Chat & E-mail policy on library computers. Chat, e-mail, gaming, and surfing have become a daily activity for many students. How does your library deal with these uses on your public access computers? Do you have policies regarding the specific use of library computers?
||In our library, we ask our student assistants to patrol the room every half hour to check screens/use, but they are often reluctant to enforce the rules on their fellow students.
||In our library, we have a percentage (most) of the computers dedicated to Research/library use only and a smaller percentage dedicated to “do your own thing” use. We label computers accordingly and have more strict time limits for open use computers. We do draw the line at pornography, otherwise we don’t much concern ourselves with what users are doing online.
||Neither I nor the student work-study staff are comfortable with the ethical and maybe legal implications of looking over the shoulders of computer users. If we set aside computers, or computer time, for personal rather than academic use, we need to look pretty closely at all computers and students for more than a few seconds to see what the computer activity is. It would be helpful to have information for training staff and students on what is allowable in monitoring use of computers and what is invasion of privacy, especially when dealing with legal adults, not children.
||At our library we have a small number of computers set aside for students to use and have set a time limit of 45 minutes per session, once a day. Accessing chat rooms, e-mail or any pornographic site is not allowed. The computers are set up in an area of the library where a staff member’s desk is located to monitor the computer usage. A list of guidelines for computer use is posted in the area and we require students to sign in when using one of the computers.