Policy on Staff E-Mail Use

Context and Purpose:  The use of e-mail has risen dramatically over the past several years.  Indeed, the day-to-day functioning of the Library would be slowed to a snail’s pace if it were not for the use of e-mail, not only to communicate with other Library staff, but to send electronic documents to one another and arrange meetings, among other things.  As with other resources available to Library staff we need to seek a balance between the use of e-mail to further efficiency and effectiveness at work, on the one hand, and the abuse of e-mail for non-library purposes.  The purpose of the following policy is to help us seek such a balance.

To encourage the use of e-mail:

  1. Each staff member is expected to check, read and respond to university e-mail at least once a day.  The time spent in this activity will depend on the level and responsibility of the staff member concerned.
  2. Supervisors should ensure that their staff have access to e-mail and that they check it on a daily basis.

To discourage abuse of e-mail

  1. Personal use of e-mail (including instant messaging) during work hours should be minimal.  Within each unit each unit head will determine and set guidelines to restrict personal use.

Other considerations and policies governing e-mail:  Each staff member has access to the use of e-mail by virtue of employment at the University of Illinois.  This access is a privilege and because the e-mail is a University resource, it is the property of the University. (CITES policy reads: “Use  [of e-mail] by University employees unrelated to their University positions must be limited in both time and resources and must not interfere in any way with University functions or the employee’s duties.  It is the responsibility of employees to consult their supervisors, if they have any questions in this respect. “Use of UIUCnet is a privilege, not a right, which may be suspended of terminated by CCSO when, in its judgment, this policy has been violated by the user.” … (and further) “University-supplied network identifiers (network IDs), University identification numbers, and computer sign-ons are the property of the University. The University may revoke these identifiers or sign-ons at any time.) The main purpose for a university e-mail account is university business. See Policy on Appropriate Use of Computers and Network Systems .

E-mail produced from within the University is also considered a university record and as such must be handled according to the University General Rules on records retention and disposition as well as the policies of the Illinois State Records Commission, “ Destruction or Transfer of University Records.”

Guidelines relating to records retention will be covered in a separate library policy statement.

Approved by Library Administrative Council on 10/7/02

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