Library Behavior & Internet Usage

A. MAINTAINING A SAFE LIBRARY ENVIRONMENT

Because the St. Helena Public Library is used by hundreds of people every day, it is important to have a clear, common understanding of appropriate behavior at the Library. The essential behavior while using the St. Helena Public Library is to be considerate of others. The Board of Trustees has established the following rules of conduct for the comfort and protection of all who work in and use the Library.

  1. Any behavior that is dangerous to person or property is not permitted.
  2. Children under the age of seven must be attended by an adult or caregiver at all times. The caregiver must be at least 12 years old and sufficiently mature to supervise child(ren). Parents, not Library staff, are responsible for the behavior and safety of their children using the Library.
  3. Shopping carts, bicycles, skateboards, scooters or similar bulky articles may not be brought into the building. Baby strollers and those articles necessary to assist individuals who have disabilities are permitted.
  4. Shoes and shirts must be worn while on Library premises.
  5. Weapons of any kind are prohibited on library property. (California Penal Code Section 171b)
  6. Running, contact sports, climbing or swinging on furniture, standing on chairs, placing small children on tables or counters are all potentially hazardous to the individual and to property and, therefore, are not permitted.
  7. Smoking is not permitted.

B. MAINTAINING AN ENVIRONMENT CONDUCIVE TO LIBRARY USE

  1. Any behavior or activity that interferes Library user or staff comfort, safety, use or enjoyment of the Library is prohibited. This may include, but is not limited to, talking loudly, using abusive language, using personal listening or entertainment devices that disturb others, running, soliciting, emitting over-powering scents or odors; and game playing that disturbs others.
  2. Starring at, following, or photographing Library users or staff is prohibited. Photography is allowed when authorized by library staff.
  3. Harassment, verbal abuse, threats and fighting are prohibited.
  4. Conducting any type of for-profit business without authorization is prohibited.
  5. The solicitation of signatures or contributions for noncommercial or nonprofit purposes is not permitted except when authorized by the Library Director or designated staff.
  6. While cell phone use is permitted in the Library, it may be prohibited when it interferes with another person’s ability to use the Library.
  7. Food may not be consumed in the Library except when authorized by library personnel in specific locations. Drinks acquired inside the building or brought in from outside must be in an approved container with a secure lide. Food and drinks are not allowed in the California Room.
  8. Theft of or defacing library materials or other library property is against the law (California Penal Code Section 594).
  9. Service animals assisting the disabled and other companion animals are welcome in the library provided they are well-behaved, leashed (lead no longer than 6 feet), and do not impede the use of library facilities and services by others. Library staff reserves the right to ask that any animal be removed from the premises if its presence or behavior is interfering with the comfort of others in their use of library services.
  10. Use of public restrooms for bathing and/or laundry and use of other public areas for personal grooming is prohibited.

C. INTERNET WORKSTATION POLICIES

The Library promotes responsible use of the Internet and of its computer workstations by the following:

  1. Each library customer is entitled to one (1) hour at a Library Internet workstation per day.
  2. Behavior that will interfere with another person’s concentration when using computer workstations is prohibited. Such behaviors include, but are not limited to: loudly conversing with others, using cell phones inappropriately, switching computers frequently, playing in the computer area and climbing or standing on furniture.
  3. Workstation use is limited to one person per workstation except in special circumstances.
  4. Library staff has the right to restrict the length of time any individual may use Internet workstations, particularly when others are waiting to use them. Customers using services not supported by the Library such as chat and games may be asked to give up their workstations if others are waiting.
  5. Unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, juveniles ages 17 and under are required to use Children’s Room and Teen Room Internet workstations. Parents are responsible for directing and guiding their children’s use of the Internet.

D. ACCEPTABLE USES OF INTERNET WORKSTATION

The following is a list of acceptable uses:

  1. Research using the Web and Internet.
  2. Accessing the Library (aka SNAP) materials catalog.
  3. Doing word processing, spreadsheets and presentations (OpenOffice).
  4. Accessing email via Web-based services.

Our workstations have had their operating systems secured to reduce the need for technical support which inevitably comes from providing public access to PCs. Software installed on our machines includes an Internet browser, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software (OpenOffice).

