When you go to the Fremont Library, the staff can help you find a website or computer program, but they cannot enter your personal information into anything for you.
This is part of a new policy designed to protect patron privacy and help the library avoid potential liability.
Members of the Keene Memorial Library Advisory Committee discussed this and another policy regarding the use of public wireless internet at their recent meeting. Other libraries have these types of policies and the committee members endorsed them both.
Library manager Laura England-Biggs told council members that some customers wanted staff to fill out forms for them.
Board member Ryan Fiala asked if this was an unusual circumstance. England-Biggs said this happens about 20% of the time.
Now, the Staff Customer Support Policy outlines how far an employee can go when assisting a customer with information or research.
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“They should not capture personally identifiable information from individuals in job applications, credit card applications, etc., in order to limit the library’s liability and protect customer privacy,” England said. Biggs.
Library staff can help patrons find data and use technology, but library patrons must enter their own information.
This way, for example, users cannot say that they have not found a job, because a member of the library staff has entered their data incorrectly.
Library staff also cannot type documents or format items such as flyers, invitations, or business documents.
The policy states that library staff cannot offer advice on medical, legal, tax, or other professional services. They can only help customers find information about these services and cannot recommend a specific service provider.
Patrons should not share personal, private, or financial information with staff members except to pay library fees.
Library staff cannot physically handle a patron’s personal technology device, such as a cell phone. This way, for example, a customer cannot tell that a member of staff broke their phone. Staff members can tell customers how to find an app on a phone, but device owners must physically perform the task themselves.
Board Chair Linda McClain asked about people with disabilities.
England-Biggs said if individuals have a disability they can bring someone with them to complete the task.
Members also talked about the library’s wireless Internet (WiFi) networks.
Library staff WiFi is on a single network, which is secure. Patron information on the library network is secure.
Yet, like other businesses, the library also offers free public Wi-Fi.
This WiFi is filtered to comply with the Child Internet Protection Act.
“But it’s not secure WiFi and therefore you shouldn’t do a lot of personal finance using WiFi,” England-Biggs said.
This is because in theory, someone with certain software could hack into a customer’s device and obtain their data.
“We need to make people aware that there are limits to what our security can and cannot do,” England-Biggs said.
McClain compared the library’s public WiFi to that found in a coffee shop. People shouldn’t check their investment accounts at the store because someone could dip into them.
England-Biggs said the policy basically tells customers to use public WiFi at their own risk and to be careful.
All Wireless Access users are also responsible for their own virus protection on their devices.
The policy also provides examples of acceptable and unacceptable uses of the library’s public Wi-Fi. For example, library patrons should not use it for gambling or pornography.
In other matters, England-Biggs said Tracy Parr, senior office associate, and she secured three locations for document storage in anticipation of the library’s temporary move to the Fremont City Auditorium.
England-Biggs expressed his gratitude to the Fremont Department of Parks and Recreation, which allows the library to use a house and garage next to the auditorium for storage, as well as space behind the stage at the interior of the auditorium.
She said the parks department staff are rearranging their storage in the stage area and also cleaning the house and garage, which she says is a big help.
“They’re such great partners,” England-Biggs said. “I can’t say enough.”
England-Biggs said Parr was able to secure a third slot in a storage unit at a reasonable price.
The library, which will undergo renovations and expansions, will move to the auditorium this summer.
Friends of Keene Memorial Library, a non-profit group, raised funds for the $9.4 million expansion and renovation project.
England-Biggs also said Dave’s Drive-In Liquor, which sells books to raise funds for Friends, raised more than $800 this month. These funds are used for library programs and services.
The library manager also provided board members with a draft of the community response plan.
McLain asked board members to review the project and provide their thoughts to England-Biggs.
England-Biggs plans to submit a full plan to the Nebraska Library Commission in September, as it is scheduled for October 1. The state library commission requires accredited libraries to have a current plan to remain accredited and receive state assistance.
The next library board meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. on July 18 in the City Council Chambers of the Fremont City Municipal Building, 400 E. Military Ave. Meetings are open to the public.