new company, working with him and IT Services, could replace printing machines all over campus or possibly reconfigure the printers to bring some to other buildings.
“A basic thing like printing is really, really important,” Bushman said. “And I don’t think 20 years ago anybody would’ve said that, but it’s important to have it stable and reliable.”
Students have recently experienced the Pharos printer system crashes that cause long lines all over campus, especially in the library.
Junior sociology major Amanda Payne said that she wishes there were printers in the dorms and that she is grateful that she has one in her room.
“If I didn’t have a printer in my room, I would probably forget to print my stuff,” Payne said.
Junior accounting major Kenny Zampino said that he has experienced troubles with printers that aren’t in the library.
“If you tried to print outside of the library, sometimes you’d have problems because they’re broken and wouldn’t be fixed for a while,” Zampino said. “A few weeks ago, (the printers in other buildings) would take money from my Pirates Gold and not from my free prints.”
Charlotte Lewis can be reached at email@example.com.