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If you don't have access to a copy machine and can't beg a favor from someone who does, you can use public services. Depending on your location, you may have a few options, including public libraries, copy and office supply stores, and local colleges. Charges vary, depending on the service you use and the types of copies you want to make. Typically, you can use any public machine for a basic copy. Some services give you more options, such as access to different paper types, sizes and colors.
Public Libraries and Community Centers
Most public libraries have one or more copy machines. In some cases, these are cash-operated; in others, you buy a copy card or use a debit or credit card. Some small libraries or large ones with dedicated copy centers may require you to pay a member of staff for the copies you make. Some public libraries use copiers with card systems that only work with library membership cards. If you don't have access to a public library, you can sometimes find photocopiers in community centers.
Copy Centers and Stationery Stores
You can walk into any copy center and make photocopies. Typically, you use self-serve machines -- some offer USB and cloud printing -- or you can have the store do it for you if you need a lot of copies. You'll usually have a wider choice of paper types and colors than you find in a public library. If you don’t have a copy center nearby, check out independent stationery stores. They may have copy machines for public use or may make copies for you.
Office Supply and Business Services Stores
Many office supply stores offer copy and print services. Some operate self-serve machines; others make copies for you. Typically, you can walk in and pay for a single black-and-white or color copy of a document. Office supply stores may include options such as laminating and binding. Mailbox and business services stores are also good options -- these typically offer various walk-in office services and usually have copy machines.
Colleges and Universities
Most colleges and universities have copy machines in their libraries and in other areas on campus. In some cases, these may be located in public areas and you may be able to use them as a guest. If you live in a town with a college, you may be able to join its library and then use its copy services. You may have to pay a fee or give a donation to get a library card if you aren't a student or an employee.
Carol Finch has been writing technology, careers, business and finance articles since 2000, tapping into her experience in sales, marketing and technology consulting. She has a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages, a Chartered Institute of Marketing.certificate and unofficial tech and gaming geek status with her long-suffering friends and family.