February 23rd 2006 I Know Printouts are Free, But…

Twice in the past week, I’ve had to brave the freezing cold to make a trek to the library’s after-hours computer lab in order to print out a paper, usually for German. And both times, I’ve had to wait while some guy or another printed off—no joke—about five hundred pages of text. The one guy yesterday printed out a stack of personal flyers three to four inches thick.

Look, guys: I know the printouts are free, but take it easy, okay?

This is one of the most interesting things about Bucknell: Copies on the library’s copier cost 25¢ a piece, but printouts on the laser printers cost nothing, and students get unlimited printouts. Thus, you frequently run into the genius who scans something into the computer and then prints out fifty copies of it. Much less frequently, you get people printing out several hundred “copies” on the printers.

Now I don’t mean to be a hard-ass about this. I’ve occasionally printed off twenty or thirty pages of material of dubious academic merit—but twenty or thirty is far, far less than five hundred, and printing off that many pages does pose a couple problems:

  1. If every student at Bucknell regularly printed off that many copies, ISR would very quickly revoke our privilege of being able to print out as many pages as we want. I like this privilege. I don’t have a printer in my room, and for the few times I do need to print out non-academic material, it’s nice to be able to without problem. I don’t want to see that privilege disappear.

  2. Printing out that many copies during peak times, such as during the day, is rude. If I have to print out a single sheet of paper for German, it’s rude to make me wait until you print off five hundred flyers for your band’s upcoming show. Hey, I’m very supportive of the local music scene, but even I have limits. Whenever I have to print out twenty or thirty pages of text, I wait until the after-hours lab or the Linux lab experiences a bit of “downtime”, i.e. late at night, around midnight or 1 AM or so. It’s simply the courteous thing to do.

Because of those reasons, it would be prudent—and courteous—of students to not abuse this privilege and be judicious in printing out personal materials. If you have a lot of posters or flyers to make, take it to Staple’s and pay to have them printed—or at least wait until there’s no one in the lab before starting a five hundred page print job.