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Logging into Library Computers

13 July 2009 by Megan Stark

In support of our primary users, UM students, staff and faculty, the computers marked “NetID Access” now require a university login. We also continue to provide the community with access to our information resources by designating some of our computers as “Open Access” with 60-minute sessions without a login. If you have any questions, please let us know!

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23 Responses to “Logging into Library Computers”

  1. rodolfo villarreal-rios Says:

    It is an excellent idea.

  2. Skye Berns Says:

    Subject: illegal to cut off access to public computers
    please don’t cut off our computers, its tax payer money, most of us are former students, I spend well over $500 a month on printing for earthbound productions as well as the top hat and elks lodge, and I dont even know if I will be able to print the 200 8.5×11 and 100 11x17s, in about five minutes, so I am not happy, simply put taxpayer monies payed for the computers and salarys of folks working and yours, not student fees, keep groovin and go seee live music and please return the computers back to the public


    skye berns
    booking and promotions
    earthbound productions

  3. Micah Says:

    My initial reaction was that it is a great idea. I’ve often been frustrated to see computers being used by “patrons” who come to the library to play online games, watch youTube, or waste time on MySpace or Facebook. I don’t believe that the library has any obligation to provide access to such services, especially if that computer use prevents a tuition-paying student from accessing a computer for educational purposes.

    However, I just talked to a former student who was VERY upset about the new policy. He felt it was unfair to restrict public access to the computers, especially considering that he is a UM alumnus. I can understand his frustration, because he was a student in the past and because he doesn’t have his own computer.
    I did ask him about the computers that are still public access, and he was appalled that he’d have to WAIT to use one, just like he would at the PUBLIC Library. I’m sure he would have commented here if he’d been able to use one.

    I can understand that there are good reasons for the decision, but it is also going to upset a lot of people. No one likes to find out suddenly that a privilege (certainly not a right) that was previously available has now become unavailable (just like the restriction of the Montana Collection to in-library use during business hours).

  4. Skye Berns Says:




  5. bob bookworm Says:

    As part of a public institution that relies on public funding for its daily operations and capital improvements, the UM library’s “primary users” are anyone and everyone who walks through its entrance doors. Surely Mike Mansfield -the library’s namesake- wouldn’t have it any other way.

    The library’s webpage hereinabove falsely alleges that its denial of access to free and open computer use is supportive of its “primary users” that it picks and choses to be staff and students. Yet staff and faculty have their own university-provided computers elsewhere and students (many, many students) spend a great deal of time on any given day using library computers for non-study activities. I have personally witnessed students’computer use at all times of day on countless days and a good deal of it involves non-study activity. Just go to the library yourself and look around at any time! You’ll also witness many students on lengthy and repetitious telephone calls concurrent with their occupation of a computer station. Effectively banning telephone use would free-up numerous computers! It is a library after all!

    The patrons that Micah begrudges in her message above are more than likely students, as well as non-students. Micah’s ignorance or intentional misrepresentation of reality jives with her misstatement that UM library computer use is a ‘privilege’ and not a right. In fact, the public computer use is a right. The library may not restrict the use of one of its library books to a particular person or class and it similarly may not restrict the use of a computer either, given that it is an informational resource, and a superior one by some accounts.

    The library is a federal depository, and thusly should not act in callous indifference by breaching its duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution, which is nonetheless its obligation regardless of its federal status.

    Separately, the library is heavily or entirely funded by public funds derived from tax payments and the like. Recently Montana’s governor may have withheld some funding to the university. Perhaps he and the feds should permanently withold all public moneys from the university and stop heavily subsidizing or guaranteeing loans to the vast majority of the university’s student population. That way the public money could be funneled to the Missoula Public Library to increase its book collections or computer offering, the latter of which is woefully inadequate by most standards.

