Personal Use of Staff Computers

(Posted by Admin on behalf of Dr. Veatch)

Hi, Susan!

I almost decided not to put this response on the list, 'cause I don't think it will be considered 'right' by some directors and possibly GPLS folks, even though if the truth were known every one of us has probably used her/his library PC (and/or notebook) on occasion for personal stuff.

The way I figure it is that if I have a great regional staff and fine managers (well, except for that one!) who are willing to work anywhere from 40 to 60 hours per week under increasingly stressful circumstances, I'm not going to quibble if they use their work computer for personal business for a few of those hours. No games are allowed, and certainly nothing against the overall rules, but if someone needs to take a few minutes to pay bills, review personal email, or even surf the Internets (away from public view), I'm not going to be concerned unless it becomes abusive, which so far it has not (well, except for that one manager!).

I figure that on average they spend about 44 of their waking hours (112 approx.) each week in the service of the library. If they end up using 2 or 3 of those for personal, I have to figure that they probably really need a few minutes of personal or down time here and there within that willingness to work above and beyond. An iron-clad policy of "no personal business on library computers" would probably be unrealistic, would just drive it underground, and, in my view, would be wrong. Of course, they are subject to the same rules as everyone else.

If I made a rule that library computers could not be used for anything personal, I'd probably want to make a rule that you can't put personal pictures on a library desk or wall, that you can't use your library email address for anything personal (how many of us do THAT?), that you can't use the telephone for any personal business, etc.

On the issue of software, no, we don't allow that. Everyone has the capability to have their own home computer for offloading pictures, but I don't care if they bring the jpegs to work or download them from their imageshack or photobucket account and use them for wallpaper, etc.

Staff generally needs and deserves some flexibility as long as they don't abuse the privilege.

At 02:35 PM 3/19/2007, you wrote:

Long ago there was a discussion of use of staff computers for personal business that I remember but didn't save.

Does anyone have a policy on this and in particular do you allow staff to install software such as their personal pentax digital camera software.

Appreciate your insight and experience on this matter.