Use of library computers

In accordance with its mission to help customers realize their self-directed learning, academic and personal development goals, Auburn Public Library provides public access to personal computers. These are located in the Reference Area, Young Adult Area, Children’s Department, and Computer Lab. The library’s public access computers are equipped with basic productivity or educational software.

Internet access is available in the Reference Area only. For policies regarding internet access via the library’s public computers, see the Internet Acceptable Use Policy.

General Regulations

The Library provides access to computers for use by the general public on a first-come, first-served basis.

To ensure access by the broadest possible number of people to the Library’s limited number of computers, standard daily time limits may be applied. These will be applied equally to all patrons.

Customers will be charged a fee for each page they print. These charges must be paid at the end of each use session. Customers may provide their own 8 ½ x 11 paper if they wish, but must still pay the standard printing fee.

The Library is not responsible for work saved to the hard drive of any library computer. Customers should save their work to a floppy disc or zip drive. Floppy discs may be purchased at the circulation and reference desks.

Customer requests and recommendations for new software for library computers may be submitted to the head of the Reference and Children’s Services Departments. These requests will be evaluated on an annual basis.

Restricted Activities

Library computers are configured to restrict certain activities. These restrictions protect the security of the Library’s computer network and help ensure all customers of a comfortable and productive working environment.

The following activities are restricted:

  • Loading software onto a library computer through an external drive
  • Downloading software onto a library computer via an internet connection
  • Opening certain attachments

In addition, Library customers may not:

  • Damage or attempt to damage computer equipment or software
  • Interfere with the Library’s computer systems operations, integrity or security
  • Sit more than one person to a computer (although exceptions to this may be allowed if circumstances warrant)

For additional restrictions regarding the use of computers offering public internet access, see the Internet Acceptable Use Policy.

Misuse of library computers may lead to suspension of library computer privileges.

Levels of Assistance

Library staff will provide varying levels of one-on-one customer assistance in the use of library computers, with the greatest time and emphasis placed on the research and information retrieval activities most central to the Library’s mission.

In-depth: Library staff will provide in-depth assistance as needed to patrons in the use of standard sources of online information, such as library online catalogs; library online databases; library educational software; internet databases; and internet search engines and indexes.

Brief tutorial: Library staff will provide patrons with standard “5-minute tutorials” on how to navigate online websites using Microsoft Explorer; how to print all or parts of a web page; and how to set up a free email account.

For those needing additional or remedial assistance in these areas, the Library may offer occasional or regular classes on these topics. Or, as time allows, library staff may provide additional one-on-one assistance by appointment.

Limited: The productivity applications and online services available through library computers and their internet connections today are numerous, varied and, in many cases, extremely complex. Individual library staff members can not become expert in all of them. Therefore, library staff members are not expected to provide in-depth assistance in the use of various productivity applications (such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.), nor in the use of various online services (such as eBay, Travelocity, Priceline, etc.). Nor can library staff take time away from primary responsibilities to teach remedial computing skills such as keyboarding or mouse handling.

While individual staff members may provide some assistance as time and their individual expertise allows, patrons needing in-depth assistance in these areas will generally be referred to sources of additional information or instruction, such as online help, printed manuals, and/or local adult education classes.

Similarly, patrons using their own laptops are responsible for configuring their own access to the Library’s wireless internet service. Library staff are not trained and are not expected to engage in technical troubleshooting of patrons’ laptops when for some reason those laptops are unable to connect to the wireless service.

Privacy

The privacy of customers using library computers is protected under the terms of the Library’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policy.

Use of Library Laptops

Since the location of the Library’s public computers is not always conducive to the needs of patrons caring for a baby or toddler, the Library makes available a limited number of laptop computers (with wireless internet access) for use in the Children’s Room by adults who have a baby or young child with them.

These computers may be borrowed in the children’s room. They are available for use by the public according to this general Use of Library Computers policy, with the following additional conditions:

The patron must:

  • Have a baby or young child in their care
  • Keep that baby or child under their direct, active supervision while they use the laptop
  • Have a valid APL/LPL card in good standing
  • Present a valid picture ID
  • Leave their picture ID at the reference desk until they return the laptop
  • Return the laptop within the two hour time limit
  • Sign a liability form

The patron may not take the laptop outside the Children’s Room.

 The Library Computer Lab

The primary purpose of the Library Computer Lab is to host computer training sessions. Sessions conducted by the Library’s staff or volunteers will have first priority, followed by sessions conducted by non-library groups.

In no case will the total number of people admitted to a computer class exceed the legal occupancy limit established for the room.

When the Computer Lab is not being used for training, its computers will be available for use by individual members of the general public. Whenever possible, scheduled class times will be posted to give individual users advance notice of when the computers in the lab will not be available.

Patrons should not be in the computer lab unless they are attending a class or actively working at a computer.

No food or drink of any kind is allowed in the Computer Lab.

Library Computer Classes 

In line with its mission to help members of the community learn how to make effective use of online information resources, the Library may offer free computer classes in the areas of:

  •  internet search techniques
  • library database use
  • use and features of common web browsers
  • basic e-mail use

The Library generally does not provide classes in the use of computer productivity applications (e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.) or commercial online services (e.g. eBay, Travelocity, Priceline, etc.), but in some cases it may allow outside agencies to conduct such classes.

Instructors of library computer classes may include qualified library staff members or volunteers, or vendor representatives demonstrating specific databases. Outside instructors will develop and produce their own class-related teaching materials. The Reference Department will schedule and publicize library computer classes and will keep appropriate statistics. Classes may be evaluated.

Library computer classes will generally be open to the public and will be promoted through the Library’s usual publicity outlets. Maximum attendance limits may be set for some classes. Advance registration may be required in some cases and will generally be accepted via telephone or in person.

Groups planning to attend a library computer class should notify the Library in advance. The same is true for anyone with special needs.

In some cases, the Library will schedule by appointment a special class for a group. In general, such classes will be scheduled for a single group or agency no more than two (2) times each month. Requests for such classes should be submitted to the Library no less than two (2) weeks in advance.

Use by Outside Groups

The Library Computer Lab is available for use by outside groups under the terms and conditions defined under the Library’s Meeting Rooms Policy, with the following exceptions:

  •  The Library Computer Lab is available for computer training sessions only.
  •  No food or drink of any kind is allowed in the computer lab.
  •  The computer lab may be reserved by outside groups for use during library hours only, and training sessions should end no later than one half hour before closing.
  •  The furniture, fixtures, and equipment in the Library Computer Lab may not be rearranged.
  •  Applicants seeking to reserve the room for outside use who will require any hardware, software, or configuration changes to the lab’s equipment must consult with the Library about these changes before filing an application. The Library does not guarantee that requests for such changes can or will be accommodated.

For additional details, consult the Library’s Meeting Rooms Policy.