Computer Use and Internet Safety Policy for Athens-Limestone Public Library
Athens-Limestone Public Library provides computer workstations, many with Internet access, to assist community residents of all ages with free and equal access to information which meets their individual needs.
The Internet provides a means to access information far beyond the Library’s own collections. However, the Internet is an unregulated medium. While most of the information accessed can be valuable and enlightening, the user may also find materials that are unreliable, personally offensive or illegal. Each user must take responsibility for his or her own activities while using the Internet, as well as all use by his or her minor children.
It is the policy of Athens-Limestone Public Library to:
(a) prevent user access over its computer network to, or transmission of, inappropriate material via Internet, electronic mail, or other forms of direct electronic communications;
(b) prevent unauthorized access and other unlawful online activity;
(c) prevent unauthorized online disclosure, use, or dissemination of personal identification information of minors;
(d) comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act [Pub. L. No. 106-554 and 47 USC 254(h).]
Key terms are as defined in the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).*
Access to Inappropriate Material
Technology protection measures (“Internet Filters”) shall be used to block or filter Internet access (as well as other forms of electronic communications) to inappropriate information.
Specifically, as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), blocking shall be applied to visual depictions of material deemed obscene or child pornography, or to any material deemed harmful to minors.
Technology measures may be disabled by Staff for bona fide research or lawful purposes by those users aged 17 and older.
Inappropriate Network Usage
To the extent practical, steps shall be taken to promote the safety and security of all users, including minors, accessing the Library’s online computer network when using electronic mail or other forms of direct electronic communications.
Specifically, as required by CIPA, inappropriate network usage includes:
(a) unauthorized access, including so-called ‘hacking,’ and other unlawful activities;
(b) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors.
Supervision and Monitoring
It shall be the responsibility of Library Staff to provide and maintain all computer workstations, including the online computer network and access to the Internet in accordance with this policy and the Children’s Internet Protection Act. Staff will not monitor an individual patron’s Internet use, except for length of use in order to ensure equal opportunity of access for everyone. The patron, or the parent of a minor, is responsible for his or her Internet session at all times.
Procedures for the disabling or otherwise modifying any technology protection measures shall be the responsibility of the Library Director or other Staff designated by the Director.
The Library reserves the right to terminate an Internet session which disrupts library services or that involves user behavior which violates the Library’s policies. Parents are responsible for their minor children’s use of all Library resources and facilities. As with all other Library resources, the Library affirms the right and responsibility of parents and/or legal guardians, not Library Staff, to determine and monitor their minor children’s use of the Internet. (Minors are defined in this policy as children and young people under the age of 17 years.) Parents concerned with content their children may encounter when using the Library’s Internet access are requested to monitor their own children’s Internet use.
Library Staff, with approval of the Director and within Board adopted Policy, will develop rules and procedures necessary to ensure fair and reasonable use of computer workstations, including those with Internet access.
Rules Governing Use
Computers may be used for one hour. If no one is waiting when the hour is up, the computer may be used until someone else signs in.
Print-outs are $.20 per page.
Use of Library computers is a privilege, not a right. Due to the limited resources available for provision of computers for public use and for public access to the Internet, the Library reserves the right to limit the amount of time an individual may use workstations, as well as which files can be downloaded and in what manner. The public must comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, including laws governing the transmission and dissemination of information while accessing the Internet.
Among the uses that are considered unacceptable and which constitute a violation of this policy are the following:
(1) Harassment of other users. [This includes standing behind other users’ computers or asking when they will be finished.] Invading privacy of others.
(2) Distributing advertising, or using computers for profit.
(3) Gambling on the Internet.
(4) Making unauthorized entry into other computational, informational or communication services or resources.
(5) Damaging or destroying equipment, software, or data belonging to the Library or to other users, including adding, altering, or deleting files on Library workstation hard drives or other Library computer equipment.
(6) Violating software license agreements.
(7) Violating computer system or network integrity, including attempts to bypass network security functions, obtain passwords, or alter the configuration of Library workstations in any way.
(8) Using the Internet for any illegal activity, including violation of copyright or other rights of third parties, or in a manner inconsistent with the Library’s tax-exempt status or its proper operation.
(9) Wasting finite resources. [This includes printing without paying].
(10) Accessing lewd or pornographic websites or material.
Violations of Library Policy and/or Procedures will result in loss of computer access. Unlawful activities will be dealt with in an appropriate manner.
While the Library endeavors to provide access to information of the highest quality, the Library specifically disclaims any warrant as to the information’s accuracy, timeliness, authoritativeness, usefulness or fitness for a particular purpose.
The Library will have no liability for direct, indirect, or consequential damages related to the use of information accessed through the Library’s Internet service.
Having installed and enforced the operation of filtering software in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, the Library will have no liability for damages related to the operation of, or failure of, the filtering software, or for its circumvention by users. [Filtering software is not foolproof. It diminishes the likelihood that searchers will inadvertently retrieve text or images that they may find offensive, but does not eliminate that possibility. Filters often block access to sites that users would consider both inoffensive and useful.]
Since software and information downloaded from any sources, including the Internet, may contain computer viruses, users are advised to utilize virus checking on their home computers. The Library is not responsible for damage to users’disks or computers or for any loss of data, damage or liability that may occur from use of the Library’s computers.
This Computer Use and Safety Policy was adopted by the Athens-Limestone Public Library Board of Trustees at a public meeting, following a public hearing held with advance notice, on May 4, 2004.
“Minor” – any child or young person under the age of 17.
“Technology Protection Measure” – a specific technology that blocks or filters Internet access to visual depictions that are:
- “Obscene” – as that term is defined in section 1460 of title 18, United States Code;
- “Child Pornography” – as that term is defined in section 2256 of title 18, United States Code;
- Harmful to minors.
“Harmful to Minors” – means any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that:
- Taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion;
- Depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals; and
- Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.
“Sexual Act;” “Sexual Contact” – have meanings given such terms in section 2246 of title 18, United States Code.
Adopted May 4, 2004