    The library squanders public moneys on library over-staffing during both classes and summertime. Just look around at the numerous student library employees standing around unoccupied and looking hopelessly bored. If the library administration feels that it needs additional computers to meet patrons’ needs then it could spend that wasted money on additional computer equipment. Instead, the library currently plans to spend big bucks to replace the current computer tables with new [read expensive] modular tables, without cause.

    Micah left out the fact that only FOUR computers are labeled public access at this time, regardless of the number of Net ID computers that sit unused. The library may increase the number by a few more, but cannot state its plans at the date of the service denial.

    Micah left out even more facts, like the trivial little fact that UM police arrested the young man whom she wrote about, despite the fact that his actions were entirely legal and appropriate. His actions were commendable by the observers’ remarks that I overheard and the spontaneous applause that broke out when he publicly announced that he was unwillingly going to be arrested without cause. His crime? None. His actions? To quietly and respectfully personally inform one patron after another that each should write an email to Sue Sampson at the library voicing any disagreement about the denial of access to computers which begins tomorrow. It lookd like the university will have to spend some money defending its unlawful arrest instead of buying some computers. I have no connection to the man. Without personal knowledge, I think Micah may be a shill for the library adminstration.

    Lastly, since I am obviously not an enrolled student, would a student kindly share/trade a NetID with me, please. I can pay $!!!

  6. Johansen Says:

    I am also upset with your Draconian policy of limiting public access to publicly funded library resources such as the computers in the Mansfield Library. Your direction away from a community based supported library resources to a for- profit institution goes against some of the very principals some of the founding alumni based this university on !!
    You should be ashamed!!!

  7. Billy Jean Says:

    I could not be happier with the library new policy of public use with the computers. Yes people pay tax money, but it does not amount anywhere close to what students pay to use the library. There has been SEVERAL times where I needed to use a computer before class and was unable to because non-students and children was using the computer. It is irriating when you look at a computer screen and all you see is non-school related website.

    Instead of complaining about the university new policy, why not get a job, save some money and buy your own computer. I will be graduating in December and will no longer have access to the Mansfield Library. Tough luck I guess :)

  8. John Smith Says:

    The new policy is not a surprise to me nor is it unwanted. The decision to change the computer access has been posted since before June of this year, and the news that the common areas of the Mansfield Library would be re-arranged has been publicly displayed since Feb! More importantly I have read numerous posts complaining about how the library may not restrict access as the computers are paid by tax payer’s money… Wrong. The Mansfield Library’s electronic access is almost entirely paid for by University students and their fees that are paid yearly with tuition! The Mansfield Library should be commended for attempting to help the students for whome this Library (a University Library!) was originally built. As for the gentleman arrested the other day I was present and he was arrested because he was disrupting patrons and even then he was given the option to speak to people outside the library- he refused to leave and then was arrested for being disorderly!

  9. Jordan Says:

    I completely agree with Billy Jean. I am not sure what you non students think but it is getting more and more expensive to attend school. Our tuition costs are footing most of the bill and those computers are needed to do school related work. If they could limit the use of personal websites that would be wonderful but they can’t and both students and non students are guilty of using the computers for non work/school related websurfing.

    I do not believe the man was in his rights to go around and “inform”/annoy patrons. If he wanted to stand outside and do it that would be fine but to bother patrons that were trying to make use of their library time is not ok.

    If you have a problem with students using the computers at their university then go get your own computer you don’t even need to pay for the internet go to a wireless cafe. Students already have to pay a huge amount of money in tuition costs and supplies so most of us are broke, whats your excuse? Congrats on you paying taxes to the University which most likely keeps many of the buisnesses around here going and which helps make productive members of society, give yourselves a big pat on the back. Just because you used to go here doesn’t mean anyone cares, you graduated hopefully have a good job, move on. And let the rest of us work towards our goals.

