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My original post:

*Our high school library has a copy machine where we charge ten cents a page
for students to make copies.  We also have a printer which is connected to
the library computers where there is no charge to make copies. Can anyone
recommend a way to limit or control the number of "free" copies students can
make on the printer connected to the computers?

*Below please find responses which I received; many were similar so only
some are listed.  Thank you to everyone who responded -I see I am not the
only one with this problem!

The best thing I did was to put the main printer on my desk.
Kids are somewhat inhibited since they know they have to pick up their
printouts at my desk.
Also, if the printer begins to hum repeatedly, I check the print queue.
If they have printed too many pages, I cancel the job.
And I preach print preview all the time.

If I see students printing a lot of papers, I ask them why.  If it is for an
assignment, I ask for the teacher so I can visit with him/her and
double-check.  (that way they can't just say "assignment" when it isn't).
 If they are printing for something that isn't a class, I charge them 10
cents just like if they used the copier or if they don't want to do that, I
simply gather the papers up.  The only time I do this is if I notice they
are printing more than 5-10 sheets of paper at a time or if I notice they
are coming in all the time to print.  I had one student earlier in the year
who printed off over 50 pages from a site where you can buy magic cards.
 For him, I told him to buy a package of printer paper from Walmart and give
me back my 50 sheets.  I also tell them that with budget cuts, if they
continue to abuse the privilege, the computer printer will be removed.

We allow 5 "Free" pages on our black and white circulation printer if
they are for school use.  We just tell the students that any over that
will be 10 cents.  We ask them to notify us before printing, so this is
usually discussed then.  We also charge 10 cents if the information
they print is for non-academic use all the time.

A few low-tech solutions:
Move printers closer to check out desk.
Put up a sign that says "Please ask before printing multiple copies." or
"Please ask before printing over 3 pages."
Don't keep paper in the printer, and let students come request what they
need for the sheet feed.
Make a sign that reminds people to Be Mindful of the Environment (or
whatever might stir them to think twice before printing.)
When I hear our printer "whirring" I walk over and see who's printing the
big job and make a comment.  Many times they don't know how to select a
portion to print.  At the very least, if they are printing 20 copies of
Happy Birthday Big Dog for someone's locker, I can press cancel.

We had to start charging for our computer printouts this year.  Fortunately,
the printer is at the circulation desk and we can monitor it.  We charge 10
cents for every page that is printed out.  So far there hasn't been too much
grumbling.....I guess the students are like us, just use to everything going

If the students have to log into the computers with a student account, the
Tech department can put limits on their printing.  Our district restricts
them to 7 pages a day.

For what it's worth, we do not charge students to print work from computers
when it is related to school. Personal items we charge for. Since we have
the printer behind the counter we at least can monitor the output. An
exception to not charging for school related work is if a student pays no
attention to page count (when printing a Web document) or fails to revise
writing well enough and ends up printing a multitude of increasingly better
copies. Then we charge.
We also do not charge to make copies at our copier. It is a lot cheaper than
buying a book to replace the one with the pages torn out.

Guardian might be the name of one program- 10 copies per name per day per
computer was the way it worked- we put it in after we found about a ream of
paper made into invitations to a baby shower. I

I have a similar rule with ten cents per page, but I do that only for
"notes" (work missed because they were absent). It might be difficult to
limit the actual printer print out. I have it stated in the handbook
"print only what you need". You can also make signs, and verbally let
them know that excessive printing may limit printing for them and
others. With that said, being a public school where students need to do
papers, and all teachers want them word processed, it can almost be like
opening a can of worms. I would talk to teachers at their next
in-service and stress that the printing is getting out of hand (it might
be easier for the teachers to talk to their students since you see so
many in a day). I would then request some sort of "mandatory" scheduled
library time for each class and go over the printing rules with each
class, have it in writing and have each student sign; perhaps something
like "printing of entire WebPages is not necessary to get the research
needed for your paper, rather highlight the selected text, and print
selection. I know many colleges have "pay per page" with printers that
will only take cards, but that's college, and high school, especially
public, where the situation is a bit different. That's my two cents, and
good luck.

Our printer is behind the library checkout counter.  Students are not
allowed back there.  Only teachers or library personnel can access the
prints.  Now, I just put them out on the front counter for students or into
a special tray if they are for teachers.  People print from all over.
Students have laptops.  It would be easy for us to charge for printed
papers, but the administration doesn’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers, so
we give them freely.

A way I cut down on "free copies" or printing in my library is keeping the
printer out of paper. No paper, they have to ask, which then makes me able
to see what they are printing and therefore I do not get 20 pictures of
Justin Beiber randomly printed wasting my paper.

We do the same, except that we charge 10 cents a page for anything that is
not personally typed by the student.  This limits the endless downloading of
reams of stuff from the internet.  We also charge for pictures - again 10
cents.  When I first came here, I thought it would be a problem, but really,
it is not.

I allow each student to print ten pages free, then charge 5 cents (although
I might raise it to 10) a page after that.  As Regents and other exams loom
closer, I might allow students 10 free pages a week, depending on demand.

Here's what we do, and it works great for us.  We have several databases
(Gale Group, EBSCO Host, etc.), and if the students print from these, we
don't charge them at all.  If they choose to Google search and print from
the Internet, they get 5 pages free, and then it's 15 cents per page.  This
encourages them to take the extra time to learn to use the databases to get
valid information versus using Wikipedia,, etc.
We have a copier, and we charge 10 cents per copy, except when we have
classes doing research in the library.  Then, within reason, (up to 20 or so
pages) we don't charge them for copies.  This helps keep them from ripping
out pages of our books!  Copies of outside information we charge 10 cents
per page.
We have a color printer, and we charge 25 cents per page all the time on it
because the cartridges are so expensive, and students will print things for
their personal use.

Leah Moskovits, Librarian
Torah Academy of Bergen County
Teaneck, New Jersey

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