Please note: The Main Library and all Branches will be CLOSED Saturday, May 25 & Monday, May 27 for Memorial Day.

Social Media Policy

Purpose

The Worcester Public Library (WPL) has established social media sites primarily to inform library users about library programs, resources, and events including those co-sponsored with other organizations. Library social media sites encourage dialogue and exchange of information between users and library staff. Library social media sites include any online forum/site, web application, or account created and/or maintained by the Worcester Public Library or its agents, which permit users to communicate with others users through postings. They include but are not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, wiki, YouTube, and Flickr. The WPL Social Media Policy applies to all patrons, whether registered with the Worcester Public Library or not.

The Worcester Public Library is committed to ensuring employee use of social media does not violate federal, state, privacy, copyright, defamation or discrimination laws. We are also committed to protecting our relationship with other organizations, our confidential and proprietary information, and reflecting our professional status favorably as public employees and administrators.

This policy is not intended to restrict your legal rights. It is intended to guide you in making responsible decisions about your use of social media. This policy will not be applied or construed in any way that might limit or improperly interfere with any applicable legal rights of employees, nor restrict, change, or modify the rights of union members under existing collective bargaining agreements.

Rights of the Library

WPL regards online social media in the same way as its other information resources and communications. Library social media policy is not intended to supplement or replace other library policies. WPL is not responsible for enforcing restrictions which a parent or guardian may place on a minor’s use of this resource. WPL reserves the right to monitor content before it is posted on all of its social media sites, and to remove any messages, tags or postings that it deems to be abusive, defamatory, in violation of copyright, or otherwise inappropriate for the service.

Attribution

In accordance with various international, federal, state and local laws, users will make every attempt to protect copyrighted or other intellectual property rights. When quoting another blog or publication, be sure to link to the original. When using images or other media found elsewhere on the web, attribute credit to the author or creator via hyperlink when possible, and text when not possible. 

Library Sponsored Social Media

Only those WPL employees assigned as managers/editors of the library’s social media sites should be participating on those sites during work hours. These representatives should present content in a professional manner, including but not limited to the following: checking facts, citing sources, avoiding copyright infringement, presenting balanced views, acknowledging and correcting errors, and checking grammar and spelling before posting.

Content that is posted on library-sponsored social media sites is subject to the Freedom of Information Act and records retention requirements.

Employees who manage Worcester Public Library social media accounts are responsible for ensuring that passwords and other access controls are of adequate strength and kept secure.

Employee Personal Use of Social Media

Library employees have the same right to self-expression as other members of the general public when discussing matters of public concern. However, as public employees, library employees are cautioned that speech made pursuant to official duties is not protected speech under the First Amendment, and may result in disciplinary action if deemed a violation of any policy of WPL. As an employee, it is important to keep in the mind the following best practices when posting content about library-related subjects and issues on personal time.

  1. If you identify yourself as a library employee, make it clear that the views expressed are yours alone, and do not represent the views of the library
  2. You may not represent that you are speaking or posting on behalf of the Worcester Public Library without the permission of the Executive Director. You should never represent yourself as a spokesperson for the library unless you are designated a spokesperson for the library.
  3. Do not share confidential or proprietary information, or anything that is still in draft form.
  4. Do not make any negative, mocking, condescending, or inappropriate comments about patrons, specific questions from patrons, or about patron behavior on the library’s social media sites.
  5. The library does not endorse, monitor, or review the content of employee’s personal social media accounts and activity.
  6. Employee use of social media is not permitted during work hours, except for work-related purposes.
  7. You are responsible for what you post online. Before posting you should remember that despite privacy policies, you cannot always be sure who will view, share, or archive your posts.
  8. Keep in mind that any conduct that adversely affects your job performance, the job performance of other staff members, the public, or entities we work with, or otherwise adversely affects the legitimate business interests of the Worcester Public Library, may result in disciplinary actions, up to and including termination.
  9. You may not post content that violates the City of Worcester and Worcester Public Library’s policies against unlawful harassment and discrimination. Postings that include discriminatory remarks, harassment, and threats of violence or similar unlawful conduct will not be tolerated.
  10. Do not use the Worcester Public Library logo or graphics in any way that might suggest to others that the library is endorsing your post. Do not post anything that identifies you as a library employee in what appears to be an illegal or immoral act, or in violation of City or Library policy, even if it is being done as a joke.

Trustee Use of Social Media

Library trustees have the same right to freedom of expression enjoyed by members of the general public when discussing matters of public concern. Trustees should keep in mind the following best practices when posting about WPL and related subjects on social media.

  1. If you identify yourself as a Trustee of the library, make it clear that the views expressed are yours alone, and do not represent the views of WPL or other trustees.
  2. Respect the library’s confidential and proprietary information, and do not post any library information that is still in draft form.
  3. Do not make any negative, mocking, condescending, or inappropriate comments about patrons, specific questions from patrons, or about patron behavior on the library’s social media sites.

Posting on Social Media

WPL permits patrons to comment on library posts, and share opinions about library-related subjects, resources, and programs. Postings by patrons do not indicate library endorsement of the ideas, issues, or opinions expressed in posts on library social media sites.

WPL reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed to be in violation of this policy, or any applicable law. Content and comments on the library’s social media accounts containing any of the following forms of content and postings shall not be allowed:

  1. Obscenity or pornography.
  2. Content that promotes, fosters, or perpetuates discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of race, creed, color, age, gender, marital status, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, ancestry, or other protected category.
  3. Slanderous, libelous, threatening or defamatory statements.
  4. Copyrighted or trademarked materials.
  5. Spam.
  6. Content not related to library business, programs, events, resources, and materials.
  7. Advertising or sale of merchandise or services.
  8. Charitable solicitations or political campaigning.

By joining, utilizing and/or posting on the library’s social media sites, you agree to comply with this Policy. This policy applies, whether or not a patron chooses to post comments using a library computer or device, or when posting from any other computer or device to any library social media site.

Patrons are personally responsible for their commentary. Patrons should be aware that they may be held personally liable for commentary that is defamatory, obscene, proprietary, or libelous by any offended party.

Disclaimer

WPL, its employees, agents and officials assume no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from participation in library-sponsored social media. Violations of this policy by employees may result in disciplinary actions, up to and including termination of employment.

APPROVED WPL BOARD OF DIRECTORS MAY 2015

Quick Links

 

Connect

Get the WPL Newsletter

Click here for Newsletter Archive