Levin Goes Unplugged

BY BRANDON BLOM // APRIL 24, 2012 //

Have you ever waited until the last minute to write a paper? And when you rushed to the library to print it out, did you find that a one-minute process quickly became 10? Having to wait around for a free computer often leaves students fuming and, worse, late to class.

Obviously, waiting until the 11th hour to write and print an assignment is a bad idea. But so is failing to adopt new technologies that help make life easier.

Over spring break, Curry’s Tech Center tested a new wireless printing system in the Levin Library that will allow students to simply bring in their laptops and print to one of the building’s three public printers. The one-minute process should be back to one minute again.

Library Director Ed Tallent and the rest of the library staff are working to make the entire building more user-friendly, with better study spaces and electronic resources. “My hope is that students will use the library more,” said Tallent. “It’s easier to get assistance in the library than it is in your dorm room.”

But according to Tallent, that’s not the driver behind the new printing system. “It’s an expected service for new students coming in,” he said.

Currently, students who want to print something in the library must use one of the facility’s desktop PCs or iMacs. Prior to that, though, they must transfer their documents from their personal computers to a flash drive or email their documents to themselves.

“It’s a hassle,” said Christian Demaria, a freshman communication major. “There are a lot of steps and it will be much easier to just go in and hit print.”

That’s the idea behind the new system. All of the kinks are not yet worked out, Tallent said, but students won’t likely have to download anything to enable wireless printing. All they would need is a laptop with wireless capability. “We are trying to make the system as simple as possible,” he added.

The college’s printing policies would stay the same: 500 pages per semester are allowed before charges apply.

Tallent said the goal is to have wireless printing available before the end of the semester, and that it might be expanded to other places on campus, such as the Mac labs in Hafer and Kennedy, in the future.

James Oliver, a sophomore criminal justice major, said students routinely take advantage of the library’s printers and the upgrade would enable more people to do so more efficiently. He added that a wireless system is a good idea. “That’s what I was hoping they would do,” Oliver said.

For his part, Tallent wants to change how students view the library and believes employing technological advances is one way to do that.

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