  10. Tom Student Says:

    I couldn’t support this move more. Computers are NOT all taxpayer funded. On my student bill each semester I am being charged for these computers under the “T002 Computer Fees, T004 Equipment Fees, and T005 Technology Fee” sections. I say as long as I am paying for these computers why should people who are not paying be allowed to use them? If i could save that money over 8 semesters of college, I could buy several computers. If I can stop paying each semester for STUDENT computer usage, then–and only then–would I be in favor of reversing this policy. It’s simply not right to charge some and not others. This policy is also in line with the vast majority of American public universities. Most campus libraries require student ID for gaining entry into the buildings themselves. There are still public usage computers and free public borrowing options which is more than most universities offer.

    Until everybody pays computer fees, why should everybody be allowed to use them? Maybe a policy where everybody who wants computer usage at Mansfield library pays a flat semester rate would be the best option. Until then…

    Also, before the university and library are lambasted for “squandering taxpayer money” let’s not forget the massive influx of money a major university brings to such a small community–jobs, income, student spending.

  11. Micah Says:

    Gee, “Bob Bookworm,” thanks so much for putting me in my place…

    “Micah left out the fact…”
    “Micah left out even more facts, like the trivial little fact that UM police arrested the young man whom she [he] wrote about…”

    You’re right, that probably was the guy I talked to. I’m terribly sorry that I was too busy using MY OWN computer on another level of the library to follow him around and take notes as he was arrested. Note the time of my last post, and the time of the post about him getting arrested.

    “Micah’s ignorance or intentional misrepresentation of reality jives with her [his] misstatement that UM library computer use is a ‘privilege’ and not a right. In fact, the public computer use is a right.”

    Maybe I should clarify: Internet access is NOT a right, in my opinion, but then again, I’m no Constitutional scholar.

    “…I think Micah may be a shill for the library adminstration.”

    Wow. Really? Because surely I couldn’t come up with my own opinion?

    Chill out, Mr. Bookworm.

  12. Concerned FacultyMember Says:

    This is a thinly veiled (very thin) attempt to clear out all the smelly transients from the library. The library used to champion the right of everyone to get information in a private way. Starting last summer it appears that the library has tried to “crack down” on non students. Very misguided. It appears to be run by and for older, privileged, white woman.

  13. Bonnie Allen Says:

    As Dean of Libraries, I want to respond to some of the concerns articulated in the blog posts.
    First the idea of the right to have access by the general public as tax payers.
    Historically, public universities were founded with the support of tax revenues and other forms of public moneys for the greater good of the population, the growth of the economy and to sustain an informed society. The source of the funds have established a variety of responsibilities and standards for public universities but they do not override the obligation the university has for effective operation and delivery of its academic mission.
    If we follow the money today, the argument for equal and full rights to the university resources is weakened in light of the weakening of the proportion of public funding for universities in the past two decades. A full discussion and the funding model for UM can be found at which is the campus office of budget and planning. At that site the MUS Environmental Scan 2007 provides a section for the financial picture of higher ed (slide 81 and onward). In that presentation there is evidence that Montana ranks in the bottom three state for its ratio of spending on higher education, that only 7.8% of tax revenues (2006) was sent to higher education in Montana and yet the internal rate of return of that investment in higher ed is the highest in the country. The quick facts on this same site supports what the students are saying in the blog that the tuition and fees paid by the students account for the majority (approx 60%) of the general funds that are used to operate the university–twenty years ago, the state provided this proportion.

    The primary “customer” of the library and the university has to be the students, faculty and staff of the university to achieve our central mission of education. This does not ignore our philosophical and real service to the community at large as evidenced by the availability of innumerable educational and cultural opportunities from the university to the citizens of Montana as well as the enrichment of university received from the talents and expertise of the citizens we serve.

    The Mansfield Library has and continues to provide a wealth of information in its book collection, its electronic resources, archives as well as the expertise that resides in the library that is daily shared with all who enter. We have also provided free internet access and up to date computer access. We will continue to do so.

    The recent change is part of the library’s evolution to provide new services to the university community and to expand the use of the library as a learning environment for its students. This change has been displayed in the library entrance since February. Changes on the main service floor and the whole library will continue in the coming months and years.

