Information Services

INF-1 Priorities for Reference Service

Reference services are an essential part of public library services. It is important that each individual who asks for assistance in finding information be treated with respect, that each question be taken seriously, and that these transactions be handled confidentially. Inquiries from customers present in the Library are of greater priority than those inquiries received by telephone, email, or other electronic communications.

INF-2 Interlibrary Loan


Patron requests for items not in the collection will normally be reviewed for purchase. When such items do not meet the Library’s selection criteria or are not in print, the Library will attempt to borrow the items from another library through interlibrary loan.

A patron must request the item in consultation with a staff member. Requests can be placed in person, through the Library’s website, or email. The patron will need to provide as much information as possible about the item and a staff member will verify that information in a centralized database that will also list which libraries have that item in their collection. The patron must provide a valid phone number and/or email address in order to be notified of the availability of the item.

  • Items published in the current year.
  • Audiovisual materials.
  • Copies of bound periodicals (though photocopies can be requested.)

The Library will always attempt to borrow from libraries that do not charge; however, some libraries charge a fee. These will be passed on to the patron. If a fee is required, the patron must pay this at the time of the request.

The Library will not process interlibrary loans for patrons with fines or fees on their cards until the charges are cleared. Patrons are allowed to request five (5) interlibrary loan items per month. When an interlibrary loan item is processed at the Library, the patron will be notified by telephone or email that it is ready to be picked up. The loan periods for interlibrary loan items are set by the loaning library and may vary greatly depending on the loaning library. Interlibrary loans are not renewable.

Patrons who do not pick up their interlibrary loans will receive a warning letter the first time and will be assessed a $9.00 fine each time thereafter. If a patron loses or damages an interlibrary loan item, they will be assessed the value of the item as set by the loaning library.

INF-3 Use of Library Computers & Network Resources

Patrons’ Access to Services

Current cardholders may use their card, and only their own card, to access the Library’s computers for two hours per day. (Provisional language approved: 09/09/2021)

Intent of Policies

The intent of these policies is to assist patrons in the identification of acceptable and unacceptable uses of Billings Public Library’s computer resources, although patrons should not consider the policies contained herein as exhaustive.

Express Computer

The library offers an express computer station as a courtesy to visitors who need quick access to the internet to check email, print a boarding pass, or other simple online tasks. Sessions are limited to 15 minutes. A library card or guest pass is not required. Cardholders may not use the express station to bypass limits posed by account fines or the 2-hour daily computer time maximum.

DATA Computers

The Data computers (2DATA 1 through 4) are to be utilized for accessing the catalog, databases, office suite, and white list websites. No library card is required to access the Data computers. Each Data computer has a two (2) hour time limit with an option to extend the session in the event the user is utilizing the computer for job searching, business, or academic purposes. The Data computers are not to be used for movie watching or playing video games.  

Intent of Policies

The intent of these policies is to assist patrons in the identification of acceptable and unacceptable uses of Billings Public Library’s computer resources, although patrons should not consider the policies contained herein as exhaustive.

Compliance with Policies Required

Patrons are required to comply with both the letter and spirit of these policies. Violations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Violations may result in restriction or revocation of a Patron’s computer and/or other Library-use privileges.

Compliance with Applicable Laws Required

Use of computers, network resources and Internet access in violation of international, federal, state or local laws or regulations, copyright law, and licensing agreements, including but not limited to the illegal copying of software, is prohibited. Using Library computers to copy and distribute copyright protected material may be an infringement on copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code and amended Digital Millennium Copyright Act). The Library reserves the right to deny internet workstation access to Library patrons who do not comply with laws and regulations. Patrons are encouraged to immediately report suspected or actual violations to the Library Director.

Compliance with Other Policies

Patrons must abide by the acceptable use policies of other networks.

Inappropriate Use

Use of Library computers and networks in a manner that precludes or significantly hampers its use by others is not allowed.

Equipment Failure

Data circuits and equipment are subject to failure which can cause services to become unavailable. Therefore, no guarantees for constant service are expressed or implied.

Patron Data

Ultimate responsibility for resolution of problems related to the invasion of the patron’s privacy or loss of data rests with the patron. The Library assumes no liability for loss or damage to the patron’s data or for any damage or injury arising from invasion of the patron’s privacy.

Downloading Software

Patrons shall not download or copy files to workstation hard drives. Downloading to storage media such as USB drives is permitted.

Use of Library Workstations and Networks

Patrons must use workstations as they are provided and may not use personal software or modify the operating system or network configuration.

