Computer Internet Policy

POLICY STATEMENT

The Dorchester County Library (the Library) in its role as an information provider to the community makes available free computer and Internet access to Library Card holders.  Computer/Internet workstations are located in the Library’s adult and children’s areas. 

As a public institution founded to serve all Dorchester County residents, the Library has adopted the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights” and related interpretative statements. The Library does not restrict access to its services and resources based on age, race, religion, national origins, gender, or social or political points of view. 

The Library supports and encourages parents to determine the proper and appropriate use of Library resources, materials, and services for their underage children. As with all other Library materials and resources, parents are ultimately responsible for their children’s access to the Internet.  Any restriction of children to access the Internet is the responsibility of their parent or legal guardian and not that of the Library Staff.  Due to the ease and uncontrolled availability of sexually explicit and/or other offensive materials on the Internet, written parental approval is required for under age 18 children to access the Internet through a Library computer. 

Due to the constant growth and continued change of the Internet and that no existing control system is completely fool-proof; the Library cautions all Internet users that they may be inadvertently or accidentally exposed to certain areas which they find personally objectionable.  In such cases, patrons are encouraged to report these occurrences to Library Staff. 

The Library cannot control the content of the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its accuracy. The Library does not in any way support or endorses the illegal use of the Internet in any manner, including copyright infringement, access to or availability of obscenity or pornography.  It is a violation of the Library’s policy for a person to instruct or demonstrate to another person how to by-pass the filtering software installed on public access computers. 

CONDITIONS AND TERMS OF INTERNET USE IN THE LIBRARY - RULES & RESTRICTIONS 

The Library provides computer/Internet access for library related learning, research, informational purposes.  All users of computers and other Library resources/materials are expected to use them in a responsible manner consistent with the intended purposes for which they are provided and to follow the Library's basic rules and regulations set forth in this and other Library policies. 

Internet Access Use 

The Dorchester County Library complies with state and federal law mandating the use of filtering software in public libraries. 

Recognizing that certain material and information is more appropriate to particular age groups, the Library offers four distinct levels of Internet access from which its patrons may choose:

1.   “Unfiltered” Internet Access – This level is unfiltered and unrestricted.  It is for adults over age 18 or for those under age 18 whose parents so designate.  Viewing of obscene sites on Library computers is not permitted.  Sites containing graphic nudity should not be viewed in a public place. Accessing such sites via the Library’s computers may result in the loss of an individual patron’s Internet privileges.

2.   “Minimum Filtered” Internet Access – This level is filtered to eliminate the majority of obscene and pornographic web sites, keeping in mind that no software filter is totally effective.  It is for adults, over age 18, or children, under
 age 18, whose parents so designate.  

3.  “Maximum Filtered” Internet Access  – This level is filtered to eliminate the majority of the following categories of
      web sites, keeping in mind that no software is totally effective.  Categories of web sites blocked are Alcohol, 
      Anarchy, Banner Ads, Chat, Criminal Skills, Cults, Drugs, Gambling, Hate & Discrimination, Obscene/Tasteless,
      Personals/Dating, R-Rated, Pornography, Web based e-mail, Web-based Newsgroups. It is for adults, over age 18, or
      children, under age 18, whose parents so designate.

4.   Safe Harbor Internet Access – This level provides access to child-friendly sites. 

Conditions of Use 

All users over age 18 must sign and agree to abide by the rules set forth in the Library’s “Acceptable Computer/Internet Use Agreement” form.  Library users under age 18 must have a parent or guardian sign the same form. 

Each user shall be deemed to agree, by advancing beyond the initial computer logon screen, to abide by the Library’s Computer and Internet Service Policy. 

Library computers are to be used for legal purposes only. Use of library computers to display or disseminate graphic pornography, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive material is prohibited. Users who commit violations may lose their Internet, computer and/or library privileges. Illegal use may result in criminal prosecution. 

Users may not misrepresent themselves or the Library by using computer accounts, access codes, numbers, passwords, signatures, or network identification assigned to others. 

Users may not invade the privacy of others at any time or in any way. 

Copyright: U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials, except as permitted by the principles of “fair use.” Subject to fair use, users may neither reproduce copyrighted materials (text, images, programs, and or data) nor distribute such materials by any means (including) electronic mail without explicit written permission of the copyright holder. Responsibility for any consequences of copyright infringement lies with the user. The Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use. 