    The public still has access to the internet, use of a computer plus the electronic collections as in the past. We meet the requirements to public access to government documents in keeping with our designation as a depository library to access to the federal government publications with this form of access and will put into place procedure for extended access to that specific collection as the need arises.

    The usage of the library computers by members of the community has reached a point that the resource needed to be better managed so that the university community is not impeded. At the same time, the habits of some members of the community to use the computers for several hours a day, every day for whatever purpose–research, entertainment, and to run a business–impede the equal access of the community to the public computers, so we will be placing time limits on the public usage to provide equitable access for that group. Software will set the limits and manage that process. Expect this to happen soon.

  14. Concerned UMStaff Member Says:

    To Concerned Faculty Member: I find your injection of race and social class into this issue to be offensive and totally irrelevant. If you are truly a concerned faculty member, you should be concerned that your students have unimpeded access to all of the resources needed to complete their research and classwork. If you find that your main concern instead runs to issues of race and class, perhaps you need to find a new career and venue for expressing those concerns.

  15. informed library observer Says:

    Librarian Allen’s July 22 post is unmitigated deceits, like the library’s unlawful arrest of Mr. Stocks. Allen falsely portrays UM, the library, and students as ‘givers’, and the public as ‘takers’. The opposite is true. The 40% of UM’s funding provided by outside sources (taxpayers, donors, et al.), is an enormous amount of money. Yet, Allen uses deceit to (1) cite the 40% public-funding contribution, (2) ignore its enormity, (3) misuse that statistic and others to falsely justify the library’s denial of public access.
    For their financial contributions to UM, students obtain a direct benefit –their education. Despite its enormous contributions, the public gets no direct benefit whatsoever. Until now, unfettered library access was probably the sole direct benefit that the public garnered for its hefty contributions.
    Allen deceitfully asserts that the public gets all kinds of benefits from the university, although that is untrue. Without additional fee payments for each benefit, the public gets nothing, although some ego-centric students promise that they will ‘contribute to society’ someday in return for public largesse today.
    Allen deceitfully asserts that students/staff are the primary users of the library and that the public is secondary. Then Allen deceitfully advocates a policy to ‘manage’ the few (public users) while ignoring the many (students). Bizarre! Despicable!
    Allen deceitfully alleges that only the public ‘impedes’ the library’s ‘primary users.’ That is untrue. Empirically, many self-centered students impede other students and the public. Every day many selfish students occupy computer workstations without using the computers. Instead, these students converse; leave stations to use telephones, take lunch breaks or attend classes; read books without touching the keyboard, etc. Many students continuously use computers for non-academic purposes, as permitted. Public users do some of these things also, but far more students do it –at all hours, every day. Students cause far more disturbances. If Allen were a capable or equitable manager, she would manage students’ computer use in an equivalent manner to the public-use management that she espouses. Obviously, Allen uses deceit to conceal her true motives for denying public access. “Concerned faculty…” may be correct. UM may soon defend itself for class-based animus!
    Allen’s assertion of a need to deny public access is exposed as deceit by the availability of many unused computers on school days or during breaks or all summer long. Even during semester any honest observer can observe that library computers are available at almost any hour. Only during mid-day on weekdays are all stations often occupied, although not always.
    Allen deceitfully asserts that the public is not denied access by the library’s new system, yet the opposite is true, as Allen alternately asserts and denies. Empirical evidence since the change occurred exposes the truth; individual public patrons or students often utilize the limited-access computers well beyond the library’s hour-length time limit, whether other patrons are waiting to use them or not. Yet Allen deceitfully asserts that public needs are met.
    Allen’s blog is quite revelatory, but not in the way that Allen intended. Mr. Stocks is certain to prevail at trial based on evidence, and UM may lose public funding to its detriment.

