Winchester Community Library

Internet Safety Policy

 

MISSION

The mission of the Winchester Community Library is to serve as an information center linking people of all backgrounds and levels of ability to books and other resources for lifelong learning, discovery and enjoyment. 

 

INTERNET ACCESS

The Internet, a worldwide network of computer networks, is an essential medium for obtaining and transmitting information of all types.  Therefore, public access to the Internet is germane to the Library’s mission. 

However, the Internet is an unregulated medium.  It also provides access to information that is inaccurate, illegal or that some may find offensive or disturbing.  The Library cannot control a user’s access to Internet resources.  This policy is adopted for the benefit of library patrons, to further and promote the Library’s mission and to comply with Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act (NCIPA). 

 

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.  An adult, or child user 17 years of age or older, or the parent of a child under the age of 17 years, is responsible for his or her Internet session at all times.

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

As with all library resources, the Library affirms the right and responsibility of parents/guardians, NOT library staff, to determine and monitor their children’s use of the Internet.  (Minors are defined in this policy as children and young people under age 17.)  Children under 12 years of age must use the computers in the children’s section of the library and must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.  Parents are responsible for their minor children’s use of the Library’s resources and facilities, including that minor’s use of e-mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communication.  Minors shall not disclose, use, or disseminate personal identification information while using the Internet. 

Staff provides assistance only for basic start-up procedures.  Patrons who are not familiar with computers or the Internet will need to check the library’s circulating and reference books for additional information or assistance.  The library does not offer electronic mail accounts to the public.  Patrons may set up their own accounts. 

 

INTERNET USAGE PROCEDURES FOR USING THE LIBRARY’S COMPUTERS

  • Internet users 12 years of age through 16 years of age must have parental permission to use the Internet on the library’s computers. Patrons 17 years of age or older must sign for their Internet privileges as well. All adult patrons, minor patrons between the ages of 12 and 16, and a parent of those minor patrons must sign a card agreeing to the library’s Internet Safety Policy.  Patrons under the age of 12 years must use the computers in the children’s section and must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
  • Patron must sign in at the front desk before using the Internet.
  • Patron must have his/her WCL library card and it must be left at the desk while he/she is using the terminal.
  • Those who are not local patrons and do not have a WCL library card may use the computer as a Guest User by presenting another form of ID at the desk and reading the Internet Safety Policy.  Minors (those under the age of 17) will not be allowed to access the Internet at the library’s computers as Guest Users.
  • Only one patron at a time is allowed at each computer station with the exception of a parent/guardian supervising a child under 12.
  • Only children under the age of 12 years may use the Internet stations in the Children’s Department.
  • Initial sign-up period for an Internet station is 30 minutes.  A patron may use it longer if no one else is waiting.  After two 30 minute sign-ups, whether or not consecutive 30 minute periods, per day a patron is put on standby.  He/she may use the Internet if there is a terminal available.  However, that patron may be bumped before the expiration of that 30 minute period if another patron who is exercising his or her initial or second usage period wishes to use it.
  • An individual seeking to use the Internet on the library’s computers shall have no overdue materials or outstanding fines.
  • The Library charges 15 cents per page for text printing.  Pictures larger than one quarter of a page are 25 cents per page.  All computers print to the front desk. 

 

LEGAL & ETHICAL USE

Computing resources may only be used for legal purposes by the public and staff in accordance with the ethical standards of the Library.  Examples of unacceptable use include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • To harass others.
  • To conduct any unauthorized access, including, but not limited to, “hacking” or any other unlawful act online.
  • To libel or slander other users.
  • To vandalize, damage, or disable the computers.
  • To violate copyright laws.
  • To access, download, transmit or distribute pornographic, obscene or sexually explicit language or material.
  • To violate any local, state or federal statute.

 

TECHNOLOGY PROTECTION MEASURES

The Library has installed filtering software on all computers with Internet access, and will enforce and maintain the operation of same during any use of those computers, to prevent minors from accessing visual depictions that are (1) obscene, (2) child pornography, (3) pornographic, or (4) harmful to minors.  The term “harmful to minors” is defined as meaning any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that:

  • Taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion;
  • Depicts, describes, or represents an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals;
  • Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.

Filtering software is not foolproof.  It diminishes the likelihood that searchers will inadvertently retrieve text or images that they may find offensive, however, no filtering software eliminates that possibility.  Filters often block sites that users would consider both inoffensive and useful.

If you do not find what you need, please do not hesitate to ask a librarian for help.  Filters may be disabled by a library staff member, as necessary, for bona fide research or other lawful purposes for persons 17 years of age and older. 

 

DISCLAIMER

Since the Internet is a global electronic network, there is no local or national control of its uses or content.  Internet access is coordinated through a complex association of government agencies, and regional and state networks.  The Internet and its available resources may contain material of a controversial nature.  The Library cannot prevent access to material nor protect users from offensive information.

Parents of children under the age of 17 assume responsibility for their children’s use of the Internet through the Library’s connection.  The Library will require a signed registration form from each patron using the library’s computers acknowledging the he/she has read, understands and will comply with the WINCHESTER COMMUNITY LIBRARY INTERNET SAFETY POLICY.  Parent or parents of children under the age of 17 must give written permission and consent for children under the age of 17 years to use the Internet on the library’s computers, and agree to accompany children as provided in this Policy. 

Library staff do not control the availability of information links which often change rapidly and unpredictably.  Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete or current information. 

The Library will not be responsible for financial obligations to patrons resulting from library-provided electronic access.  Also, the Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, actual or consequential, arising from the use of its Internet service. 

Failure to follow any of the provisions of this Policy for usage of the Internet service shall result in the loss of all Internet privileges and may result in the loss of the patron’s library card.

WIRELESS ACCESS

The Winchester Community Library also provides public wireless access to the Internet. Patrons must provide their own computer and wireless network cards to connect to the public wireless network. Technical support will not be available to users. Users of the wireless access  are subject to the terms of this policy, however, a library card or ID is not needed to use the wireless network. The library cannot guarantee the privacy or safety of data and communications while using either wired or wireless services. Patrons need to be aware that wireless networks are inherently insecure and it is strongly recommended that they secure their computers with firewall software and data encryption.

Parents should also be aware that minors with access to wireless-capable equipment can access the library’s wireless network without the parental permission that is required to use the library’s wired Internet connection on the library’s computers.

 

Adopted September 13, 2006 after public hearing

Amended  September 12, 2007 after public hearing