Our Internet workstations have the following limitations:

  1. Documents cannot be saved to the PCs hard drive. We can provide floppy disks for document saving to the floppy drive by users at the nominal cost of $1 each. USB storage devices will also work.
  2. Listening to audio (e.g. MP3 files) is not available on our machines.
  3. Due to the nature of the Internet, services apart from those for which our machines are designed may be available; e.g. chat, playing games, streaming video & audio and so on. These are not library-supported or controlled.
  4. Staff assistance for the public in the use of Internet workstations is necessarily limited. We are not experts in the use of every piece of software on our machines. Neither do we know all of the software used across the Internet; e.g. the many Java applets in use on Web sites. As staff we will help you to the best of our abilities, but responsibility for using and learning how to use Internet workstations ultimately rests with the user. Training opportunities in the use of email, word processing, searching on the Internet and understanding microcomputers have been offered in the past and will continue to be offered when instructors are available.

E. UNACCEPTABLE USES OF INTERNET WORKSTATIONS

The following is a list of unacceptable uses:

  1. Viewing material that violates federal, state or local laws or regulations, including those regarding accessing, viewing, printing and distributing obscenity or child pornography.
  2. Sending, receiving, or displaying text or graphics which contain extremes of sex or violence that are an end to themselves.
  3. Using computers to gain access to the Library’s network or computer systems or to any other restricted network or computer system.
  4. Using computer accounts, access codes, or network identification numbers without authorized permission.
  5. Violating copyright laws or licensing agreements pertaining to software, files, and other resources obtained electronically.
  6. Violating another user’s privacy.
  7. Attempting to alter software configurations or to cause degradation of system performance.
  8. Engaging in any activity which is deliberately and maliciously offensive, libelous, or slanderous.
  9. Installing or downloading any software.
  10. Disrupting or interfering with network users or services. Such interference or disruption includes, but is not limited to: distribution of unsolicited advertising, harassment of others, propagation of computer worms or viruses, randomly initiating interactive electronic communications, and overuse of interactive network utilities.
  11. Tampering with, destroying or damaging equipment, software or data belonging to the Library.

F. FILTERING

By default St. Helena Public Library does not filter adult Internet workstations but does use filtering software on Teen Room and Children’s Room computers. You may also enable filtering at adult machines if you choose to.

G. PRINTING

Printer copies from public computers are available for 10 cents per page.

H. PRIVACY OF INFORMATION

We recommend against entering private or personal information on any public Internet workstation. This includes entering such things as logins and passwords for bank accounts, stock brokerage accounts, commercial vendor accounts and the like. We do not, and cannot, guarantee the privacy of any such information entered on a public workstation. Our machines are meant to be used for research purposes and not as means of conducting personal or corporate business. The USA Patriot Act (2001) also affects the privacy of library records.

I. WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS

  1. Our policies for public Internet workstations apply to wireless users as well.
  2. The Library does not provide support or advice in getting your personal laptop enabled for wireless service. Please contact your service provider if you need help.
  3. We are pleased to offer wireless Internet access to library users. However, be advised that wireless service is not considered a “mission critical” library service. Our limited technical support time will always be focused first on our online system and second on public Internet access through our library workstations. We cannot guarantee wireless service will always be available when the library is open. Please inform us if you believe the service is down. There is no support for wireless service on weekends. Wireless service is only available during Library hours.
  4. The St. Helena Public Library does not filter our wireless router.
  5. Our wireless Internet is a shared service. The current size of the “pipe” is 254K and is shared by all persons using wireless in the Library.
  6. One user accessing streaming video or audio or playing bandwih2h intensive games will have an adverse effect on other users. We request wireless users restrain themselves from the use of video or audio streaming and from the playing of online games. Our Internet connection at the Library is meant for research and informational purposes. It is not meant for entertainment or gaming.
  7. Entering private or personal information on any public Internet workstation or wireless network is not recommended. This includes entering such things as logins and passwords for bank accounts, stock brokerage accounts, commercial vendor accounts and the like. We do not, and cannot, guarantee the privacy of any such information entered on a public workstation or a wireless connection. Our Internet access is meant to be used for research purposes and not as means of conducting personal or corporate business.
  8. Printer access when connected to our wireless network is not available.

J. ENFORCEMENT OF RULES

The Library Director and his/her designated staff are authorized to interpret these rules in accordance with applicable law and to ensure appropriate behavior of all persons in the Library facilities. Persons found to be violating these rules will be asked to discontinue that activity. If they continue, they may be asked to leave the library facility. If they refuse, police assistance may be sought by Library staff.

Updated by Library Board Resolution January 2006.