Breaches of terms and conditions of use of the reading rooms and collections

These guidelines outline the National Library of Scotland's policies and procedures for dealing with breaches of our terms and conditions of use relating to NLS reading rooms and collections, including use of our online collections and services within and outwith the library premises. They also aim to ensure consistency in the way that these incidents are handled and to define the appropriate staff roles and responsibilities involved in the process.

We will consider each incident on its own merits and we will use our discretion and judgement in implementing these policies and procedures. Where appropriate, we may decide to depart from these policies and procedures.

Our general principles

  • The Library provides access to our reading rooms and collections and online services subject to your acceptance of the associated terms and conditions of use. We reserve the right to suspend or withdraw your library card and your online account should you fail to comply with these conditions.
  • We will act on all breaches of the terms and conditions of use known to us. In most circumstances, where the infringement is considered to be minor, library staff will seek to resolve the issue on an informal basis with you.
  • We will impose a penalty for any serious incident which we consider a breach of our terms and conditions of use, as laid out in Appendix 1.
  • All incidents resulting in the creation of a personal record will be held on file in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act. We will notify you of all decisions in writing.

How we will deal with breaches of the terms and conditions of use

  • Where we consider an incident to be serious, staff will report the incident to the appropriate manager. The manager will, wherever possible, resolve the incident directly with you and you will be given the opportunity to state your case. In some cases we may have to suspend your online account until the matter is investigated further. We will add a note to your online reader record along with brief details of the incident. Where we issue a written warning, all members of staff involved in the incident will complete an incident report form. This will be kept in an electronic folder for a period of five years after the date of the incident, after which it will be deleted.
  • Where the manager considers an incident to be sufficiently serious to warrant further investigation and possible suspension to your access, we will keep your library card and ask you to leave the reading room, if applicable. We will also suspend use of your online account. You will be suspended from access to all reading room and online services pending investigation. In the case of remote only readers, we will suspend your access to all online services pending investigation. You will be advised of the next steps in the process. All members of staff involved in the incident will complete an incident report form.
  • The Deputy National Librarian will review all incident reports and ensure that an investigation is carried out. We will decide on the appropriate course of action based on all the information gathered.
  • In the case of extreme breaches of the terms and conditions, or illegal acts, we will pursue legal action and criminal prosecution wherever appropriate.
  • If we decide to permanently suspend your access you will be given the opportunity to state your case directly to the National Librarian and Chief Executive. This would normally take the form of a meeting to discuss the available evidence. The final decision will be subject to approval by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees or, in their absence, the Vice Chairman.
  • Where incidents result in the withdrawal of access to Library facilities, the record of the incident will be kept for the term of the withdrawal of your registration, and for a minimum of five years.

The next steps

  • When your access is suspended pending investigation, we will tell you that:
    • Your library card is the property of NLS and has been removed due to a suspected infringement of the terms and conditions of use of NLS reading rooms and collections, which you agreed to observe when you registered to use the Library.
    • Your online account, including use of your login, has been suspended and access to NLS licensed collections and services has been halted; online access is governed by the same terms and conditions agreed to at registration.
    • Written reports relating to the circumstances of the incident will now be sent to the Deputy National Librarian by all members of staff involved.
    • Depending on the offence, the Deputy National Librarian will then consider your case and may contact you to discuss the matter or to obtain further information.
    • You will receive a written response within 10 days of the incident, or where the investigation may take longer, a letter advising you on when you can expect to hear.
    • You may appeal against any decision made by NLS, by applying in writing to:

      The National Librarian and Chief Executive
      The National Library of Scotland
      George IV Bridge
      Edinburgh
      EH1 1EW

Appeals process

  • You can appeal all decisions which result in the suspension of your access to reading rooms and/or online services. You should make your appeal in writing within one month of notification of the decision.
  • In most instances appeals will be considered by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Library. Exceptions to this will be:
    • Where a conflict of interest may exist
    • When the Chairman of the Board of Trustees is not available.
  • In these circumstances the appeal will be heard by the Vice Chairman.
  • Appeals will be dealt with by:
    • Confirming the original decision; or
    • Setting aside the initial decision in its entirety; or
    • Setting aside the initial decision and substituting a different decision.
  • We will consider all appeals within 10 working days of receipt, wherever possible, and a reasoned explanation of the final decision will be provided.

 

Appendix 1

The following guidelines are for use when determining the appropriate actions when dealing with serious incidents which have been reported to a manager. We will deal with minor offences on an informal basis.

Incidents:

 

Abusive, rude or unreasonable behaviour towards staff / other readers

Includes:

  • Inconsiderate behaviour
  • Refusal to abide by NLS terms and conditions or customer charter.

Type of incident

Penalty

Responsibility

First incident — Not serious or threatening. Verbal guidance. Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)
First incident — More serious incident, or verbal guidance not accepted. Written warning. Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)
Second incident 1. Removal of card.
2. Short term suspension (1-3 months) if appropriate, including online account.
Removal of card:
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Suspension:
Deputy National Librarian
Extreme behaviour — abusive or threatening behaviour or any other behaviour likely to injure health and safety of others
or
Repeat incident
following previous temporary suspension.
1. Removal of card.
2. Suspension which may be permanent, including online account.

