Managing Public Printers

The public printers in several College buildings have been printing millions of pages. In some situations, like the Davis Family Library, we have more than one printer assigned to an area. Yet, by setting a default printer for that area, the printer that’s set as default gets the brunt of the print jobs (i.e. millions of pages) which results in that printer failing sooner than expected. At the same time, the idea of having multiple printers was that they would load balance.

One way that we’ve approached this issue was by not setting a physical printer as the default printer. This forces the patron to have to choose which printer they’d like to print to. This has upsides (patrons may not choose the same printer, resulting in load balancing) and downsides (confusion).

Another way of solving the issue is to implement some smart print server-based load balancing that would take into account the load that one printer is having and automatically choose another printer, but that’s more far fetched.

We could however, easily, schedule an automatic change whereby every day a different printer is set as default. For example, on odd days, computers would print to LIB242, and on even days to LIB242K. This way we get automatic load balancing, and customers can get used to the same printer being default on set days.

Something to think about…