Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Question for You About WiFi

Before I get started, just let me say that I’m glad we have wifi in the library. I wouldn’t get rid of it even if I could. However, every once in a while a patron will come up to the desk looking for the thing they just printed from their laptop. I don’t think I astonish very easily, at least not about how people use computers, but I cannot wrap my head around the thought that there are people out there who think that all they need to do is push a button on their laptops and some printer out there at an unknown location, whose properties can only be guessed at, will automatically perk up at their summons, determine that it is the correct and only printer for the job, and print the document. Like Lassie finding Timmy at the bottom of the well and digging him out. Wait, not even that clear—at least Lassie knew Timmy.

So I had a Timmy-down-the-well printing experience today. A woman wanted to know where the print jobs came out. I took her over to the pay-to-print station and began walking her through the process like I do a dozen times each day. But there were no jobs on the print server. I asked her what number computer she was on. She told me that her computer did not have a number. She really hit the word “number” kind of hard. I could actually hear italics in her voice. It was as though she had said, "My computer doesn't smell," or "My computer doesn't have cancer." I started to explain that all of our computers had numbers. You can see where this one went, so I'll skip the dialog about determining that she hadn't been using one of our powerhouse computers.

She steadfastly refused to believe that our printer wouldn't print from her laptop. He printer at home, which she did not set up, prints just fine, therefore.... She wanted to talk to somebody about getting her document printed. I tried to be gentle, explaining that the wait for IT help was breathtakingly long. I tried to get her to email her document to herself and then pick it up on one of our computers and print it from there. She looked at me like I'd just told her to get up on the Reference Desk and do a little dance for me. She stalked off. Another satisfied customer.


Melinda said...

There actually is a way to print from home to the library...your library must not use it, though. the company is

I wonder how many libraries actually use such a service. *curious*

DeskSlave said...

That's pretty cool. Do you use it? Is it expensive?