Internet Use & Safety Policy

Purpose Statement

The Library’s mission is to respond to the community’s changing requirements for education, information, culture, recreation, and personal advancement, by providing free and open access to a broad spectrum of materials, programs, and services. The Library is committed to the principles of intellectual freedom in providing freely and equally to all members of the community resources whose contents span the panorama of human thought and experience.

In keeping with its mission, the Library uses technology to assist in bringing the wider world of information to the public, and will provide public access to the Internet and the World Wide Web.

The Internet is a global, electronic network that provides dynamic and ever-changing sources of information. The Port Washington Public Library does not monitor and has no control over the information accessed through the Internet, and cannot guarantee the content, quality, or accuracy of information transmitted. Any patron who enters a fee-based service must incur any and all charges involved in the transaction.

Restriction of a child’s access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. Parents, guardians or care-givers are encouraged to actively participate with their children when using the Internet or other electronic resources, and to provide guidance for their usage.

Internet users must comply with United States copyright law and all applicable state and federal laws.

Responsibilities of Library Staff and Users

Library staff will not monitor a user’s Internet use, except for length of use in order to ensure equal opportunity of access for everyone. The user, or parent or legal guardian of a minor, is responsible for his or her Internet sessions at all times. There is a time limit for Internet use when other patrons are waiting to use the computers. Due to the limited resources available to the provision of public access to the Internet, the Library may set limits on the use of large files of still or moving images or sound, or on downloading files in any medium.

Disclaimers

While the Library endeavors to provide access to information of the highest quality, it does not endorse or sanction the content or point of view of any information or commentary found on the Internet. The Library specifically disclaims any warranties as to the information’s accuracy, timeliness, authoritativeness, usefulness or fitness for a particular purpose.

The Library assumes no responsibility for direct, indirect or consequential damages related to the use of information accessed through the Library’s Internet service.

Supervising Children’s Use

The Children’s Library uses Content Protect Professional filtering software. The Library and its staff do not and cannot act in the place of parents in providing supervision of children as they explore the Internet and other electronic devices. Parents or legal guardians assume all responsibility for deciding which library resources are appropriate for their own children. Parents or legal guardians should guide their children in the use of the Internet and inform them about materials they should not use.

While the Library affirms the responsibilities of parents and guardians to monitor and determine their children’s access to Library materials and resources, including those available through computers, the Library has taken certain measures designed to assist in the safe and effective use of these resources by all minors:

a. To address the issue of access by minors to inappropriate material on the Internet, including material that is harmful to minors, the Library:

i. Develops and maintains special web sites for children and teens;
ii. Develops and provides training programs on safe and effective Internet use; and
iii. Distributes relevant publications about safe Internet use.

b. To address the issue of the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications, as well as the unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors, the Library provides training programs. Minors shall adhere to the following safety guidelines:

i. Never give out identifying information such as home address, school name, or telephone number.
ii. Let parents or guardians decide whether personal information such as age, marital status, or financial information should be revealed.
iii. Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone via the computer without parents’ or guardians’ approval.
iv. Never respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, threatening, or make one uncomfortable.

Acceptable Use Rules

1. Computers shall not be used for illegal activities or to access illegal materials. Transmitting and/or receiving obscene documents and/or child pornography is a violation of law and is not permitted under any circumstances.
2. Internet computers shall not be used to communicate threats of violence or engage in communications that are harassing as defined by law.
3. Minors, whether or not accompanied by a parent or guardian, shall not use computers to access materials “harmful to minors” as currently defined by law.
4. Installation, downloading or modification of software is prohibited.
5. Users shall respect all copyright laws and licensing agreements.
6. Users shall not make any attempt to gain access to restricted computer files or networks or to damage or modify computer equipment or software.
7. Users shall respect the privacy of others and shall refrain from attempting to view or read material being used by others.
8. Users are financially responsible for any charges that they may incur from their use
of the Internet.
9. Minors should NEVER disclose any personal identification information over the Internet.
10. Users shall not intentionally propagate computer viruses.

Privacy

The Library’s computers are not private. Users should have no expectation of privacy as all computer workstations and printers are in view of other patrons and staff. Users engaging in financial transactions or other activities that require confidentiality do so at their own risk.

Response to Violations

The user’s access to the Library’s computer network and Internet is a privilege, not a right.

The Library reserves the right to terminate an Internet session that disrupts library services or that involves user behavior that violates the Library’s policies.

Failure to comply with this policy and its procedures will result in the forfeiture of the user’s right to access these computers and where appropriate, referral to law enforcement authorities.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees on September 18, 2002