By Gabby Rente
Before the start of this semester, Library Academic Technology switched from Pharos to a new printing system called “ink,” which uses touchscreen kiosks, or SmartStations.
There are three kiosks located on the main floor of Clifton Miller Library, in Hodson Hall Commons, and in Sophie’s Cafe.
“We were excited to put the one in Sophie’s Cafe because that is open 24/7, and that is also the one that has photo printing,” said Amanda Darby, director of Public Services for LAT. This particular SmartStation allows students to crop and add filters to their photos, which print out as the standard 6 x 4 inches.
There are multiple ways to print on the SmartStation. Student can print using a USB drive, by emailing their documents to firstname.lastname@example.org, or using the cloud system accessed through ink.me/washcoll.
Students no longer have to login to the library computers to print.
“You can send your documents to the printer from any internet connected device,” Darby said. “Folks can print from their dorm and then pick it up the next morning.”
All documents that students send to the cloud will be removed from the system’s queue after 72 hours.
The SmartStations can also scan, copy, and fax.
However, students still must set up an account at the SmartStation to login with their student ID.
This printing change did not happen overnight, and it was a long-awaited switch. Sharon Sledge, chief academic technology officer, along with Director of Client Support Bob Bishop and Technical Services and alumnus and member of the Washington College Board of Visitors and Governors John Anderson, began searching for a better printing system.
“We started looking into other options, but it was Bob who ultimately said, ‘I think ink is right for us, so let us go look at that,’” Sledge said.
Last fall, the Library sent out an email announcing the change, but the SmartStations were installed over winter break. The week before classes began, the library worked to learn how to use the new printers and train staff.
“We spent almost all of last week figuring out how they work, and doing staff training, and creating marketing materials, and figuring out how we would roll things out once students came back,” Darby said.
A sheet of instructions was taped to the side of each kiosk along with flyers advertising the new features.
The student feedback has been cautiously optimistic thus far.
“I like that it is 24-hours,” said junior Talia Seidman, after just printing from the SmartStation for the first time. “I feel like they could have one in Toll.”
Sophomore Mason Drummey printed from the kiosk multiple times within the first week of the semester.
“I kind of like it. I like being able to use my laptop to print instead of one of these things,” he said, pointing to one of the library’s desktop computers. “It makes it so much easier.”
The library was in the middle of transitioning to the new system last semester, and many students ran into issues with printing via their student IDs.
“We paid for all the printing last semester, so it should not have been any cost to students,” College Librarian Jackie Delong said. “We would love [students’] feedback to know if we hit the mark or not.”
“We just want you to come into the library, get your work done, and do not have to worry about leaving the building to do something. You can do it all here,” Sledge said.
“Students are under all sorts of pressure,” Dean of Library and Academic Technology Mary Alice Ball said. “The staff works hard to make us an organization where you can come in and feel cared for.”
Library staff help students understand the new printing system.
“I find myself up more helping students who look like they are having trouble,” Darby said. “That is the aspect of my job I like most — helping people and connecting with students.”
Students also have $10 of printing credit for this semester. The amount of printing credit for next academic year is still to be determined, but students can receive a dollar of printing credit by using the promo code: “firsttime.”