Friday Five

Five… things that students do to Library equipment which we wish they wouldn’t:

5. Steal it

(Goes without saying really! Scissors, staplers, holepunchers… everything eventually wanders off. One of our sites has started numbering their staplers, which are tied to the Helpdesk. I think they’re currently on number 36. It’s not just the small items though; the same site had a thermal binding machine stolen last year; that’s quite a hefty bit of equipment so we have no idea how they got it passed the Helpdesk!)

4. Try to fix it themselves

(I find it quite entertaining when I come across a student trying to fix a jam in the printers; for one there’s the look of abject confusion on their faces as they realise this is nothing like their desktop printer at home, then I can make them jump about 3 feet by barking “what are you doing in that machine?!” and pointing out that most of the doors are padlocked and how were they going to get around that? Then there’s the look of begrudging respect when you pull out all of the innards of the machine revealing about 11 bits of paper in various places then put it all back together again in under 2 minutes. Top tip; always make sure you really emphasise how hot the fuser unit is, just to encourage them not to do it again. Hissing, shaking your fingers, gasping; let your inner thespian out!)

3. Put their Library card in it

(Our students are awful for this; sticking their Library card in anything that looks like it might take it, regardless of whether it’s supposed to or not. The photocopy card rechargers I can understand, but the note feeder on the print credit machines, really? We have a very useful little plastic stick called The Podger that gets deployed on these occasions; good old Podger)

2. Use it for purposes other than intended

(I wish I’d taken a photo of our laminating machine before we sent it off for repair. You know how laminators are supposed to take single sheets of paper in laminator pouches? Well someone had tried to put their entire dissertation through it. They’d already put it in a thermal binder, so had obviously got confused about which machine to use, but come on! It has a slot wide enough for a single sheet of paper, how did you manage to cram your dissertation in there?! Didn’t you think it seemed a bit strange?! Then there’s the Library at our arts campus which constantly has out-of-order photocopiers because the Tracey Emin wannabees keep trying to copy onto fabric, or put twigs and leaves on the glass to create silhouettes.)

1. Use it as a battering ram

(One time during exam season, when night opening is at its busiest, I came in to Supervise at 8am and was checking around the building only to find a massive dent in the wall at about the level of my head. The only thing we could surmise is that a student had either thrown a chair at the wall, or used one as a battering ram. Because that’s why we provide chairs, obviously. As weaponry.)

Please share your stories of the strange things student’s have managed to do to your equipment, if only to prove that students are the same the world over!


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