Schaffer Library

Computer Use Policy

Union College views itself—and earnestly promotes itself—as an educational and cultural resource for the entire community, and appropriately enough, Schaffer Library’s collections and services represent one of the more salient and inviting components of this vision. Additionally, Schaffer Library’s status as federal depository carries with it a clear obligation to make the government documents collection accessible to the public. Nevertheless, the Superintendent of Documents has published explicit instructions regarding the authority of depository libraries to control their own space:

Federal Depository Library Program
Instructions to Depository Libraries
(Revised July 2000)
Chapter 7 Public Service

Depositories are not required to serve patrons who do not have a depository-related need to be in the library. Depository users must adhere to the same standards of behavior expected of other library patrons. Libraries that implement age restrictions usually do so for reasons that should be handled by a library's code of conduct policy. Use of the depository collection cannot be used as a pretext to circumvent library policies or Title 44, USC, Chapter 19.

Under a strict interpretation of the statute, the public patron may be restricted to using only the depository collection. Additionally, depository libraries have the right to bar or remove any individual who poses a threat to library staff, other patrons, or the security of their collections.

The College Attorney and the College Affirmative Action Officer affirm the right of the institution to exert whatever control over the Library and College environment it deems necessary to maintain public order.

Priority Access

In keeping with the Library’s mission to provide “an environment conducive to intellectual and personal growth for all,” computer workstations are made available primarily for purposes of education and research.

  • Members of the Union College community, i.e., students, faculty and staff, will have priority to use computer workstations and other resources of Schaffer Library.
  • As a United States government document depository, we also grant priority status to those accessing electronic government documents via the workstation designated for this purpose.
  • Computing functions such as chat, games, email, and other recreational applications have the lowest priority status, and the library reserves the right to restrict use of workstations for these purposes. For school-age children, educational games and email are available for those registered at the Union College Kenney Community Center.

Guest Access

Schaffer Library welcomes use of its services and resources by students, scholars, and researchers from other institutions and by members of the community and assumes that any guests who avail themselves of this privilege will conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the “Rules of Public Order,” “The Student Conduct Code,” “Sexual Assault Policy,” “Harassment Policy,” “Alcohol and Drug Policy,” and “Hazing Policy” as set out in the Student Handbook: Section IV. Policies and Regulations of the College.

Guests are permitted access to research-related computing and Internet resources in accordance with the “Union College Acceptable Use Policy” (Adopted May 2001). As a courtesy, guests are permitted access to the campus wireless network and to their personal email accounts via the public access computer workstations. Because the Library’s mission is to support the undergraduate curriculum and because a college setting is an adult environment, certain restrictions to access apply.

Guidelines for Guests

Guests to the campus and others from the community may use Schaffer Library in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • School-age children—through the middle school level—may use Schaffer Library for the purpose of carrying out research and completing school assignments. A responsible adult must accompany and supervise school-age students while they are here. Children not under such supervision may be asked to leave the Library;
  • Area teachers and librarians who direct unsupervised high school students to use Schaffer Library should alert the Library staff and/or director of their coming;
  • Anyone who does not abide by these guidelines will be escorted from the building and may forfeit the opportunity to use the facility in the future;
  • Guests are not permitted in the building overnight when the Library is open for extended hours during exam periods;
  • Do not use Union College computing resources, including personally-owned computers connected to the Union College network, for commercial activity.

Appropriate Use

Schaffer Library is committed to supporting academic research, and most of the Library’s hardware and software are configured principally for access to information resources. Additionally, several workstations are dedicated to word processing. Generally, however, for applications such as word processing and graphics software, the computer labs in Steinmetz Hall and the Olin Center are available to all Union College faculty, staff, and students with appropriate identification.

  • Re-configuring Workstations:
    Modification of Library hardware or software, including desktop reconfiguration, is prohibited.
  • Content and Harassment:
    Schaffer Library recognizes that scholarship and teaching require freedom of intellectual inquiry. Research may involve exploration of diverse information resources, and access to electronic content in the Library will not be unduly restricted. However, patrons should be aware that some material might be offensive to other Library users or staff. Researchers viewing such content may be asked to conduct their studies in a private environment. Use of college resources, including Library workstations, “to defame, harass, intimidate or threaten” Library patrons or staff is expressly forbidden under the Union College “Acceptable Use Policy for College Computing.” - January 5, 2006