Social Media Policy

Forbes Library Social Networking Policy

In keeping with the Forbes Library's mission "to provide a wide range of information and materials to all of the people of Northampton, using traditional and innovative technology, and to encourage and support the civic, intellectual, and cultural pursuits of the community", the Library participates in various "social software" applications whereby library staff and community members can interact through virtual communication.

Social software is defined as any website or application which allows users to share information. Social software can include, but is not limited to, blogging, instant messaging, social networking sites, and wikis. Many social networking sites allow users of those sites to become a "friend", "fan" or otherwise associate their own "profiles" or virtual presences with the Library's profile on these sites. Examples of such sites are Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube. As with more traditional resources, the Library does not act in place of or in the absence of a parent and is not responsible for enforcing any restrictions which a parent or guardian may place on a minor's use of this resource.

The Library does not collect, maintain or otherwise use the personal information stored on any third party social networking site in any way other than to communicate with users on that site, unless granted permission by users for Library contact outside the site. The purpose for contact outside the site may include program promotion, volunteer opportunities, reference help, or other similar activities. Users may remove themselves at any time from the Library's "friends" or "fan" lists, or request that the Library remove them. Users should be aware that third party websites have their own privacy policies and should proceed accordingly.

Comments, posts, and messages are welcome on Forbes Library social networking sites. While the Forbes Library recognizes and respects differences in opinion, all such interactions will be regularly monitored and reviewed for content and relevancy (before publishing when possible). All postings which contain any of the following will be removed and if the poster continues, he/she will be barred from posting any subsequent messages to library social networking sites:

  • Obscene or racist content
  • Personal attacks, insults, or threatening language
  • Potentially libelous statements
  • Plagiarized or copy-written material
  • Private, personal information published without consent
  • Comments totally unrelated to the content of the forum
  • Hyperlinks to material that is not related to the discussion
  • Commercial promotions or spam
  • Organized political activity
  • Photos or other images that fall in any of the above categories

In addition, the Forbes Library reserves the right to edit or modify any postings or comments for space or content, while retaining the intent of the original post. The Library may also reproduce comments, posts, and messages in other public venues. For example, a response to a Facebook post may be quoted in a newspaper article or on the library’s website. Identifying information, other than first name, will be removed unless prior approval is granted by the user.

The Forbes Library assumes no liability regarding any event or interaction that takes place by any participant in any Library-sponsored social networking service, and does not endorse or review content outside the "pages" created by Forbes Library staff. Participation in Forbes Library social networking services implies agreement with all Library policies, including its Social Networking Policy and Internet Use Policy, and the Terms of Service of each individual third-party service. If a user does not agree to these terms, they are not to use the services provided.

The role and utility of social networking sites will be evaluated periodically by library staff, and may be terminated at any time without notice to subscribers.

Adapted from the Whitman Public Library (MA)

Approved by the Forbes Library Board of Trustees, October 22, 2012.