Internet Acceptable Use

The Portage County District Library provides free public access to the Internet, a medium that provides a wealth of educational, recreational, and cultural information for library users beyond the confines of its own collection. Access to the Internet is compatible with the Portage County District Library’s endorsement of the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights, Code of Ethics, and the Library’s mission statement.

Because the Internet is a vast, unregulated medium, the Library cannot control and is not responsible for the content or accuracy of information accessed over the Internet, including information contained in electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of electronic communications. The Library provides links from its home page, using generally accepted library practices. Beyond this, the Library is not responsible for changes in content of the sources to which we link, or for the content of sources accessed through secondary links.

Not all sites provide accurate, complete, or current information. Users should evaluate Internet sources just as they do printed publications, questioning the validity of the information provided. Some sites carry information that a user might find controversial or inappropriate. Users should be mindful of the fact that they are in a public setting when using the Internet.

To address issues of safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of electronic communication, parents and legal guardians should urge minors to follow basic safety guidelines: never give out personal information, never arrange to meet someone via a computer, and never respond to messages that are threatening or suggestive.

The Library uses filtering software to control access to Internet sites on some computers. The Library cannot guarantee the effectiveness of the software, nor can the Library be responsible for any failure on the part of the software to block inappropriate or offensive materials. Since no filtering system is completely effective or efficient, further restriction of a minor’s access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. Adults, age 18 or older, may bypass the filter by requesting that a Library staff member override the filter at selected Library computer stations. The filtering system may not be turned off on the wireless network.

Users in any area of the Library may not use Internet sessions in a manner that is deliberately offensive, creates a hostile or intimidating environment, or violates federal, state, or local law. Users will respect the privacy of other users, and will refrain from attempting to view or read material being used by others. User sessions may be terminated for behavior that is disruptive or interferes with library use by others.

While accessing the Internet at the Library, users must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws. Users will respect copyright laws and licensing agreements. Users may not attempt in any way to alter, damage, or sabotage computer hardware or software. The Library is not liable for any damage to a user's data storage device or other equipment that may occur from use of the Internet, Library computers, or the wireless network.  Users are warned that disclosure of personal information may result in damage or loss.  The Library is not responsible for any liability that may occur as a result of the disclosure of financial or personal information while accessing the Internet at the Library.

To protect the security of the Library’s network, users may not upload or download files to Library computers; the wireless network is only available during Library business hours; patrons may not connect personal computers to the Library’s network. Patrons must turn off any devices that interfere with the Library’s network.

The Library upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected material. The Library also affirms the right and responsibility of parents to determine and monitor their children’s use of Library materials and resources. The Library does not release information on the use of the Internet by Library users except as required by law.

The Library limits individual user sessions to thirty minutes when others are waiting. Work stations will not be reserved for persons who are not in the immediate vicinity when their name is called and telephone reservations will not be taken. Reservations for group instruction are taken at the Library Manager’s discretion. Prompt payment is required by users who incur charges for printing.

Library staff will terminate user sessions for violations of Library policy. Repeated violations may result in temporary or permanent denial of Internet privileges. Temporary or permanent loss of Internet privileges will be effective at all Portage County District Library locations.

Users must end their session and leave the work station when asked to do so by Library staff.

Library staff have limited time to assist users in the use of Library computers. Library employees may provide basic introductory assistance concerning the Internet or personal computer use, as time permits, but do not provide in-depth Internet assistance.

Access to the Internet or to particular kinds of activity (for example e-mail, chat rooms, game playing, and social networks) may be limited at the Library’s discretion to allow for easier access to the Library’s catalog and other databases.

Failure to comply with this policy may result in loss of access. Illegal acts may be subject to prosecution by local, state, or federal authorities.

Approved December 31, 2007                                                 
Supersedes: Internet Acceptable Use Policy, March 19, 1997


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