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Computer Use and Internet Access

This policy covers the rules for using the computer and accessing the internet at the library.

Computer Use and Internet Access Policy

Approved: 02/19/2005

Updated: 02/2007; 11/24/2014

I)        Purpose

A)     The Wilson Memorial Library provides access to computers and the Internet as part of its mission.  The purpose of providing public Internet access is to expose the public to the world of information available on the Internet and to provide equal access to that information for all individuals in the community.

B)      The library has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content.  The Internet and its available resources may contain material of a controversial nature.  Individuals must accept responsibility for evaluating content.  As with other library materials, the library affirms responsibility of parents or guardians to guide their children’s use of the Internet.

II)      Responsibilities of the library

A)     Computers are available for public use during regular business hours, except during times of routine or emergency maintenance. 

B)      Since the Internet is a global electronic network, the Wilson Memorial Library has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content.  The Library has no means or statutory authority to assure that only constitutionally protected material is available on the Internet. That authority to determine what is obscene rests with the Keokuk County Attorney and the Iowa Attorney General (Sec. 728.6, Code of Iowa), not with the staff of the Library.  Public libraries are exempted under Sec. 728.7, Code of Iowa.  The availability of information does not constitute endorsement of the content by the Wilson Memorial Library.

C)      Wilson Memorial Library expressly disclaims any liability of responsibility arising from access to or use of information obtained through the Internet, or any consequences thereof.

D)     As stated in the American Library Association's Statement on the Use of Filtering Software in Libraries ". . . the use of filtering software to block access to constitutionally protected speech violates the Library Bill of Rights"; therefore, the Wilson Memorial Library will not impose blocking or filtering software to limit access to Internet sites.

E)      Library staff may provide a list of filtered search engines upon user request.  However, filtering search engines have technological limitations and cannot always adapt to the varying ages and maturity levels of individual users, nor guarantee blocking of what some may consider “objectionable” material.

III)    Responsibilities of users

A)     Computers access is free to the public.  However, users are responsible for paying a per-page charge for anything that they print from the computer.

B)      The Internet is a global entity with a highly diverse user population and information content. Though the Internet provides users with a wide array of excellent information, it also contains information that may be inaccurate, outdated, or personally offensive. Library patrons use it at their own risk. Use of Internet resources carries with it a responsibility to evaluate the quality of the information accessed.

C)      Access, use, or dissemination of information via the Internet in the Library is the responsibility of the user.  In the case of minors, it is a joint responsibility of the user and the parent or guardian.

D)     Illegal use of the internet is prohibited. It is illegal to use the library’s computers to access, view, print, distribute, display, send or receive images or graphics of material that violates laws relating to child pornography. Misuse of the computers will result in a loss of privileges. Viewing material that is materially offensive to those that can view the computer screen will also result in a loss of privileges.

E)      All patrons using the computers provided by the library are using a communal resource that must be maintained for the entire community. Therefore, installation of any software on the library’s computers must be cleared by the library director before installation. Failure to do so is grounds for suspension of library computer privileges. Audio materials may be accessed as long as the patron is using headphones to contain the sound, and the volume is low enough to be inaudible to close bystanders.

IV)   Use by persons under the age of 18

A)     Children under the age of 18 who want to use the internet must have a permission slip signed by a parent. 

B)      Permission from a parent or guardian provides acknowledgement that the library is not responsible for monitoring the content that the minor views. 

V)     Confidentiality

A)     The Library supports the right to privacy and confidentiality of its patrons and does not maintain records of our user’s computer use.

B)      The Internet is not a secure, private environment.  Customers handling financial transactions or other activities that require confidentiality do so at their own risk.  In general, electronic communication is not absolutely secure and is subject to outside intervention.  It is also subject to monitoring by network administrators in the usual performance of their duties.

C)      Users are urged to respect the sensibilities of others when accessing information that may reasonably be offensive to someone else. However, absolute privacy for patrons using electronic resources in the Library cannot be guaranteed. There exists a possibility of inadvertent viewing by other patrons, either by watching the user's screen, or because a user may leave the screen unattended.

VI)   Wireless

A)     The library provides free, unsecured, wireless internet access for public use.  The library does not provide technical support to privately-owned personal wireless devices.  Security for personal wireless devices rests solely with the owner of the wireless device.  Personal use of the library's public wireless access will conform with policies regulating other types of public internet access provided by the library. The library may require acknowledgement of its Internet Use Policy through a click-on agreement for patrons accessing wireless services or a signed paper copy of the policy.

VII) References

A)     This policy has been developed with reference to polices of the following libraries in Iowa: Ames Public Library, Harland Community Library and Perry Public Library.

This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.