I recently left the library feeling like an idiot which didn’t seem right so I thought I’d share my experience.

I needed to print out some graphic design work in color, and having never printed at Bird before (and wanting to make sure I printed to the right machine, etc.), I went up to the desk marked printing for assistance. The person behind the desk was on the phone, so I glanced through some of the available information (there was an overwhelming amount of one-sheets and flyers about all different types of printing, along with numerous printers of different sizes) to see if I could pinpoint what I needed. I wasn’t sure, so I waited for the clerk to get off the phone. But once they were off the phone they didn’t ask if I needed help, or ask me to wait a minute or anything — they just looked down at something they must have been working on. So I had to initiate the interaction. I asked my question and the clerk gave me a flyer and said I would need to go to this website and log in and then select the color printer from the list. Okay.

I went to a computer in the same general vicinity, logged in, found my document, logged into the printing website. This part seemed easy enough. I thought it had printed, but because I hadn’t heard any of the printers around me fire up, I went back up to the desk, thinking maybe I had to retrieve it there. I asked if it should have printed to one of these printers (indicating those around me). I was told plainly that it would print to wherever I had printed it to. Yeah. Okay.

I went back to the computer and sussed out that the color printer I had selected was labeled as “1A”. I then proceeded to look all around, probably looking like a moron, without the clerk saying anything. I saw 1B, 1C, but I couldn’t find 1A. They could very easily have said “oh there’s another printer across the way” or something. But finally I happened to look in that direction, and there it was, across the aisle: a sign reading “1A”, pointing straight down at a trash can. Now I get that you guys probably thought close enough, good enough (and you can laugh at me for this because I definitely laughed at myself) but I honestly walked right up to the sign and all around the pole thinking someone was playing a practical joke on me before I realized the sign was supposed to refer to the printer behind me. Maybe just get rid of the arrow?

Anyway, no document. I went all the way back to the computer I had logged in on and realized you can’t just select print from the program your document is in — you also need to select print from the website. So I did that, it printed, and all was good.

Now I’m sure “how to print at Bird” is all very neatly laid out somewhere, but how nice would it be if the site could tell it was your first time logging in and maybe offer step-by-step assistance without students having to look for it from a clerk who has clearly heard the same questions a thousand times? This was in the end a very brief experience, but more frustrating than it needed to be.

Thanks for reading.


Thank you for taking the time to write to us about your recent problems with printing. I apologize for the confusion and frustration you experienced. We could have done more to make it easier for you. I appreciate your detailed account, which will help us identify what we can do to improve.

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