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Sunday, October 1, 2023


Print limit to be reevaluated

Students have been limiting their printing habits since the M.D. Anderson Library implemented a 500-page print limit in the fall.

The limit is part of an entire print-management system, and because there has been no previous experience with a printing limit, officials are still trying to find a happy medium, Program Director for Research and Reference Services Lee Andrew Hilyer said.

"Last fiscal year we had a budget of $150,000 for toner and printer paper, and we went over budget by about $28,000," Hilyer said. "This year it should be substantially less. It will be under budget this year."

Students need their CougarNet passwords to access the computers and their CougarOne cards to print in the library or in Central Site Computer Labs, Hilyer said.

If a student surpasses the limit his or her CougarOne card is charged 5 cents for single-sided printing and 7.5 cents for double-sided.

The limit was set at 500 pages because it was the amount the library staff found to be the average quantity students used, The Daily Cougar reported in September.

Before the system was put in place, students were often waiting in lines for printer queues because of people clogging the computers with print jobs, Academic Support Assistant Treva Anderson said.

"Students used to have to wait 30 minutes to an hour due to long print jobs," Anderson said.

When the limit was put in effect in September, library officials said the measure would help cut back on wasteful uses of paper and toner cartridges by individuals.

Less than 20 percent of the student body prints more than 500 pages, and the new system helps to use student resources more wisely, Hilyer said.

"We had some students and faculty print from 10,000 to 15,000 pages," Hilyer said.

Anderson estimates that the library has reduced paper usage by at least 50 percent.

With the money saved from the new system, Hilyer said he would like to install a color printer in the library.

Student reaction to the 500-page allocation has been mixed, as some said the limit should increase, while others said the amount was environmentally friendly.

Pre-nursing freshman Maureen Azagidi said she thought the allocation should be increased.

"In some classes you have to print a lot of pages and people can’t afford books," Azagidi said.

Some students agreed with the printing allotment.

"I think it’s a good limit, earth-wise," sports administration junior Jalyn King said.†"I don’t see the point of having more than 500 pages per semester."†

University Studies sophomore Neil Parikh†said the limit seemed fair enough.

"It is what it is," Parikh said. "The 500 pages are part of the $25 library fee that comes out of our tuition. If you need more, you can always pay for more."

Dean of University Libraries Dana Rooks said the limit was enacted to respond to student concerns about excessive printing, The Daily Cougar reported in September.

Hilyer said he would be in favor of raising the allocation for certain groups of students, if the library’s funds are under budget this year.

An internal committee of library staff, including Hilyer, will be formed to look at the allocation during the summer and decide if students need a higher limit.

"We had intended to look at the allocation in springtime, but we decided that we are going to wait until summer, since we are going to have a full year’s worth of data," Hilyer said.

Accounting junior Shabbir Tayyes, an academic support assistant at the library, said few students go over the limit.

"It’s not definite, but students ask for help maybe three to four times a week," he said regarding students who surpass the 500-page allocation.

Students who need more pages can always print in the Central Computing Site, located in the library basement, whose entrance faces the University Center, he said. Hilyer said the Central Site computer labs would give students an additional 500 pages and students also have the option to print from their individual colleges, Hilyer said.

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