1. Introduction

The Council believes that the educational/informational benefits of Internet access and use of e-mail far outweigh the possible risks and that good planning and management will ensure appropriate and effective use.

Use of e-mail and the Internet is continually expanding and has become an important part of learning and communication. It brings the public into contact with a wider range of information, the scope and nature of which may or may not be appropriate for them or the Library Department. Access to life-long learning and employment increasingly requires computer and communications use and the public and staff need to develop life skills in their use.

Why is an Internet Access Policy & E-mail Code of Practice necessary?

The Internet is managed by a worldwide, non-statutory collaboration of independent agencies that serve a mainly adult audience. Without appropriate measures, access to unsuitable materials is possible and security can be compromised.

2. The Internet and E-mail in Libraries

2.1 Rationale

The purpose of Internet access and use of e-mail in libraries is to enrich the community, aid intellectual development and fulfil the Library Department's role as an information provider, to support the professional work of staff and to enhance the Department's management information and business administration systems.

Access to the Internet and use of e-mail is a necessary tool for all staff and members of the public irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, culture or ability. The appropriate use of the Internet and e-mail can now provide a number of benefits to the Library Department. These benefits include:

2.2 Resources

  •  Providing access to documentation including the on-line publishing of documents
     
  •  Access to world-wide educational/informational resources, including museums and art galleries
     
  • Information and cultural exchanges between groups world-wide
     
  • Discussion with experts in many fields.

2.3 Staff Professional Development

  • Access to education/information materials
     
  • Sharing good practice with colleagues
     
  • Communication with the advisory and support Departments, professional associations and colleagues.

2.4 Administration

  • More regular communication with other libraries/branches and faster responses to enquiries
     
  • Improved access to technical support including remote management of networks
     
  • Method to publish information to libraries that will free more resources for other activities
     
  • Management of the library network from a single source, thus reducing the overall cost of performing this role
     
  • Added value through access to Council IT systems (e.g. valuation roll)
     
  • Added value through the creation of a secure, effective, communication system between branches and branch staff that can improve the transfer of information and data.

2.5 E-mail

  • Provision of a quick method of communication between Council staff
     
  • Provision of a communication tool for the public

2.6 Security

  • Provision of a firewall between eThekwini Library Department network and the Internet designed to both protect users and enhance performance
     
  • Secure filtered Internet access
     
  • Monitoring of e-mail and Internet activity.

3 Aims

  • To raise the awareness of staff and the public to the benefits of use of e-mail & Internet access.
     
  • To use e-mail and the Internet safely and effectively
     
  •  To protect library users from undesirable content

4 Objectives

  • To develop strategies for using the Internet
     
  • To encourage suitable use through the implementation of a contract with users
     
  • To promote the use of the Internet & e-mail as a learning tool.

5 Responsibilities

5.1 Policy Forum will be convened to:

  • ensure there is a written Internet Access Policy and an e-mail Code of Practice
     
  • ensure all staff are made aware of and understand the policy
     
  • ensure the policy is ratified and reviewed as necessary.
     
  • act as an arbitration panel for staff needing advice on removing access or taking further action

5.2 District Managers and the Information Services Manager will ensure that all staff are:

  • are given opportunities to discuss the issues associated with Internet access and the use of e-mail and to contribute to the development of appropriate strategies
     
  • are given appropriate training
     
  • made aware that Internet Access and e-mail will be monitored for both Council staff and the public
     
  • have access to the Internet Access Policy and E-mail Code of Practice and understand its implications

and that:

  • activity reports are monitored regularly and action taken as necessary
     
  • the Internet Access Policy and E-mail Code of Practice is implemented and reviewed as necessary.

5.3 Role of the Staff is to ensure that:

  • rules for Internet access and use of e-mail are posted near to computer resources
     
  • staff inform the District Librarian or manager : Information Services of any problems when they arise
     
  • staff use e-mail and the Internet in a responsible manner in line with the eThekwini Municipal Council guidelines.

