The Libraries are supported by the taxes of the people of Spokane who expect each of our facilities to be clean, comfortable, and safe places for selecting materials, reading, researching, studying, writing, and attending programs and meetings.

To this end, the Library has policies to protect the rights and safety of Library patrons, volunteers, and staff, and for preserving and protecting the Library’s materials, equipment, facilities, and grounds. In addition, the Library has a strong commitment to intellectual freedom and to freedom of access to information.

 

Behavior standards

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Using the library

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Library materials

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Use of public spaces

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Policy on Internet, Computer, and Wireless Network Use

Adopted by the Board of Trustees on June 21, 1995, Revised March 22, 2000, January 16, 2002, March 16, 2004, November 15, 2006, December 18, 2012, and July 26, 2016. Latest revision effective February 18, 2013.

  1. General

    1. The Internet, as an information resource, enables the Library to provide
      electronic access to materials held by the Library and to materials and
      information beyond the confines of the Library’s own collection. The Internet
      offers access to a wealth of information that may be personally, professionally,
      and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages. It also offers access to
      materials that may be inaccurate, incomplete, offensive, disturbing, and/or illegal.
      The Library provides technology protection measures focusing on blocking
      obscene graphic images, child pornography, and images harmful to minors but
      does not guarantee their effectiveness.
  2. Policy

    1. Internet access at in-library computer workstations is provided to all registered
      Spokane Public Library customers.
    2. Just as with the physical collection, not all Internet sites are suitable for all ages.
      Therefore, the Library provides two levels of filtering: basic and enhanced.
    3. All library accounts, all in-library computer workstations, and the WiFi network
      are filtered at the basic level. The goal of basic level filtering is to restrict access
      to sites that are illegal, obscene, harmful to minors*, or that compromise
      computer or network security.
    4. Wireless Internet access is provided to all customers utilizing their own devices.
      People of all ages who use their personal devices to access the library wireless
      internet will be filtered at the basic leve
    5. Additionally, all library accounts for customers under the age of 13 are set to the
      enhanced filtering level. The enhanced filtering level blocks all of the same
      categories of information that are blocked with basic filtering plus other
      categories as necessary in order to conform to the Collection Development
      Policy for children’s materials.
    6. For both the basic and enhanced filtering levels, the Library will utilize categories
      provided by the filtering system that best match the Library’s intentions.
    7. A customer may request that an Internet site be blocked, or unblocked for
      “bonafide research or other lawful purposes”.** Staff will make every effort to
      unblock the site for that session and then the site will be reviewed within
      72 hours todetermine whether it should be permanently blocked or unblocked.
    8. All Library customers are expected to access the Internet in compliance with the
      Library’s Code of Conduct, and within the boundaries of the law. Viewing illegal
      materials (obscenity, child pornography, or materials harmful to minors) is
      prohibited. While using in-library computer workstations customers may not
      attempt to change program settings, boot from an external device, or try to run
      their own software. Violations may result in the loss of Internet privileges. Using
      the computer workstation constitutes an agreement by the user to these terms.
  3. Computer and Internet Safety

    1. The Library respects the rights and responsibilities of parents or guardians in
      determining and monitoring the use of the Internet by their children under the age
      of 18. Parents/guardians who do not want their minor children to have access to
      the Internet may request that their child be blocked from Internet access on
      library computers. The Library advises parents/guardians that it cannot assure
      children’s safety and security while using the Internet in the library. When
      children use social networks, electronic mail, chat, and other forms of direct
      electronic communication, the Library cannot protect against unauthorized
      access, including hacking, and other unlawful online activities. Furthermore, the
      Library cannot protect against unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of
      personal identification information regarding children if children provide such
      information while using the Internet.
    2. It is the responsibility of parents/legal guardians to monitor the Internet use of
      their minor children.
  4. Implementation

    1. Copies of the Internet Use Policy,
      and other relevant documents, will be available to the Library’s customers electronically
      via the Library’s web site.