Note:
Criminal prosecution in appropriate cases.

Removal of card:
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Suspension:
National Librarian and Chief Executive

Removal of collection items from reading room / building

Type of incident

Penalty

Responsibility

First removal of collection item from reading room with mitigating circumstances
(e.g. Library convinced removal was accidental).
Verbal guidance with explanation of regulations. Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)
First removal of collection item from reading room with no mitigating circumstances
or
Second incident.
1. Removal of card.
2. Short term suspension (1-3 months) if appropriate, including online account.
Removal of card:
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Suspension:
Deputy National Librarian
Second removal of collection item from reading room with no mitigating circumstances
or
Third incident.
1. Removal of card.
2. Suspension which may be permanent, including online account.

Note:
Criminal prosecution in appropriate cases.
Removal of card:
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Suspension:
National Librarian and Chief Executive
Removal of collection items from the building. 1. Removal of card.
2. Suspension, which may be permanent, including online account.

Note:
Criminal prosecution in appropriate cases.
Removal of card:
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Suspension:
National Librarian and Chief executive

Mistreating, mutilating or damaging Library collections

  • Includes generally ignoring conservation advice given by staff

Type of incident

Penalty

Responsibility

First incident — inadvertent misuse (e.g. folding pages or photocopying prohibited item). Verbal guidance with advice on how to handle the collections. Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)
Second incident
or
More serious damage caused

(e.g. permanent marking, tearing or cutting of pages).
1. Removal of card.
2. Short term suspension (1-3 months) if appropriate, including online account.

Note:
If material is damaged and needs repair, we may also charge for costs of repair.
Removal of card:
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Suspension:
Deputy National Librarian
Serious damage — clear evidence of intent
(e.g. removal of pages or prints, cutting out articles, substantial permanent marking on text)
or
Repeat incident
following previous temporary suspension.
1. Removal of card.
2. Suspension which may be permanent, including online account.

Notes:

Charge to be levied to cover costs of repair.

Criminal prosecution in appropriate cases.
Removal of card:
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Suspension:
National Librarian and Chief Executive

Use of prohibited items in the reading rooms

Type of incident

Penalty

Responsibility

First incident — Inadvertent mistreatment of collections or misuse of mobile devices. Verbal guidance with explanation of regulations. Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)
Second incident Written warning. Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)
Third incident 1. Removal of card.
2. Short term suspension (1-3 months) if appropriate, including online account.
Removal of card:
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Temporary suspension:
Deputy National Librarian

Mistreating, damaging or stealing Library facilities / equipment

Type of incident

Penalty

Responsibility

First incident — inadvertent misuse
(e.g. plugging pen / flash drive into NLS computer, downloading to desktop, etc.).
Verbal guidance with advice on how to handle equipment. Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)
Second incident Written warning. Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)
Serious damage — clear evidence of intent
(e.g. scoring reader desks / chairs, removal of computer kit from the reading room, attempts to hack into the Library's systems)
or
Repeat incident
following written warning.
1. Removal of card.
2. Suspension which may be permanent, including online account.

Notes:
Charge to be levied to cover costs of repairs.

Criminal prosecution in appropriate cases.

Removal of card:
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Suspension:
National Librarian and Chief Executive

Misuse of the internet

Type of incident

Penalty

Responsibility

First incident — inadvertent misuse of the internet
(e.g. viewing of pornographic or inappropriate material which has not been authorised for approved teaching or research).
Written warning with explanation of JANET acceptable use policy. Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)
Second incident
or
Refusal
to adhere to JANET Acceptable Use Policy.
1. Removal of card.
2. Suspension which may be permanent, including online account.

Note:
Criminal prosecution in appropriate cases.
Removal of card:
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Suspension:
National Librarian and Chief Executive

Misuse of the licensed digital collections

  • Registration may be online-only with no library card being issued.

Type of incident

Penalty

Responsibility

First incident — breach of terms and conditions of use for NLS login details, and / or 3rd party licence terms and conditions, including JANET Acceptable Use Policy for internet access
(e.g. sharing login details, downloading, distributing or publishing unauthorised copyright content).
1. Verbal/written guidance with explanation of terms and conditions of use.
2. Temporary suspension of online user account (1-3 months).
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Temporary suspension:
Deputy National Librarian
Second incident
or
Refusal
to adhere to terms and conditions of use.
1. Temporary suspension of online account and removal of card, if applicable (1-3 months).
2. Suspension which may be permanent, including online account, and library card if applicable.

Note:
Criminal prosecution in appropriate cases.
Temporary suspension:
Deputy National Librarian

Permanent suspension:
National Librarian and Chief Executive

Use of unauthorised cameras or scanning equipment in reading rooms

  • Also applies to other mobile devices with camera capability

Type of incident

Penalty

Responsibility

First incident — inadvertently using an unauthorised camera or scanning device in the reading room. Verbal guidance with explanation of regulations and request for removal of images. Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)
Second incident Written warning. Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)
Third incident 1. Removal of card.
2. Short-term suspension (1-3 months) if appropriate, including online account.
Removal of card:
Manager / Duty Officer
(Band 5 or above)

Suspension:
Deputy National Librarian

Terms and conditions



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