Library Policies

Building-related Policies

This policy is to ensure that you are not disturbing others with your conversation. Even short conversations can distract the others working around you. 

Please follow our recommendations for appropriate places to talk on your phone.  Although you may not realize it, stairwells and restrooms are echo chambers that amplify your voice throughout the area.

O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library:

  • Limit cell phone use to the lobby area just before you enter the library.
  • Once inside the library, please do not use your cell phone. 
  • Do not use cell phones in the restrooms.

Keffer Library:

  • Brief phone calls (under 2 minutes) may be placed or taken in the library; please move away from the computers and study areas as a courtesy to others. 
  • Step outside the library into the second floor public area for lengthy or animated phone calls.

Ireland Library:

  • Limit cell phone use to the lobby area at the entry, in front of the circulation desk or lounge, or in the lower level group study.
  • Once in Reference Room or library stacks or study carrels, please do not use your cell phone.

Why have a policy?  The crumbs and residue from snacks attract rodents and other pests. These pests then look for other things to eat, like the glue in book bindings. 

Apply common sense: clean up after yourself or you may be asked to leave.

O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library:

  • You may eat small snacks in the library; drinks are allowed in covered containers (no glass). 
  • Dispose of wrappers and cups properly. There are numerous trash and recycling bins on all floors.
  • If you are in the mood for eating larger amounts (meals for example), please do so in the area near the tunnel entrance to the library, but not in the library itself.
  • Food deliveries to the library for individuals or small groups are not permitted. 
  • Library-sponsored events and meetings may involve catered refreshments, which are subsequently cleaned up by the food-service caterers.

Keffer Library:

  • Light snacks and covered drinks are welcome in the Keffer library; larger meals should be eaten outside the library.

Ireland Library:

  • No food or drink is allowed in the main areas of the library, the reference room, stacks, carrels, etc.
  • As you enter the library, there is a lounge to the left where food and drink is allowed and there is a refrigerator for short-term storage.

The University of St. Thomas Libraries do not allow animals in library buildings unless they are service animals as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Exceptions include scheduled programming events that incorporate animals as part of the event, such as our Therapy pet events, which involve certified therapy animals. For all exceptions, permission must be obtained prior to the event from the Library Director.

The O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library has 14 storage lockers available for patrons to use.

Patrons may store personal belongings such as laptops, small backpacks, and purses when they leave the library for dinner or class instead of leaving these items unprotected at tables, study carrels, and in study rooms.

The lockers are available for check-out at the Circulation Desk for a 4 hour period.

The O’Shaughnessy Frey Library will attempt to be open during weather emergencies on days the university is closed.  Other St. Thomas libraries likely will be closed.  Any changes in the hours will be posted on the libraries’ website and social media sites.  Changes will also be reflected on each library’s hours line.   Library staff generally will staff the chat reference service from remote locations during weather emergencies.  See the Ask A Librarian page for chat availability at that time.

Weather Info:

UST Snow line: 651-962-SNOW.  Class cancellation info will be available here, and is typically emailed to the entire community.

WCCO School Closings

MN DOT Travel Conditions

Collections-related Policies

See our Borrowing Library Materials page for policies on loan periods, number of items, fines for overdue and lost materials, etc.

The Libraries purchases of and subscriptions to books, ebooks, print/online journals, research databases, videos, and other materials are governed by our Collection Development Policy.

St. Thomas Library Support for Patron Privacy

One of the ethical responsibilities of library staff is to protect the privacy of library users. UST Libraries have historically supported patron privacy, however, users in the 21st century seem less concerned with privacy issues as witnessed by substantive private information shared by users in public sites such as Facebook and Myspace, etc. As the UST libraries consider this policy, we will be considering opt in or opt out of various services and products in which users are willing to share heretofore private information. For example, in order to be able to provide Netflix and Amazon types of ‘if you liked this, you’ll like this’ in the future we may provide the opportunity for users to be willing to have the libraries maintain their checkout history. In order to be able to provide services that suggest other articles like the one they just downloaded, products may ask to maintain that information. That being said, the libraries are committed to maintain patron confidentiality and privacy.

Confidentiality extends to information sought or received, materials consulted, borrowed or accessed. This includes database search records, reference interviews and consultations, circulation records, interlibrary loan records and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, personnel or services.  This policy is based on the American Library Association's Policy concerning Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information about Library Users.  Student information is protected based on Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act sections of the United States Code.

Law and Legislation

The American Library Association (ALA) recognizes that law enforcement agencies and officers may occasionally believe that library records contain information which may be helpful in the investigation of alleged criminal activity. If there is a reasonable basis to believe such records would be necessary for the progress of an investigation or prosecution, court orders should be sought. The UST Director of Libraries will respond, if the data are available, to such court orders.

According to the American Library Association (ALA) (from whose policy this policy has been adapted) in most states, the law protects the confidentiality of library records to some degree. Generally, these laws protect circulation and registration records containing personal names. Many also protect information on the "use of library materials." We will not assume that Minnesota laws are written in such a way that we can assume that they protect the privacy of patrons using online resources.

Library Systems

Staff are not authorized to reveal circulation or other information regarding patron use or questions to other patrons, university administration, any agency of state, federal or local government or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state or local law relating to civil, criminal or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigatory power.

Staff should direct requests to the Director of University Libraries or designee who will comply with the proper court order.

The Libraries have as a commitment the interest of our patrons’ privacy. We will protect user records, both electronic and paper, from unauthorized access, including:

  • Lists of library cardholders
  • Circulation records. Historical circulation information is not available because the patron ID is not maintained in the used item record.
  • Patron data
  • Authentication data (should not reveal patron activities)

The Libraries will determine the appropriate use of any data describing user activity logged or gathered by the Web server software or email/chat transcript logs for reference services while maintaining user anonymity.

Library and ITS purchased software

Libraries must be especially diligent in all areas where they use and control technology-based information systems. Because libraries have stronger user privacy concerns than many other institutions, our needs will often not be met by software licenses as configured "out of the box.” Consequently we will endeavor to modify standard license terms when necessary to protect user confidentiality.

Internet Access in Libraries

The libraries cannot assure patron privacy once they have left the libraries’ domain. We have limited influence over the privacy practices of websites. Any of the following are possible by external websites:

  • User tracking
  • Data mining for marketing information
  • Users giving out personal information online. Users may voluntarily reveal personal information to take advantage of personalization features of web sites, to subscribe to services, to participate in interactive communications, and to purchase items online.
  • Screen view privacy. Computer screens may be readily visible to other patrons.

Users should be aware of these features and are responsible for preserving their own online privacy.

The University periodically clears logs or caches of user activity; however, subsequent users at a library computer may be able to see some traces of activity of previous users.

Access to Remote Resources Provided by the Library

Care will be taken to include patron privacy measures in the license between the library and the vendor.  New features are being developed that allow users to personalize their use of remote information, to e-mail retrieved items to themselves, or to purchase items like article reprints. These features necessarily link the activity to the individual user, and create a record of the use.  Users will have the right to make those decisions.

May 21, 2009 Library Management Team

All UST students, faculty, and staff are expected to follow copyright laws and UST copyright policies. For more information, see the UST Copyright site.

All users of St. Thomas network resources are subject to the Responsible Use of Technology Policies.

Due to licensing restrictions, most electronic resources must be accessed through EZ Proxy, and are only available to current faculty, faculty emeriti, staff, and registered/enrolled students of the University of St. Thomas.

Guest access to these resources is available at designated guest workstations in each of the university libraries.