*The Children’s Internet Protection Act defines “Harmful to minors” as: Any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that—(i) taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; (ii) depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or lewd exhibition of the genitals; and (iii) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors” (Secs. 1703(b)(2), 20 U.S.C. sec 3601(a)(5)(F) as added by CIPA sec 1711, 20 U.S.C. sec 9134(b)(f)(7)(B) as added by CIPA sec 1712(a), and 147 U.S.C. sec 254(h)(c)(G) as added by CIPA sec. 1721 (a)).

**Federal Communications Commission’s Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) Guide:
http://www.fcc.gov/guides/childrens-internet-protection-act

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Public Service Parameters

Purpose of Parameters

  1. To provide clarification and standardization of service to the public and to assist staff in providing equitable service from all facilities.
  2. To outline for library customers the limitations involved in delivering services so that expectations can be realistic.

Purpose of Parameters

  1. Telephone Reference:  Telephone Reference service is limited to information that is readily available, does not require extensive searching, and which may be accurately and effectively imparted over the phone. If an answer cannot be found in 5 minutes the customer will be called back as soon as possible. Limit of 3 requests: Staff will look up 3 addresses, 3 titles, or answer 3 questions at a time. The customer should wait until all pending questions have been answered before asking any other questions.
  2. Customer priority: In-person customers have priority. If an in-person customer and a phone customer are competing for attention, staff will ask the phone customer to hold. If it will take more than about 2-3 minutes, staff will take the name and phone number and call the customer back.
  3. Newspaper searches: If the request is for an obituary, classified ad, etc. and the customer does not know the exact date, staff will search 5 days of newspapers.
  4. Reading information: When a portion of a reference book or other material is to be read to the customer, a limit of 2 paragraphs should generally be set. If more information is needed, it will be suggested that copies be made for 5 cents per page.
  5. Copying and printing: Staff will copy and/or print up to 20 pages per day for a customer. Copies can be picked up, mailed or faxed. The charge and remittance instructions will be indicated on the cover sheet. Anyone owing more than $75.00 will not be eligible for this service.
  6. Personal care assistance: Staff are not permitted to act as personal attendants for customers unable or unwilling to perform routine tasks, including personal tasks, for themselves. Staff will show customers how to use equipment, but customers are expected to physically use the equipment themselves, or have someone with them who can perform such tasks. Staff will not compose reports, letters, resumes, etc. for customers.
  7. Reference questions: Staff will assist a customer in locating information and resources, but interpretation and usage of such information and resources is left up to the customer. If staff are unable to fully answer an in-person customer’s questions in about 10-15 minutes, the question will be written down and the customer will be called back with the requested information. Due to the specialized nature of the reference questions, staff are limited in the amount of service they are able to provide on the following topics:
    • Antiques, Art Work and Collectibles: Generally customers should be encouraged to visit the library if they want information concerning vintage or price of an antique, work of art, or collectible. Staff would then be able to instruct them in the use of various sources to check for values of plates, chairs, books, etc. It is possible over the phone to give the value of some items such as coins or stamps if the customer can specify the exact date and condition of the item.
    • Medical and Legal Questions: Staff will not give legal or medical advice or interpretation. Staff will inform customers of the available resources and will instruct in the use of the resources. Telephone reference will be limited to providing brief information from standard sources. The information will be read verbatim and the source given. Staff are unable to interpret any medical or legal information that is read over the phone. The same criteria listed in Parameter #4 applies to reading medical and legal information.
    • Mathematical and Technical calculations: Staff will provide formulas or equations needed to do a computation if found from an authoritative source. Staff must not do the computation since there may be a risk of error or misunderstanding.
    • Genealogy: Staff will show customers where different types of materials are located, how basic reference tools are used, and how to use equipment. Beginners interested in learning about genealogy research will be referred to introductory books on researching family history in the circulating collection and to the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. Customers with more advanced research questions will be referred to the appropriate books within the collection or to the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society.
    • Tax Information: Staff will not give tax advice. Customers will be referred to the volunteer tax assistance programs or the IRS.
  8. Computer assistance: Staff can only give brief individual assistance to customers using the library computers or their own personal equipment. Those customers who need more in-depth instruction are encouraged to attend the appropriate training class offered by the Library or to consult instructional materials owned by the Library.

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