Pilot Tests Laptop Printing

Library inhabitants frantically typing to meet paper deadlines may soon be surprised to find themselves with a few extra minutes on hand.

Lamont Library launched a pilot program that allows users to print directly from their laptops last week. Before, students could only print documents on library printers after transferring their them to a Lamont desktop.

In order to take advantage of the program, students and others FAS affiliates must first install PaperCut, a printing interface that charges users five cents a page to print.

Non-FAS affiliates can also download Pharos Mobile to print for 10 cents a page.

The service is currently set up on two printers, one located outside the Lamont Cafe and the other near the reference desk on Level B.

If the pilot program is successful, Information Technology Services will set up printing from laptops in other Harvard College libraries.

The initiative has been in the works for six months, according to Harvard College Library spokeswoman Beth Brainard.

“When printers were set up 10 years ago, laptops just weren’t so prevalent,” she said. “With the growing number of laptops it just makes sense to let students print from their laptops.”

But students studying in Lamont did not seem to be aware of the pilot program.

“I assumed it was already possible,” said Wei L. S. Dang, a graduate student at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

At least a few students have been using the service this week.

“I haven’t seen anyone print, but the last time I checked we had 15 uses,” said ITS support staff member Fegens Alexis.

Brainard said that the pilot program was set up in order to work out the details of the service on a smaller scale before making it available in other libraries.

The price of printing, for example, was listed online at seven cents per page for the last week. But when librarians were notified that it costs five cents per page to print at the Science Center, the price of printing in Lamont was also lowered to five cents.

“This is why we pilot programs like this before we roll them out library-wide,” Brainard said. “It gives us the opportunity to work out the kinks.”

Directions on how to download PaperCut and Pharos Mobile are available on the Lamont Library Web site, and “Printing from a Personal Laptop in Lamont Library: A How to Guide,” is available at the reference desk.