An Address to the Miller Library: Stop Jamming

By Katie Tabeling

Opinion Editor

One Saturday afternoon, early in the semester, I walked into the Miller Library expecting to perform a quick errand print out some homework and reading assignments. It was a five minute task, tops. All I needed to do was hop on a computer, plug-in my beat-up flashdrive, print, and get it at the front desk.

Stapling would be the most work I’d have to do. I walked in with my memories of how efficient the library was, confident that I’d soon be on my merry way to homework hell.

How very wrong I was.

My assurance was shattered within only 10 seconds stepping foot in the library. Behind the front desk, a frazzled library worker was crouched in front of the monstrous printer, frantically wrenching out the bottom tray. The printer emitted a shuddering hack, like a behemoth preparing to spit out phlegm. The poor worker, to her credit, looked as if she wanted to run for cover instead of kneeling before the beast.

When asked if the printer would be working soon, the worker laughed tersely. “I hope so!” she said.

When I brave the library lately, my first action is to scan the front desk for warning signs. My second action is to ask the current worker at the desk if the printers are working today. Needless to say, I receive a lot of dirty looks when I venture in. Luckily, that isn’t often, as a good friend lets me borrow his printer when needed.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as I am; some students I know have to come early just to print a few assignments. It’s a long wait to even get on a library computer, not even to mention the line at the front desk.  On some occasions, the documents don’t make the harrowing journey from computer to printer and get lost in the digital world. By then, there are no computers left, and the vicious cycle begins again.

Is there something wrong with this picture? Is it right that students have to literally prepare themselves for the faulty printer’s gambles?

Possibly the Miller Library should invest in a better printer, as this one is finicky to the point of aggravation.  But perhaps some changes in the library would fix the printing catastrophe; investing in maintenance training would be a great start. I understand that the work study program works to find jobs for any student, but does that mean the rest of us have to suffer the workers not being technically adept?

The point of college is to provide their students with the ability to succeed. It only makes sense that Washington College should be invested in teaching their student workers to do their jobs to the best of their ability, even if the job isn’t permanent.

I’m sure everyone would appreciate someone with actual tech knowledge manning the printing system for once. Not only is the sight of a worker viciously yanking out the bottom tray disconcerting, it’s also possibly nerve-racking for the worker who has to face down a mob of angry students. The wrenching of the tray is also probably not good for the printer.

WC made a point to advertise free printing at the library, but what’s the use if it is a battle to get things printed? Whether it’s the printer, the working system, or even advertising to bring your own printer, something has to change.

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