Internet Access Policy

Philosophy

Mid-Columbia Libraries provides public access to the Internet as a way of enhancing its existing collections with electronic resources from information networks around the world. Internet access is important to Library users for conducting research, retrieving information, exploring ideas and facilitating communication.

The Library strives to balance the rights of individuals to access information and the need to provide a welcoming setting for people of all ages. The Library is committed to providing both users and employees an environment that is free from all forms of harassment, including sexual. Starting points for searches and key Internet sites that are appropriate to the Library's mission and service roles are identified on the Library’s home page.

The Library is committed to offering both open and guided access to the Internet, to supporting the right to privacy and confidentiality of Library users, and to following the provisions of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

The Library provides access to the Internet at every outlet. The demand for use of the Internet can exceed the Library's computer resources. Decisions on the number, placement and type of computer workstations at each site are based on demand, staffing, available floor space, electrical/cable access and budget constraints. To assure fair access for all persons, the Library establishes rules and procedures that regulate the time, manner, and place of Internet access. 

Technology protection measures

All Internet terminals include technology protection measures (or “Internet filters”) that are intended to block obscene materials, child pornography, and materials harmful to minors. The use of technology protection measures by the Library does not relieve parents of the responsibility for monitoring Internet access by their children.

The Library uses technology protection measures that are site specific, are designed not to block research, and can be adjusted by employees after Library review to include any sites for research. Upon request, Library users age 17 and over may be provided unfiltered use of the Internet for lawful purposes. 

Use by children

The Library respects the responsibility of all parents/legal guardians to guide their own children's use of the Library, its resources and services. The Library offers assistance and training to help children experience the Internet in a safe and rewarding manner, including providing Web safety tips both in printed form and online and providing links to recommended sites for children.

Because information on the Internet constantly changes, even with technology protection measures it is not possible to totally protect or control what children may encounter. Children who use the Internet unsupervised may be exposed to inappropriate or disturbing information and images. Parents are encouraged to discuss with children the use of the Internet in relation to their values and boundaries and to monitor their children's use of the Internet. 

User responsibility

Use of any Library workstation must be for legal purposes only. Because Internet workstations are located in public areas shared by persons of all ages and backgrounds, users are expected to show consideration for others when viewing web pages. All users are expected to respect the privacy of those using the computers.

No person shall use a Library workstation in a way that disturbs or interferes with users, employees or operations of the Library.

Users may not:

  • View, print, distribute display, send, or receive images or graphics of obscene materials or material that violates laws relating to child pornography.
  • Disseminate, exhibit, or display to minors materials that are harmful to minors.
  • Use an Internet workstation to transmit threatening or harassing material.
  • Engage in any activity that is deliberately offensive or creates an intimidating or a hostile environment.
  • Violate copyright or software licensing agreements.
  • Gain unauthorized access to any computing, information, or communications devices or resources.
  • Damage, alter or degrade computer equipment, peripherals, software and configurations. 

Failure to comply

All Library users must comply with this Internet Access Policy.

Violations may lead to revocation of Library privileges, including the right to visit the buildings and grounds.

Offenders ordered from the premises who do not comply may be subject to arrest and prosecution for trespassing. 

Responsibility and authority of Library employees

Library employees shall provide assistance to identify appropriate sites for Internet searches and answer questions on the use of computers and other electronic resources in the Library. Time constraints may prevent employees from providing in-depth computer or other technology training to individual users. The Library offers technology classes to the public. Schedules are posted on the Library’s website: www.midcolumbialibraries.org

Library employees shall take prompt and appropriate action to enforce the Internet Access and Internet Safety Policies. They are authorized to terminate an Internet use session by anyone who fails to comply with these policies.

Library employees may refuse to assist a user if they believe that it will require them to view pornographic images on a computer display screen or in printed form, and they are required to immediately request assistance from a supervisor or manager.

Liabilty

The Library assumes no responsibility for any damage, direct or indirect, that users or anyone else may suffer through access to the Internet at one of its outlets. All public Internet users at the Library agree to hold the Library harmless from any claims, losses, damages, obligations related to the following:

Infringement of U.S. Copyright Law governing the reproduction, distribution, adaptation, public performance, and public display of copyrighted material.

The use and/or accuracy of information obtained from the Library's electronic information system.

Damage to non-Library software or hardware resulting from viruses downloaded via the Library's Internet services.

The Board of Trustees, which endorses the principles expressed in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association, shall review the effectiveness and merit of its Internet policies.

 

Adopted by the Mid-Columbia Library Board - November 16, 1998

Revised October 15, 2001; Revised June 21, 2004