Students face a long wait when trying to print in the newly-updated computer lab at McFarlin Library. Photo by Michaela Flonard

Library computers take more time than they are worth

It can take more than 16 minutes to find a computer and print documents from the library, leaving students pressed for time.

IT updated the library computer lab in September, with mixed results.

On the plus side, the new study lounge is almost always in use by half a dozen students at a time. And with some limited exceptions, students aren’t blocking a computer from use while sitting on their laptops.

However, after taking some time to experience and consider the library changes, the system is somehow worse than it was before.

To begin, on almost all the computers in the east lab, the login process grew from a slightly-irritating 30 seconds to a minute to an infuriatingly slow two to three minutes.

Once logged in, you have to wait approximately 30 seconds for the computer to become fully functional so you can open the software or Internet service of your choice.

To print an assignment, you then take the time required to open the assignment and press the print key; let’s say that takes a minute of your time.

If your assignment was 30 pages front and back, which would be a conservative average for my major, it will take about two minutes to print.

However, based on my admittedly less-than-scientific testing of the library computers over the last five months, only about half of the library computers connect to the library printers. I once spent 10 minutes in the settings on one of the unconnected computers trying to manually reconnect it to no avail.

So once you’ve realized that you aren’t going to be able to print from the computer you’ve logged in on, you then have to log, hop onto another computer, and hope for the best.

Not long ago, another young lady and I played musical chair around the library until she found a computer connected to the printer, and I waited directly behind her as we formed a line for what seemed to be the only connected computer not already in use that day.

So let’s do the math.

One minute to log on
+ 30 seconds for functionality
+ One minute to locate your assignment
+ Two minutes to print
= in and out in four and a half minutes so you can run to class and act like you’ve done the reading.

Three minutes to log on
+ 30 seconds for functionality
+ One minute to locate your assignment
+ 10 seconds realizing that the printer doesn’t work and logging out of the computer
+10 seconds of gathering your things and moving to another computer
(180+30+60+10+10)X3, because you’ll inevitably try three computers before you find one that works
+ Two minutes to print
= 16-and-a-half minutes to do the same thing we did in less than five just last semester.

So IT, if you are reading this, please, please, please go through and speed up the login time on the computers and connect them all to the library printers! I’m actually begging you. Just like my professors are begging me not to come to class five minutes late with the day’s reading assignment still in my hand, fresh off the printer.

Post Author: Kayleigh Thesenvitz