Sno-Isle Libraries is making significant improvements to the public computers, printers and copiers used by thousands of customers
“Starting this month, we are rolling out changes at all 23 community libraries that will make the experiences using public computers, printing and copying much better,” said Rebecca Loney, Director of Technical Services for Sno-Isle Libraries.
It will all start with two changes regarding public computers.
First, all public computers will be upgraded to Windows 10.
Second, it will be easier and faster to get on a computer during the busiest usage times.
“Usually, a customer can walk in and get a computer or laptop right away,” Loney said. “We expect that level of immediate access will continue, however, during peak usage times, customers will be able to add their name to a queue and then get the next available computer.”
During non-peak hours, customers will be able to extend their session time right from the computer rather than having to ask a library staff member. During peak usage periods, customers will still get a guaranteed minimum on a computer, but the time extension feature will be disabled to ensure more customers can have access to computers.
The biggest changes may be what’s coming for printing and copying.
First, customers will be able to print from anywhere and from any computer.
“To use a printer now, a customer has to use a library computer that can access the printer,” Loney said. “The new service allows customers to print from their own devices, whether they are in the library or not.”
The new system includes a web portal. Customers will be able to login to the portal and send print jobs to a queue at any public printer/copier in the Sno-Isle Libraries system. The print job will be held at that printer/copier until the customer arrives, scans their library card and releases the printing.
Customers will receive a $7 a week printing credit, which equates to the current 70 black & white copies at 10-cents a copy available at no-charge each week. Under the new system, the $7 credit will cover both black & white and color with color copies charged at the current 50-cents-a-copy rate.
Once the $7 weekly limit is reached, paying for additional copies will be easier, too. The new system will accept credit/debit cards as well as cash. For cash customers, the system will give back change. Print customers who may have a credit under the current system will be eligible for refunds.
In addition, all this printing and copying will come from the same machine.
“Today’s machines can do both functions,” Loney said. Moving to the new multi-functional equipment will free up some floor space in the libraries and give customers one place to go for both needs. “In many community libraries, the printer is in one location, but if you want to also make a copy, that’s a different machine in a different location.”
One more thing, customers will be able to print in color and black & white at the same time. The new system is designed to distinguish which pages in a print job have color and then charge the higher rate only for the color pages.
“Providing equal access to technology is a core service for Sno-Isle Libraries,” Loney said. “Sno-Isle Libraries is continually looking to improve the library experience for our customers and these upgrades reinforce that commitment. We aren’t changing just to change, we’re improving to better serve our customers and communities.”