Library staff has the authority to end an Internet session. 

Children, when using library computers, under nine (9) years of age, must be supervised by a parent, legal guardian or sibling over 15 years of age. 

The Library may designate specific computers as ‘Children Only’. In such cases, adults are not authorized to use these computers unless they are directly supervising a child. 

Dorchester County residents must have a current library card to use a computer. 

 Non-residents may apply for a temporary guest card after showing a driver’s license or photo ID. 

Patrons who possess a Library Card agree to use it only for their personal access and not loan or give the card to another individual. 

The Library may establish time limits and sign-up procedures for use of computer workstations, and some work stations may be earmarked for specific purposes. 

Use of computer workstations is on a “first come, first serve” basis. 

Users must observe the designated time limits at each computer. 

With staff approval, up to two people may be seated at a single computer. 

Users may access only one computer at a time. 

Users may not bring their own paper for use in library printers.  

Use of personal portable storage devices to access data files and save or download files is permitted from library computers with appropriate capabilities. However, Operating or installing program files from such devices is prohibited. And the Library will not compromise its computer network security, either internal or external, by incapacitating its security system to allow user’s to down load files off the Internet. 

Only library staff may reboot, restart, or log on to the Library’s computers. 

Users may not change hardware or software configurations of library computers. 

Attempting to gain unauthorized access to or cause disruption of the library’s computer system or any other computer system is prohibited. 

Library staff can assign users to designated computer workstations as needed. 

The library does not provide individual e-mail accounts. However, library computers may be used to access their existing e-mail account. 

Library staff will assist computer/Internet users in a manner consistent with other library services.  The availability of staff and the needs of other library users will necessarily affect the extent of assistance provided. 

If a user feels that a particular site should be blocked, user may request the Library to consider blocking said site. The user can make his/her request by completing a Patron Request for Review of Internet Material.  The Library Staff will examine the site in question and make the determination if that site should remain blocked or be unblocked according to Library policy. 

Printers are linked to each public access computer workstation.  Printing cost is $.20 cents per sheet. Only library paper can be used in printers. The method of payment and/or purchase of paper may vary at individual library facilities.  The available method for payment and/or purchase of paper will be clearly posted in each library facility. 

End of day messages will alert patrons before the library closes. 

Unless designated otherwise computers may be used to play or participate in electronic games, game rooms, or game sites. 

Library computers will not be used for commercial and/or personal profit business activities. 

Wireless Access

The public may use personal laptops, PDAs, or wireless devices within buildings or grounds of Dorchester County Library offering this service.  The public may use wireless devices in any part of the library open to the public or grounds provided no obstacle or safety hazard is created.  

Accessing and using the library’s wireless network is considered an individual’s acceptance of and agreement to abide by the Computer and Internet Service Policy and related policies of the Dorchester County Library.   Wireless users are subject to federal, state or local laws or regulations. Use of personal wireless devices to display or disseminate graphic pornography, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive material is inappropriate for a public or open environment and is prohibited. Violations of this policy and related procedures may result in loss of library privileges. Illegal use may result in criminal prosecution. 

Printing is not available through the wireless network. 

The sending of any information, including name, address, and credit card numbers via the Internet is at the sole risk of the user. 

Information downloaded from the Internet may contain a virus. The Library is not responsible for the damage to a patron’s wireless device nor for any loss of data, damage, or liability that may occur from the use of the Library’s wireless network. 

Personal wireless devices may plug into specifically designated electrical outlets, if available. However, the Library is not liable for any damage created by power loss, surges, or brownouts. 

Computer/Internet Use Instruction

The Library periodically offers classes to prospective computer/Internet users. Classes include Library computer/Internet Usage Policy, basic instruction in the use of Windows, E-mail and Finding information online. 

Violation of Policy 

Failure to use the Internet appropriately and responsibly as defined in this policy, and/or failure to comply with this or other Library rules may result in the suspension of Library privileges.  Illegal use of Library computers may result in criminal prosecution as well. 

Library staff will ask violators of the Library’s computer/Internet rules to either exit sites or leave the Library. Failure to comply with Library staff request or confrontation will result in police assistance being requested. If a user subsequently has to be told a second time, the user may lose future Internet access privileges. 

Procedures 

The Library Director is responsible for establishing and administering procedures to carry out this policy.

 
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