Patrons Not to Introduce or Attempt to Eradicate Computer Viruses

Patrons may not introduce malicious programs such as viruses, worms and Trojan horses to Internet stations. If a patron suspects the presence of a virus, he/she should immediately contact the Library staff for assistance.

Library Computer Security

Patrons shall not attempt to circumvent Library computer security. This includes, but is not limited to, accessing data not intended for the user, logging into a computer account the user is not expressly authorized to access or attempting to gain access to the Library’s servers.

Responsibilities of Users

The user is responsible for correct use of the tools available for maintaining the security of information on each computer system. The following precautions are recommended:

  • Usernames, passwords and other types of authorization that are assigned to individual patrons should not be shared with others.
  • Files saved on Library computing resources may not be totally secure.
  • The patron should be aware of computer viruses and other destructive computer programs, and take steps to avoid being a victim or unwitting distributor of these processes.


Any misuse which compromises system security is prohibited.


Patrons are prohibited from excessive consumption of resources, including, but not limited to, CPU time and network bandwidth.


The Billings Public Library reserves the right to examine and delete any data stored on its hard drives.

INF-3.1 Limitations On internet Access

Assistance by Library Staff

Library staff may be available to offer assistance with searching, but cannot monitor or control the materials which may be accessible from the Internet. Those who search are responsible for their own searches, the information found in them and the use of that information.

Wireless Access

The Library may provide free wireless internet access for users with portable computers or devices capable of receiving wireless signals during the Library’s normal hours of operation.
Library staff will provide general information on the settings necessary to access the internet via these connections, but are not responsible for any changes made to the user’s computer settings.

If a user has problems accessing the Internet over these connections, staff will verify the library’s connections are up and running, but cannot assist in making changes to the user’s network settings or troubleshoot on a computer not owned by the Library. Users should refer to owner’s manuals or other support services offered by the device manufacturer.

The Library’s wireless connection is not secure. Any information sent or received could potentially be intercepted by another wireless user. Cautious wireless users may choose not to transmit their credit card information, passwords and any other sensitive personal information. Users are encouraged to take appropriate precautions when using this service.

The Library will not be responsible for information, e.g. credit card number, which is compromised, or for damage caused to hardware, software or data files due to electric surges, security issues or consequences caused by viruses or hacking. All wireless access users are encouraged to have up-to-date virus protection on their wireless device.

Use of the Library’s wireless internet access is governed by all provisions of the Library’s Use of Internet Services policy. Use of the service is understood to mean agreement to comply with all such provisions. All users are expected to use the Library’s wireless access in a legal and responsible manner consistent with the purposes for which it is provided.


Headphones are required for listening to any resource with an audio component. Users may purchase headphones from the Library or use their own.

Unacceptable Uses

A patron must comply with the following guidelines when using the Library’s Internet Stations:

Threatening, Harassing or Obscene Data Prohibited

It is not acceptable to use Internet access to transmit or receive threatening, obscene, or harassing materials, or to interfere with or disrupt network users, services or equipment. Disruptions include, but are not limited to propagation of computer worms and viruses, and using the network to make unauthorized entry to any other network resource. (Provisional language approved: 09/09/2021)

Private Information / Resources

It is not acceptable for an individual to use the Internet to access information or resources unless permission to do so has been granted by the owners or holders of rights to those resources or information.

External Networks

Patrons who access networks or facilities not owned by the Library will adhere to the policies and procedures established by the administrators of these networks and facilities.

Inappropriate Use


Use of Internet access and any attached network in a manner that precludes or significantly hampers its use by others is not allowed.

Limitations On internet Access

The Library provides a limited number of computers with unfiltered access. To safeguard minors in the Children’s Services and Teen areas from inadvertent or intentional exposure to illegal and/or inappropriate images, texts or other resources on Internet stations located in the area, the Library will research, evaluate, and implement such technological and/or procedural solutions as privacy screens, filtering software, and others. Upon noticing or being notified that a user is accessing graphic, sexually-oriented material in the Children’s Services or Teen areas, or on a vertical monitor in the Computer Commons, Library staff or security guards shall require the person using the workstation to discontinue viewing that material in those areas; the user may continue to use the station if they do not continue to view such material or they may move to a recessed-monitor workstation in the Computer Commons. Failure to comply will be considered a violation of the Patron Conduct policy.


To minimize the risk of minors being exposed to illegal and/or inappropriate images, texts or other resources on Library Internet workstations, children age 17 and under will be restricted to filtered access. A parent or guardian of a child in this age group may choose to opt out of this restriction, in accordance with the Parental Guidance policy (CUS-2, p. 9). Guidelines for filter criteria will be established by the Library Board as a part of its review and adoption of the Library’s Collection Management Policy.