Friday, September 11, 2009

University Libraries Continue Offering Free Printing Services, within Limits

Beginning on the first day of fall semester classes, the University Libraries announced that we would continue to offer students and faculty “free” printing. A difference from past years is that users are limited to 1,000 “free pages” per semester. A page is the printing of one side of one sheet of paper.

When a person using our printing services reaches the 1,000 free pages limit, an electronic tally is kept and a charge of 5¢ per exposure over 1,000 is charged through the Bursar’s Office at the end of the semester.

Students and faculty may check personal print balances 24/7 by using the Check Print Balance link on the Libraries’ homepage, shown in the left column, Similarly, there is a link prominently displayed at the bottom right of the Student Virtual Library page, The balance displayed is current through the previous day at midnight. Users with guest accounts can print up to 20 pages per day.

The 1,000 page “free” printing service is based upon data collected in the 2009-2010 time frame from 6.2 million pages printed by students and faculty. Of this printing, 97% fell under the 1,000 “free” page base. Allowing 1,000 pages may help to curb some past abuse of our printing service. Last spring semester, for example, ten students together printed 101,417 pages, with one of the students printing 54,279 pages.

Analysis of last fall’s printing data, published in the May 2009 issue of The Library Insider, revealed that seniors printed an average (mean) of 278 pages each, with 79.2% of senior students using the service. At the same time, graduate students printed an average of 446 pages each, with 62.8% of BSU’s graduate students using the service. Other classes of students printed fewer pages, on average. Word documents accounted for 36.4% of the printing, followed by PDFs (20.9%), PowerPoints (14.7%), and non-BSU Web pages (11.1%).

The University Libraries also provide students and faculty with access to more than 380 computer workstations, including 18 Mac units. The Libraries have 10 high-quality, fast laser printers that print documents from those workstations as well as wirelessly processed documents from personal laptops.

Bracken Library is open 120.5 hours weekly, with longer hours immediately before and during final exams. Between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009, Bracken was open 357 days to support academic achievement, research, and learning.

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