Computer Use Policy
Computer Use During COVID-19
The State Law Library strives to provide access to electronic legal resources in a safe manner during the COVID-19 pandemic. To achieve this, we have adjusted the Computer Use Policy for our public computer terminals. Our previous computer use policy remains in effect with the changes listed below.
Number of Computer Terminals
To increase the physical distance between computer users, we have reduced the number of computer terminals. Until further notice, the library will provide two research terminals and one computer that serves solely as a library catalog.
Public computers will be sanitized daily by library staff at the library’s closing time. Computers may be sanitized upon request. Cleaning products will also be available upon request to library users who would like to clean a surface on their own. All public computers will have keyboard covers to aid in sanitization.
Conduct at Computer Stations
Patrons are expected to follow the library’s Code of Conduct Policy along with our main Computer Use Policy while using the computers. In addition, the following conduct is required while using the computers:
- Maintaining a respectful distance from State Law Library employees while getting assistance. For example, staff may ask you to step away from the computer while they assist you, or staff may stand back from the computer while assisting you.
- Ensuring that only one person is seated at each computer terminal.
- Keeping keyboard covers in place. Keyboard covers allow us to sanitize our technology frequently without damaging it.
- Being mindful of other people’s access to the computers. The primary purpose for our public computers is legal research and we are operating with fewer computers than usual. If you are not working on legal research, you may be required to end your session early to allow someone who is waiting to conduct research.
COVID-19 Health Risks
Computer users may be seated near other patrons for up to two hours at a time. Because of this, we highly encourage patrons to review our Risks of Library Visits policy before choosing to use our computers.
Computer Use Policy
The State Law Library provides 4 computer workstations for use by its registered patrons whose accounts are in good standing. The computers are available for legal research between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Patrons may access our legal databases, our electronic resources, law-related websites, and may compile legal documents using the word processing software provided. All computers have software installed for use by patrons with visual impairments.
The library also provides a computer that serves solely as a library catalog for use by the public to locate items in our collection. This computer may be used only to access our catalog. All other uses are prohibited.
- Computer workstations are available for use only by registered library patrons whose accounts are in good standing. A patron whose account is not in good standing may not borrow someone else's account in order to use a computer. Patrons are required to use their own library account when logging on and using a computer. If your account is not in good standing, you must work with library staff to clear any account problems in order to restore your access to the public computers.
- Use of the computers is governed by the Library Use Policy and this Computer Use Policy. By logging in, patrons agree to abide by all library computer use policies and procedures.
Time Limits and Reservations
- The library's computer workstations have set time limits so that others have the opportunity to use the workstations. Patrons must observe these time limits. Doing anything to circumvent the allowed time limit, including but not limited to using another patron's library card, is prohibited. Sessions that violate the library's time limits will be ended by library staff. Additional time will not be provided by library staff.
- If a computer is available, patrons are first allotted 60 minutes. If no other patron is waiting for a computer, 60 additional minutes are automatically granted in increments of 15 minutes. Patrons are notified when this extra time has been granted. A patron may sign in multiple times per day as long as he or she has not surpassed the maximum of 120 minutes for that day. Additional time past 120 minutes will not be provided by library staff.
- Patrons may make one reservation per day (with staff assistance) for a computer for a session up to 60 minutes. Reservations may be made up to 5 days in advance. Patrons cannot make a reservation for a specific computer, only for a specific time. Reservations will be automatically cancelled for patrons who are 10 minutes late for their reservation. Library staff cannot hold a reservation.
- Patrons may "lock" a computer while in use if they need to step away for a few minutes. The lock will only last as long as the patron has time left on his or her session. Additional time will not be provided by library staff.
- Patrons who stay over the allowed time limit at any computer workstation will be asked to leave the computer workstation.
Printing and Computer Software/Hardware
- Patrons may not install any software on the library's computer workstations.
- Patrons are prohibited from turning off or rebooting library computers.
- Printouts are available for 25 cents per page plus sales tax and must be paid for at the circulation desk. Patrons are responsible for all of the pages they print. Library staff has no control over the print layout of websites or any documents that are printed. Patrons should use the "print preview" feature prior to sending a print job to verify what and how much they are printing. If you need assistance with "print preview," please ask library staff for assistance. We will not waive the cost of any pages accidentally printed.
Patron Data and Documents
- Any data or documents should be saved on a portable storage device such as a USB drive or a CD-R/CD-RW. Data saved to the local hard drive is only stored temporarily and should be deleted before ending a session. The library is not responsible for any data left on the local hard drive.
- The library is not responsible for the corruption or deletion of patron data, nor is the library responsible for access to any data by other patrons.
- Unsaved work will be lost at the end of the computer session. Patrons will be given three reminders to save their work near the end of their session. Ignoring these reminders will lead to deletion of their work. The library staff is not responsible for lost work and cannot retrieve lost work. It is good practice to always save works in progress because technical problems can occur at any time. The library staff is not responsible for work lost because of technical problems and other unforeseen difficulties.
One-time Computer Use Passes
Patrons who are not Texas residents, who are unable to prove their Texas residency, or who only need to use the computer once and do not wish to register for an account may be issued a one-time computer pass. When possible, we recommend registering for an account to take advantage of our extensive collection of e-books and databases.
The pass will be good on the day of issuance only for a minimum of one hour. The session may be extended to a maximum of two hours if no other patrons are waiting. Patrons will not be issued a second one-time computer use pass; if repeated computer use is necessary, the patron will need to register for an account.
Conduct at the Computers
- The State Law Library is a public setting. There is no expectation of privacy.
- Patrons are expected to be civil and to maintain a quiet environment so that everyone in the library is able to conduct research.
- Patrons are prohibited from viewing websites or electronic material that is sexually explicit, depicts violence, or that would be patently offensive to others. The primary purpose for our computer workstations is for legal research.
- Patrons are prohibited from vandalizing, damaging, or misusing the computer workstations.
- Food and drink are not allowed at the computer workstations.
- Headphones are required when listening to audio from the computers. Patrons must maintain the volume at a reasonable level in order to preserve a quiet environment for all library patrons. Audio that can be heard from several feet away is not allowed. The library has a limited amount of headphones that patrons may borrow, but we encourage users to provide their own headphones.
- Computers and their associated chairs are reserved for the patrons who are signed in and are using the computers.
Library staff, at their own discretion, may terminate the session of any patron who is in violation of this policy at any time. Depending on severity, a patron's first violation of this policy may result in the patron being barred from using the library's computer workstations for a period of up to 3 months.
For example, viewing or attempting to view a website that is sexually explicit, depicts violence, or is patently offensive to others will automatically result in a bar. Vandalizing, damaging, or misusing the computer workstations and their general area will also automatically result in a bar. After a patron has been barred once, a subsequent violation may again result in a temporary bar, and depending on the severity of the infraction, this bar may be for a period longer than 3 months.
At the library director's discretion, a patron may be permanently barred from using the library's computer workstations for repeated or especially severe policy violations or infractions.
The Texas State Law Library reserves the right to change this policy at any time.