5.4 Role of the Public

  • To read, understand ands accept the Rules for Responsible Use
     
  • To access the Internet and use e-mail in a responsible manner
     
  • To report to a branch staff member any material which they receive that they consider offensive or inappropriate

6. Equal Opportunities

It is essential that opportunities are provided for everyone on a non-discriminatory basis to access the Internet and use e-mail. It is equally important that all staff are given the opportunity to access the Internet and use e-mail.

Information Technology can be a positive tool for disabled people and access to the Internet and use of e-mail is therefore a vital link with which communication to the outside world can be achieved.

7. Use of resources

Copyright must be acknowledged where necessary.

8. Parental involvement (is this provision necessary?)

8.1 Parents / guardians will be required to read the Rules for Responsible Internet and e-mail Use and sign a permission slip for their child, giving permission for that child to access the Internet/use e-mail in libraries.

8.2 Parents or carers will be asked to supervise and take responsibility for their children's Internet activity.

9 Community Use

Rules for Internet access and e-mail use will be posted near computer resources or are available on request.

  • Rules are there to protect legitimate use
     
  • Suitable educational, vocational and leisure use is encouraged in community facilities.

10. E-mail - How will e-mail be managed?

E-mail has become an essential means of communication. Both staff and public e-mail is checked for inappropriate language and content by the Manager : Information Services or designated officers. Neither the library nor eThekwini Municipal Council will be liable under any circumstances for any injury, distress, loss or damage incurred by users, which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of Internet facilities, the use of e-mail or from other users' unauthorised use of those facilities or e-mail.

10.1 In-coming and outgoing e-mail will be regarded as public and will be monitored

10.2 Messages sent using the library domain name should be regarded in the same way as messages written on library letterheads

10.3 The forwarding of chain letters and the use of chat rooms is explicitly prohibited

10.4 The sending of any sensitive personal data, for example home address, photographs or telephone numbers relating to the user is done at the sender's risk

10.5 Users will be held responsible for e-mail sent from their account.

11. Internet Access

How will the library ensure Internet access is safe?

Access to appropriate information should be encouraged and Internet access must be made as safe as possible for all users but none of these systems can be completely effective without adequate supervision and a combination of the approaches is used.

11.1 The public and staff will be informed that all web site visits will be monitored

11.2 Information Services staff will carry out periodic checks to ensure that the filtering methods remain effective

11.3 If members of staff or patrons discover unsuitable sites, the URL (address) and content must be reported to the Information Services Help Desk (031-309-4405).

11.4 Staff must not share their personal access code (user ID) and password with anyone else. The Manager : Information Services must be informed of any breach of this rule immediately. Similarly, if staff forget their user IDs or corrupt their passwords, they must inform the Manager : Information Services immediately

12 Security

How will the risks be assessed?

A firewall has been installed on the Library network to make Internet Access and e-mail use as safe as possible. However, the Council and the general public need to be aware that the nature of the Internet and its changing content makes it impossible to guarantee that all risk is removed. It is essential that, in order to minimise the risk, the filtering and blocking mechanisms are working and that undesirable web site addresses are reported to the Help Desk as soon as possible.

13 Disclaimer: (to be displayed near the computers)

In common with other media such as magazines, books and video, some material available via the Internet is unsuitable for use in a public library. The Library Department will take all reasonable precautions to ensure that users can access only appropriate material. However, owing to the international scale and linked nature of information available via the Internet, it is not possible to guarantee that unsuitable material will never appear on a terminal. Neither the eThekwini Municipal Council nor its Library Department can accept liability for the material accessed, or any consequences thereof:

13.1 The use of computer systems without permission or for purposes not agreed by the library could constitute a criminal offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990; (check with Legal)

13.2 Methods to identify, assess and minimise risks will be reviewed;

13.3 Staff and users will work to establish agreement that every reasonable measure is being taken

13.4 The Policy Forum will ensure that the policy is implemented effectively;

13.5 The library will abide by the Data Protection Act 1998. (check with Legal)

14 How will the security of Library Department computer systems be maintained?

The eThekwini Library Network has put in place a measure to isolate the Internet access terminals from its URICA terminals whereby it is not possible to access anything other than the Internet. However users of the Internet terminals should be aware that:

14.1 Internet access and e-mail content will be monitored.

14.2 Security strategies will be implemented

14.3 The Policy Forum will ensure that the Internet and e-Mail policy is updated from time to time.

14.4 The Library Department will abide by the Data Protection Act 1998. (check with Legal)

15 Complaints / Problems

How will complaints regarding Internet use be handled?

