The Cromaine District Library offers public access to the Internet as an information and educational resource available to library users of all ages. The Library has adopted this Internet Use Policy in order to provide equitable, convenient access to the Internet; not to limit content of the information retrieved.
Consistent with our mission and the principles of public librarianship, this policy affirms the safeguarding of First Amendment rights, intellectual freedom, equity of access, confidentiality of information about library patrons and their use of all library resources, and individual responsibility. 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 fears 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 minor’s use of the Internet rests solely with his or her parents or legal guardians.
Nature of the Internet
The Internet offers access to a wealth of information that can be personally, professionally and culturally enriching. Internet sites include useful ideas, information and opinions from around the world. But, because the Internet is a vast and unregulated information network, it also enables access to information, ideas 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 change often, rapidly and unpredictably, the Library cannot protect individuals from information and images which they might find offensive or disturbing.
Users are cautioned that ideas, point of view, and images can be found on the Internet which are controversial, divergent and 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.
Nature of the Library Setting
Computers and the computer network available to the public, which can be used to access the Internet, must be shared by library users of all ages, background and sensibilities. Although staff will visually monitor the public’s use of the Internet, Library patrons are asked to be sensitive to others’ values and beliefs when accessing potentially controversial information and images.
While the Library upholds users’ rights to privacy and confidentially in their use of all library resources, the nature of electronic resources makes it impossible to guarantee these rights. Users are cautioned that, because security in an electronic environment such as the Internet cannot be guaranteed, all transactions, files and communications are vulnerable to unauthorized access and use and, therefore, should be considered public.
During periods of high demand for Internet access, or in response to continuing demand, the Library reserves the right to limit access to the Internet, including wireless access, in order to provide more opportunities for more patrons. This limitation in access may be in the number or length of log ons permitted in a specific period (e.g., two one-hour log ons per day); to those with valid library cards in good standing; to those with residency within the district or participating reciprocal borrowers; or all of the above.
The Library provides free, unsecured, wireless Internet access for public use. The Library does not provide personal wireless devices for public use, nor support for an individual’s personal wireless devices. Security for those rests solely with the owner of the wireless device. Personal use of the library’s public wireless access will conform with policies regulating other types of public Internet access provided by the Library.
Internet resources accessible through the Library are provided equally to all library users. Users are expected to use this resource in a responsible and courteous manner, consistent with the purpose for which it is provided. Responsible use includes the following:
- Being mindful that the Library is a public place and using discretion in displaying text or graphics which may be offensive to others.
- 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; by not seeking unauthorized access to any computer system, or damaging or altering software components of any network or database.
- Respecting the rights of other library patrons by not interfering with their use of the Internet.
Compliance with Public Act 212 of 2000
In order to comply with Public Act 212 of 2000, the Cromaine District Library has designated the Internet workstations in the Youth Department for the primary use of those 17 years of age or younger. An exception will be made for parents who are assisting their children with Internet research. Parents who have children with them may also use the Youth Department Internet workstations.
At the Crossroads Branch, a group of computers are also designated for the primary use of those 17 years of age or younger, and provide access to a specific group of educational resources intended for that age.
It is a violation of library policy for minors to give others private information about themselves or others, including names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card and social security numbers; or to arrange face-to-face meetings with people they have “met” on the computer network or Internet without a parent’s permission.
Several computers in each library location are primarily for the use of adults, patrons 18 years old or older. Privacy screens have been placed on these workstation monitors in order to provide greater privacy for the users, but should not be presumed to exclude all visibility. Again, all patrons are asked to be sensitive to others’ values and beliefs when using these workstations.
A Special Note to Parents
As with other materials in the Library’s collection, it is the Library’s policy that parents or legal guardians are responsible for deciding which library resources are appropriate for their children. The Library urges parents and guardians to discuss Internet use with their children and to monitor their use of this valuable educational tool.
There are many resources to assist parents and guardians to educate their young people on the use of the Internet. Many electronic resources are also selected and made available on the Library’s web pages to assist in research without broad, nonspecific searches of the Internet (which may result in less desirable search results).
Internet resources may only be used for legal purposes by the public and staff. Examples of unacceptable purposes include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Harassment of other users, library staff, and library patrons.
- Libeling or slandering other users.
- Destruction of or damage to equipment, software or data belonging to the Library or other users.
- Disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications.
- Transmitting threatening, obscene or harassing materials.
- Failing to prevent a minor from viewing obscene matter or sexually explicit matter which is harmful to minors as required by Public Act 212 of 2000.
- Transmitting or displaying text or graphics which are illegal, obscene or sexually explicit matter which is harmful to minors.
- Compromising the safety and security of minors when using e-mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications.
- The theft of copyrighted materials for commercial use or other than fair use without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.
Compliance with Library Policy and Guidelines
Access to the Library’s computer network and Internet is a privilege, not a right. The Library’s Internet policy is presented to each Internet user during log on. By clicking the “accept” button the patron agrees to abide by the policy. Patrons should be aware that violation of the policies and regulations that govern the use of the Library’s Internet resources may lead to the suspension or revocation of library access to the Internet and its resources. Illegal activity involving the Library’s Internet resources will be subject to prosecution by the appropriate authorities.
Inappropriate behavior while using the Library’s computers and/or computer network will be addressed in accordance with the Library’s Policy 2030 Public Conduct in the Library. The Library’s response may include sanctions as provided in that policy, up to and including suspended privileges of all types at the Library.