When I got home with a 4-inch stack of typed lecture notes at the end of last semester, and compared it to the 2-inch stacks of previous semesters, I exuberantly thought for a moment that I’d become a better note-taker. Then I realized the thicker stack wasn’t double-sided, unlike the others.
The truth is, I’m partial to typing up notes and printing them at the New Library, where ink, and sometimes lattes, are free.
This school year, the library updated its computers with new software. Unfortunately, printer settings were also revamped, and the option for double-sided printing was eliminated.
In the past, you could access “Printer Options” on any library computer and set the printer to automatically double-print pages for you.
It took a bit of maneuvering, and PrintSense always (unfairly!) counted pages by the number of sides printed.
But reduced paper usage and a lighter binder were the rewards.
Now, however, printer settings are mostly locked.
You can try printing “Odd Pages Only,” then manually loading those pages back into the feeder and printing “Even Pages Only.” But someone else’s pages will likely intervene, ending up on the backsides of yours.
I asked the librarians about this, but they had no idea the printers used to have double-sided printing capabilities. One even asked me if I was trying to outsmart PrintSense.
Because I was only printing a few pages at a time throughout the fall, it took me a while to become aware of the countless reams of paper lost to single-sided printing each day.
I constantly see students gathering freshly printed 50-page single-sided PDF documents, though I’m sure they would prefer to have the same material in packets half the size.
Maybe the double-sided printing option does exist hidden somewhere, and I’ve just overlooked it for a whole semester.
But if that’s the case, then the library should publicize instructions for double-sided printing. Even better, it could set double-sided printing as the default. Our school would save not only paper, but money as well.
It’s not just about being green and saving trees, although I’m sure this resonates with a lot of us.
It’s also about practicality and convenience – because less paper in our book bags means extra space for the latest (double-sided) copy of The Signal!