  16. Concerned UMStaff Member Says:

    I am continually amazed at the mentality of entitlement that has been revealed both here and in the comments on the Missoulian’s website. So a bit of your tax money goes toward the University. So what? Your tax money goes toward the upkeep of city utilities, too, yet people who own cars are still charged fees to license their vehicles; homeowners are still charged water and sewer fees based on usage _on top of_ base fees we _all_ pay. We should all be happy that we live during an era where worldwide connectivity through the web is even possible. And here in town, it _is_ available for free at the Missoula _Public_ Library (on a first come, first served basis & with a time limit), and at several terminals here on campus at the University (ie Academic) library. Best Buy certainly got tax subsidies to open a store here, try going to them and ask to use their computers and get on the ‘net. Get over yourselves, people. Being told you can’t have everything you want when you want it is not discrimination or racism or classism or any other ‘ism.’ It’s real life. No better time than now to get used to it.

  17. informed library observer Says:

    Has any reader noticed that “concerned staff member” is ‘concerned’ about herself and no one else? ‘Staff’ frivolously flaunts the two things she accuses others of, i.e., irrelevance and self-entitlement. She never stops arguing the irrelevant and her own entitlement. Has anyone made herself so obvious in so few words except perhaps Cinderella with her “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”? I sincerely hope her diatribes do not discourage valid discourse on this blog, and encourage anyone with a valid opinion to post.

  18. Ron Says:

    “informed library observer” is right. Students use the computer area to socialize, charge their iPods and iPhones and strew books around as if paying the school $2,000 a month buys them the privilege. Well, I’m a donor to the UM. On the back of every dollar I send them I write: “to be used on behalf of NON-STUDENTS of the University of Montana.” We all know what “non-students” means (homeless people, minorities – in roughly a 40/60 breakdown). No one should point out that a public library exists in Missoula. That’s where the stinky sweat-pants people go. This blog was created to encourage hysterical discourse about class discrimination and Disney films (so long as their quotes are mis-attributed). Face it, our library’s policies foster ignorance: “informed library observer” isn’t even allowed enough computer access time for a full viewing of Cinderella at Mansfield Library. Otherwise he’d know she never said that. Our institution keeps destitute men like him totally in the dark about popular film quotations and the meanings of words like “entitlement.” As a poor Jewish man once said, “It’s no shame to be poor, but it’s no great honor either!” I’m pretty sure that man was Jesus. But now that the Mansfield Library limits public internet usage to a mere eight people at a time, I have no human way of finding out.

  19. Dysney Fan Says:

    Dude, Mr. informed lib. observer, really sorry to tear down your wall of stupidity. First off it was snow white and her evil step mother that talked to the mirror on the wall. Second, site some freaking sources, you keep spitting things out but I can’t believe you because they are just coming from your rear end.

  20. informed library observer Says:

    Dear fan club/Ron:
    You guys are just Goofy! I learned that it was Snow White days ago… from a fem. Next time I’ll check with you men first!!! Love your spelling [mis-spelling] and thoughtless thoughts!!! Judging from your remarks, I’m a little shocked that you can even read!!!

