Printing wait time for first week of semester rises 200 percent
Adam Fries paid for one order of printouts on three separate occasions. Each time he went to Lockwood Library, a printer was down. When the graduate business student returned to the library three hours after attempting to print for the third time, he discovered what he needed still had not been printed. The next day he discovered “mountains” of printouts from the previous day – all out of order.
He said his printouts were still nowhere to be found.
Students have experienced longer wait times than usual for printouts at university libraries this semester. There was a 200 percent increase in printing time during the first week of the spring semester compared to an average first week of a semester, according to Donald Stein, UBIT Customer Support Analyst in Enterprise Infrastructure Services.
Fries is concerned about the long wait times considering all students pay for a $30 printing quota.
“[This] is unfortunate considering I pay tuition that is supposed to give me $30 worth of printing, which is basically as useless as a fax machine in the 21st century,” Fries said.
Stein said the clusters of students rushing to print out their syllabi and other semester coursework have created long printing queues throughout the university’s libraries.
“The first days of the semester see an unusually high volume of printing,” Stein said. “On an average day, it is usually less than 15 minutes.”
Students release documents from library computers and designated print stations. Printing consultants take the documents from the printers and organize them alphabetically by UBIT name for students to pick up.
Stein said UB meets and usually beats their 30-minute printing turnaround target 95 percent of the time. He said last semester, UBIT printed more than 2 million pages over the course of one week and last year, provided more than 21 million pages in print jobs to students.
Some students still feel the print turnaround times at the beginning of this semester are unacceptable.
Jessica Harms, a senior civil engineering major, waited two and a half hours for her documents to be printed during the first week of the spring semester.
“It was confusing because there were people going up there, getting their stuff and leaving [but] then my [documents] never came out,” Harms said.
Ajinkya Lonikar, a graduate mechanical engineering major who works as an IT consultant in Capen’s Oscar A. Silverman Library, said the busiest time of the library is between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. He also said print jobs are usually done in 5-10 minutes during normal weeks of the semester.
Stein said printing times fluctuate based on demand. The trends in printing are monitored and printing capacity is scaled to the average demand. He said when students come into the libraries during the first week to print most of their coursework, it places stress on the printing service.
Stein said if students only printed the documents they truly need, printing services would be improved.
Some students said they think the longer wait time is due Capen Hall no longer being open 24 hours a day – creating an influx of students printing at Lockwood. Lockwood has replaced Capen as UB’s only 24-hour library due to the Heart of the Campus renovations, which will close the third floor until at least November.
“Because of the renovations they’re doing on third floor of Capen, now that Lockwood is 24/7 everyone is going there to print, so that makes a bigger problem,” said Ivan Chao, a junior communication major.
Some students have found ways around the printing delays.
Sagar Ghare, a graduate supply chain management major, said he has waited more than four hours to receive his printouts. He usually goes to the Health Sciences Library on South Campus because the number of people printing on South Campus is low compared to North Campus libraries.
Kevin Chen, a senior business major, sometimes prints in color when lines are long because he said color printouts tend to come out faster.
Fries said he now does all his printing at home to avoid the hassle of waiting in the line at the library.
Delays vary by site and can range from just 5 minutes to more than 24 hours, according to the UBIT website. Despite the long turnaround times at the beginning of this semester, Stein said that UB’s printing times have “dramatically improved” over the past 10 years.
Justina Virga, a senior political science and English major, said UB should remedy the printer time wait issues by adding more printers to the library. The first floor of Silverman library has eight printers, while the second floor or Lockwood has four printers – two for color and two for black and white.