As the new school year begins, New College’s library is installing a new system to allow students to print and copy with greater ease and efficiency.
In the past, students’ school ID cards were used for the copiers and printers at the library, paying with Hamilton “Ham” Center money. While in theory it is easier to use one card for every service on campus, issues arise when trying to use them in conjunction with use of electronics, such as library facilities.
“Over the years, we’ve had major issue with the cards because, number one, you can use your ID cards for the copier but what has happened is that the ID card is used for your meals (and other things on campus) and the other systems will often wipe out the formatting for the copier,” Cook Library Dean Brian Doherty said. “This year we’re moving to a system that will not use the ID card as a copy card, and our new copy card system will be a state of the art RFID [radio frequency identification] card.”
RFID is a technology that functions as a high-tech debit card for specific services. For example, many gas stations will hand out pre-paid cards that customers use to pay for gas, which are activated by a simple swipe or tap against a scanner.
“[RFIDs] seem to be a better proven technology,” Doherty explained. “The new system will also be able to take information from the current card system and put it on the new cards. The other piece of our new card system is that we charge 12 cents per page; for the new system, it will be ten cents per page.”
Each year, Cook Library loses approximately $10,000 on its current payment system and the lease for the current machines. After initial start-up, the yearly loss should be about $5,000. Doherty said he wishes that the $5,000 saved will be used to assist the students’ financial needs.
“We’re hoping to pass on those savings to the students,” Doherty said. “Another reason is that it’s easier to spend ten cents per page than 12 cents.”
A two-cent difference may not seem like much, but when midterms, finals and thesis deadlines come around and more and more sheets of paper are needed for schoolwork, it adds up quickly. Furthermore, because the card-purchasing machines take bills, it will be easier to approximate how many pages will be available with a given amount of money. One dollar will yield ten pages at ten cents each as opposed to fewer than eight-and-a-half pages.
Doherty encouraged students to come by the administrative office in the library if they have questions or suggestions. If he isn’t there, he assured that, during the day, there will always be someone in the office who should be able to answer questions.
The new card system will be introduced during the week of Sept. 19.