Friday, November 13, 2009

Hard Copy

This week I need to produce several dozen copies of two different documents. Normally this isn't a big deal--all I have to do is make sure that there's paper in the printer downstairs and hit Print-- but our printer is on the fritz. I don't have time to quarterback the problem, so I decided to go to the local copy center and use their copy machines. One problem...I needed to have a good original to put on the machine! After thinking about it for a while, I came up with an easy solution. Today I used the printing system at the local branch of the county library.

I use the library's computers for Internet access most days on my way to work. I log on using my library card number, (which, sadly, I don't have memorized, so I have to pull the card out of my wallet each time), check my e-mail, read a couple of blogs, and sign off. Although I knew there are some basic Microsoft programs installed on the computers, I've never had to use them. They came in very handy for today's project.

My first issue was how to access the documents. I e-mailed the files to myself, so it was easy to retrieve them via the Internet. I opened the Word documents, and got ready to print them. The library's print menu was pretty much like it would be at home, with one additional step. I had to "name" my file so I could identify it when I went to the shared printer. I downloaded both of the documents and sent them to the printer, then logged off my computer. After asking a volunteer who didn't know what I was talking about, I found the printing station centrally located by the checkout desk.

The printer was next to another computer terminal, and connected to a change machine. Fortunately, there were directions predominantly posted. The first step was to log in with your library card number (so I had to pull out my card out of my purse again). That brought up a screen with a queue showing the documents I had sent to be print. I highlighted both documents, inserted the appropriate amount of money in the change machine next to the printer, then clicked "Print". The laser printer hummed for a few seconds, then spit out one of my two documents. Then it went silent.

Where was the other document? It didn't show up on the queue screen anymore, and there were no librarians around to ask for help. I figured the fastest way to resolve the problem was to return to the first computer, pull up my e-mail again, and resend the document to the printer. Of course that meant finding my card a third time, and then a fourth when I returned to the printing station. However, this time the document was there and printed easily.

With documents in hand, I drove to my local chain office supply store, where I printed my things on cardstock and decorative paper. They looked great. Another problem solved

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