Public access to the Internet is available to all users of the Warren Public Library on patron access computers. The Library makes the Internet available to the public as an informational, educational and recreational resource in support of its role as this community’s information and lifelong learning center, just as it has in the provision of books, magazines, music CDs, talking books and other media. Consistent with our mission and the professional principles of public librarianship, this Internet Use Policy affirms the safeguarding of First Amendment rights, intellectual freedom, equity of access, confidentiality of information about users and their use of all library resources including electronic, and individual responsibility. Freedom of expression is an inalienable human right and the foundation for self-government. Freedom of expression encompasses the right to freedom of speech and the corollary right to receive information. Such rights extend to minors as well as adults. Libraries facilitate the exercise of these rights by providing access to, identifying, retrieving, organizing, providing instruction in the use of, and preserving recorded expression regardless of format or technology. The Library affirms the following principles and user rights as delineated in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights in Cyberspace:
- Electronic information, services, and networks provided by libraries should be readily, equally, and equitably accessible to all library users.
- Libraries and librarians should not deny or limit access to information available via electronic resources because of its controversial content or because of personal beliefs or fear of confrontation.
- Information retrieved or utilized electronically should be considered constitutionally protected unless determined otherwise by a court with appropriate jurisdiction.
- Responsibility for, and any restriction of, a child’s use of the Internet rest solely with his or her parents or legal guardians.
The Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from its connections to the Internet. The Library makes no guarantee, either expressed or implied, with respect to the quality or content of the information available on the Internet. Not all the information available via the Internet is accurate, current or complete. Users are encouraged to be good information consumers by evaluating the validity of information accessed via the Internet.
Users are cautioned that ideas, points of view and images can be found on the Internet which are controversial, divergent and/or inflammatory. The provision of access does not mean or imply that the Library endorses or sanctions the content or point of view of any of the information or commentary which may be found on the Internet.
The Internet offers access to a wealth of information that can be personally, professionally and culturally enriching. But, because the Internet is a vast and unregulated information network, it also enables access to ideas, information, images and commentary beyond the confines of the Library’s collection, mission, selection criteria and collection development policies. Because of this and the fact that access points on the Internet can and do change often, rapidly and unpredictably, the Library cannot protect individuals from information and images which they might find offensive or disturbing.
Since the Library computers on which the public can access the Internet are located in public areas which must be shared by library users of all ages, backgrounds and sensibilities, individuals are asked to consider this when accessing potentially controversial information and images. Library staff can not consistently and effectively monitor the public’s use of the Internet. Yet the Library reserves the right to ask individuals to discontinue the display of information and images which cause a disruption.
Users are cautioned that, because security in an electronic environment such as the Internet can not be guaranteed, all transactions, files, and communication are vulnerable to unauthorized access and use and, therefore, should be considered public.
Children’s Rules for Online Safety
Parents or guardians are responsible for the Internet information selected and/or accessed by their children. Children who use the Internet unsupervised may be exposed to inappropriate or disturbing information and images. Parents are encouraged to discuss the use of the Internet in relation to family values and boundaries with their children and to monitor their children’s use of the Internet.
All users of the Internet are expected to use this library resource in a responsible and courteous manner, consistent with the purposes for which it is provided, and to follow all Internet-related rules, regulations and procedures established for its use including, but not limited to, those of the Library. Responsible, courteous use of the Internet includes:
- Recognizing that the Internet, like all of the Library’s information sources, must be shared and used in a manner which respects the rights of others and refrains from activity that prevents others from using it.
- Using the Library’s Internet resources for educational, informational and recreational purposes only.
- Refraining from displaying, viewing or downloading graphics or content that is obscene.
- Refraining from using the Library’s Internet resources to conduct a business or commercial enterprise, or engage in commercial activity such as the distribution of advertising.
- Refraining from illegal or unethical use of the Internet.
- Respecting intellectual property rights by making only authorized copies of copyrighted, licensed or otherwise-controlled software or data residing on the Internet.
- Respecting the privacy of others by not misrepresenting oneself as another user; by not attempting to modify or gain access to files, passwords, or data belonging to others; and by not seeking disallowed access to any computer system via the Internet.
- Refraining from damaging or altering the setup of the equipment used to access the Internet at the Library.
- Refraining from altering or damaging software or data residing on the Internet. Refraining from the deliberate propagation of computer worms and viruses.
- Refraining from the transmission of threatening, harassing or abusive language and images.
Compliance with Library Policy and Guidelines
In addition to this specific policy, general guidelines for the use of all public-access computers govern the use of the Library’s Internet in the Library. Violation of the policies and regulations that govern the use of the Library’s Internet resources may result in suspension or loss of the privilege to use these resources. Illegal activity involving the Library’s Internet resources will be subject to prosecution by the appropriate authorities.
Staff will assist library users in getting started on the Internet. However, the Library cannot guarantee that Internet-trained staff will be available to assist users at all times the Library is open. Regrettably, staff is not able to offer extensive explanations about the Internet or personal computer use or provide in-depth training. Time permitting, staff will try to answer specific questions about the Internet and offer suggestions for effective searching. Staff can also provide information about Internet books and manuals.
The Library is not able to provide e-mail accounts to library users at this time.
Internet access is available on filtered and non-filtered computers. Filtered computers are identified. Those computers that are not filtered are placed in highly visible areas and are monitored by the staff. This method of restricting access is in compliance with PA 212. Violators of this policy will be asked to discontinue an objectionable display as referred to in PA 212. If individuals refuse to discontinue the display, they will be asked to leave. If they do not leave, the police will be called. Continued violations can result in the loss of Internet privileges, and/or banning from the library.
The Library Commission – June 18, 1996
Revised September 28, 2000