[Michlib-l] Patron's Facebook Usage

Mutch, Andrew AMutch at waterfordmi.gov
Tue Feb 17 16:08:05 EST 2015


First, if someone is actually making threatening posts on Facebook or any other web site, the patron should contact the local, county or state police and report the threats. The patron can also contact Facebook and report the profile of the person allegedly making the threats. Most libraries have Internet Use Policies that prohibit patrons from using the computers for illegal purposes. But I think you would want some proof that such activity is both illegal and happening on library computers before taking any action against a patron.

Second, unless the person observed the activity happening on the library's computer, there's no way to determine from a Facebook post itself that the posting actually occurred while the patron was on the library's computer. Depending on how you log and monitor patron use of your computers, it may be possible to determine whether a library computer was involved in such activity. But be aware that the state's Library Privacy Act may be triggered if the police request access to library records related to a patron's use of a library computer. As always, you should be consulting your library's legal advisory on any questions related to legal issues like this.

Good luck!

Andrew Mutch
Library Systems Technician
Waterford Township Public Library

This posting is my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Waterford Township Public Library or the Charter Township of Waterford, Michigan.

From: michlib-l-bounces at mcls.org [mailto:michlib-l-bounces at mcls.org] On Behalf Of Nannette Pretzer
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 3:54 PM
To: Michlib list serv
Subject: [Michlib-l] Patron's Facebook Usage

I just received a call from a person who knows this lady is using the library computers to post "threatening" messages on Facebook.  Is there anything we can legally do to prohibit this patron from using the computers and posting these "alleged" threatening facebook posts?  Any wisdom or knowledge you can share on this issue?

Nannette Pretzer
St. Charles District Library
104 W. Spruce Street
St. Charles, MI  48655
n.pretzer at vlc.lib.mi.us<mailto:n.pretzer at vlc.lib.mi.us>

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