  21. Sideliner Says:

    First of all, I am an individual who does not use the computers in the lobby of the library. While I will undoubtedly be chastised for whatever I say, I feel it necessary to comment nonetheless as some of the comments are disturbing. To begin with, I have heard people on both sides of the issue comment on what is “appropriate” computer use. What makes anybody qualified to judge what is appropriate? Facebook is used regularly by law enforcement agencies during investigations. Facebook is also used by journalists for reports, etc. YouTube has many videos which are informative. Again, who are we to judge if somebody wasting time on YouTube or are engaged in enriching their understanding of the world. An individual may be playing a game, which may appear a waste of computing resources to a passer-by, but how are we to know that they are not writing a review of the website/game? We don’t. That is my first point – in a place of learning and information access, one should be free to pursue whatever information they choose, provided it is within the law. That being said, a limited resource must be managed and delegated. Ultimately the resources of the library are overseen by an individual who has been deemed competent and that person is the Dean of the library. You can disagree with the Dean but you will have to provide more than an opinion to convince me that the new policies regarding access to the computers are unfair. I have yet to see any trustworthy evidence submitted to demonstrate a misstep on the library’s part. The second matter I feel obligated to write about is the way in which individuals lack respect for quality discourse. By implying that the Dean of Libraries is incapable (…”If Allen were a capable or equitable manager, she would manage students’ computer use…”) is, in my opinion, unfounded and, therefore, uncalled for. The personal affronts (“…Micah’s ignorance…”, “…destitute men like him…”, “…I’m a little shocked that you can even read…”) contained in the blog responses have no place in a useful dialogue. The bottom line is that if you don’t like what is going on, state your case, provide citations for factual evidence and state personal opinions as such. If you have an opinion, express it. If you want constructive dialogue, think about what you say and the judgments you are making. Finally, as a supporter of the University of Montana, I ask any individual who believes that the University does not directly contribute to Missoula to think about the history of Missoula and how the U of M has influenced it. If that doesn’t interest them, maybe they can speak with some of the business owners in town. As a third option, you can look at numbers. At, you see that they state that the University of Montana comprises 18% of Missoula’s economic base. In my opinion, that is a significant and reliable economic benefit. Now the countdown- how long will it take to have a retort to my comments posted?

  22. Skye Berns Says:

    forty percent is millions of dollars a year
    the university is “education for all peoples”–not just enrollees(you can walk on the sidewalk, climb trees, read books, use the restroom, hike the m) apparently computers arent cool for public use
    missoulas public library is a joke, hour long waits for computers and then you only get that amount of time
    even during the busiest times I have been at Mansfeild–like 1-20 mins but usually no wait and this is like 1pm during finals
    again forty percent of taxes is a lot of fucking money, as is the u dispersal of the number 18% of missoulas economy, well i guess im glad that 20 percent of missoulas population is putting out 18% of sales
    what about dude that got arrested he was NOT being unruly and I hope they call me to court as a witness long live american freeedoms since they seem to diappear like the tides
    …had to write a month later, cuz the rules still in effect and i havent been able to go back since fraid of the cops that hustle the bill of rights for there own greed to fill up a jail cell under the influence of Prez Dennison, we have much larger problems to deal with but theres never been a more larger problem than a small one


    skye berns

  23. Sideliner Says:

    Let us look at the numbers for the University of Montana ( > 2008-2009):

    2008-09 Current Funds Revenues (in millions of dollars):

    State Appropriations $ 50.6
    Tuition & Fees 83.1
    Financial Aid Programs 13.5
    Gifts, Grants & Contracts 66.3
    Auxiliary Enterprises 46.2
    Designated Fees 42.3
    Miscellaneous 1.2
    Total $303.2

    Math was never my strong suit but it appears that only 17% of the university’s income is from state appropriations. This is very little money coming from the taxpayers and a lot of money coming from entities or individuals who CHOOSE to give UM their money. Lets look at it in an oversimplified way… If the 967,440 people living in Montana ( all paid the same amount for the state appropriations part of the university budget, it amounts to $52.30 a year. The amount of money that goes to the library, I assume, is a small percentage of that sum. No matter how you divide the fund, it is miniscule.

    Is the heart of the issue choosing where tax dollars go? Do I use the facilities at MSU Bozeman? No. Have I ever been to Makoshika State Park in Eastern Montana? No. Do I have a problem with my tax dollars going to them? No. – Brace yourself – here comes a cliché: All for one and one for all! I believe in making decisions based on how it will benefit others and not myself. I may be naive but I think if we all spent a little more time thinking about others and less about ourselves, we would all be better off in this world.

    Nothing I say will mean anything if you hold a mistrust of others of the country we live in. I see the laws of our country as something that helps protect my rights, freedoms and my American experience. I cannot find peace in chaos but peace, for me, is easy to find when things are kept in order. I guess that is why we commonly refer to police as peace officers.

    Another long-winded comment… [sigh]