Maddie Phelps ’19

If you’ve attended Staples High School for more than one day, you’ll know one thing to be true about the Library Media Center: there are rules upon rules upon rules. The no eating policy is one that just drives kids crazy as it is nearly impossible to hide from the librarians that are seemingly ubiquitous. One crunch of a Dorito in your backpack, and both you and your snack will be sent out of those library doors in a matter of seconds. What’s even more consequential than a lost snack is a bad grade that could’ve been easily avoided. Another one of the LMC’s rules can be responsible for that “minus 10 points for being late” scribbled on the top of your essay. This rule states that  a student can print a maximum of 20 pages a day; a policy that seems somewhat unfair to students

My printer at home is incredibly unreliable and is almost never able to carry out its only function, and for students like me who often rely on the printers Staples provides, this rule limiting the amount of pages a student can print in a day seems unjust. Because of schedules stacked with AP classes and heavy workloads, it is not uncommon for 20 pages of an essay or notes to be due in one day.

While I’ve never been restricted from printing everything I’ve needed in a day, I’m only a sophomore, meaning the overwhelming workload is just around the corner in junior year. But for the students enveloped in taxing classes and other demanding courses, being denied the right to print all of your work at school is simply wrong. Things like unexpected power outages, jammed and stubborn printers that stop working without a known cause happen all the time. The students who rely on the library’s printer don’t deserve points off for their inability to print. And not to mention, handing in an assignment late often has a detrimental impact on your grade. Students often put everything into their assignments as certain essays or papers require nothing short of blood, sweat and tears in order to be created and perfected. To lose points on something you couldn’t control, like a faulty printer, is a student’s absolute worst nightmare.

Of course, the librarians have ample explanations to justify their reasoning as to why they limit the amount of pages we can print in a day. To be fair, the biggest reason why the library has this restriction is to prevent students from printing items consisting of hundreds of pages, like the endless DMV driver’s manual or infinite fliers to post all over town. This logic is reasonable, as it saves more paper for kids who desperately need to print schoolwork the morning an assignment is due. But, students who actually need to print school-related papers should have the right to do so, regardless of page count. So, if librarians and students want to keep things on better terms, giving students permission to print all schoolwork that would overrule that printing restriction would definitely be a good start.

The librarians’ efforts to conserve paper to save trees are certainly positive ideas, but from the eyes of an average Staples student, putting a limit of 20 pages in one day is a bit unreasonable. Just think of it this way: a bright morning can easily turn into one filled with panic, as a student comes to the haunting realization that their research paper (the one they’ve been working on for months) will be handed in a day late since their printer at home is completely jammed. Automatic minus 10 points. Automatic day full of sadness and grief. This could be prevented, of course, if only there was a little more leniency when it comes to printing at the LMC. That’s just a little something for our librarians to think about.  

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