Prompt action is required when a complaint is made in order to establish the facts. Transgressions of the rules may be minor, whereby a temporary ban on Internet or e-mail use will suffice or major where a permanent ban may be required. Serious cases may necessitate the involvement of the South African Police Service (SAPS). The Policy Forum will act as an advisory panel for complaints and problems.

15.1 Responsibility for handling incidents will be given to senior members of staff

15.2 There may be occasions when the SA Police must be contacted. Early contact will be made to establish the legal position and discuss strategies

15.3 Sanctions available include informing parents or carers;

15.4 A person may have e-mail, Internet or computer access denied for a period of time depending on the nature of the incident

16 Review of the Policy

The Internet Access Policy has been written by a team with a wide range of experience and will be reviewed on an annual basis. It has been discussed with all staff, agreed by the Metro Librarians' Forum.

Created: ……………………… by ……………………………

To be revised ...............................

eThekwini Municipal Library

Rules for Acceptable Internet Use : Staff

The Internet facility is owned by eThekwini Municipal Council and it is made available to staff to enhance their professional activities including research, administration and management. The Internet Access Policy & e-Mail Code of Practice and Acceptable Use statements of the Library Department, as part of eThekwini Municipal Council, have been drawn up to protect all parties. Neither the eThekwini Municipal Council nor its Library Department will be liable under any circumstances for any injury, distress, loss or damage to users, which may arise directly or indirectly from any use of the Internet facilities, the use of e-mail, or from other users' unauthorised use of those facilities or e-mail.

The eThekwini Municipal Council reserves the right to examine, monitor or delete any files that may be held on its computer system, monitor any Internet sites visited and/or monitor e-mail activity.

1 Activity that threatens the integrity of the Library ICT systems, or that attacks or corrupts other systems, is forbidden

2 All Internet use must be appropriate to staff professional activity, thus sites and materials accessed must be appropriate to work done in the Library.

3 Staff members will recognise materials that are inappropriate and should expect to have their access removed.

4 Staff members are responsible for e-mail that they send and for contacts made that may result in e-mail being received.

5 The same professional levels of language and content should be applied as for letters or other media, particularly as e-mail is often forwarded.

6 The sending of 'sensitive personal data' whether relating to the sender or not, is expressly forbidden.

7 The sending of any information, which the staff member is not certain to be 'public knowledge' outside the Library Department, is forbidden.

8 Posting anonymous messages, forwarding chain letters or using chat lines is expressly forbidden.

9 The viewing, transmitting or downloading of sexist, racist, pornographic, indecent or abusive images, text or any sound files is expressly forbidden.

10 Copyright of materials and intellectual property rights must be respected.

11 Legitimate private interest may be followed, providing that Library use is not compromised and it is done in the staff members' own time.

12 No unauthorised contract, transaction, purchase or payment may be made over the Internet, as indicated by the eThekwini Municipal Council Financial Regulations

13 Use of the Internet facilities for political purposes, gambling, or advertising is forbidden.

14 Staff members requesting Internet access are required to sign a copy of this Acceptable Internet Use Statement and return it to Systems Manager. Staff members should be aware that Internet access is monitored and reported to Systems Manager

Full name (printed) .................................................................. Service Number ........................................

Position ..................................................................

I acknowledge that contravention of these rules may result in formal disciplinary action. I consent to the monitoring and auditing of my e-mail and Internet access.

Signed ....................................... Date .......................................

Access granted Date .......................................

............................…...........……….............................Tear here ........................................…………………………………..

Full name (printed) .................................................................. Service Number ........................................

Position ..................................................................

I acknowledge that contravention of these rules may result in formal disciplinary action. I consent to the monitoring and auditing of my e-mail and Internet Access.

Signed ....................................... Date .......................................

Access granted Date .......................................