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Electronic Resources Access Policy

Electronic resources contain a wealth of valuable information. Information and resources on the Internet enhance those already held in the library and often go beyond what is locally available. However, users should be aware that some information might be inaccurate, outdated, or offensive. Use of these resources carries with it a responsibility to evaluate the quality of information accessed.

A. E-mail is an asset to the Audubon Regional Library and to its patrons. Although the Library does not make a practice of monitoring e-mail, the Library reserves the right to retrieve the contents of e-mail for legitimate reasons, such as to find lost messages, to comply with investigations of wrongful acts, or to recover from system failure.

B. Using the public access computers is a privilege accorded patrons of the Library with library cards in good standing. Guests may be accorded this privilege at the discretion of the staff. Because of the limited number of computer workstations, time limits may be imposed when demand is high. The time limit during peak periods will not exceed one half hour. However, no time limit will be imposed if no patrons are waiting to use the computer.

C. Rules of appropriate content apply to all forms of Internet use, including e-mail. Patrons are expected to use good judgment when deciding to open files. Obscenity and pornography will not be tolerated on the public access computers.

D. It shall be the responsibility of members of the staff to supervise and monitor usage of the online computer network and access to the Internet in accordance with this policy and the Children’s Internet Protection Act. [Pub. L.No. 106-554 and 47 USC 254(h)]. The library staff will assist patrons with Internet use as time permits, but will not offer personal instruction or assistance. Formal classes on the use of the Internet may be offered by the library at designated times. Users are encouraged to take advantage of the Internet.

E. Children under the age of twelve may use a library computer connected to the Internet only when a parent or legal guardian is sitting next to the child; the library does not have the right nor will it accept responsibility to act in loco parentis. The computers intended for the use of children playing educational games should be reserved for the children over the age of three. As parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children, parents must monitor the use of these resources by their children. For more information on children and the Internet, see Child Safety on the Information Highway, produced by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Inter-service Organization.

F. It is the policy of the library to: (a) prevent user access over its computer network to, or transmission of, inappropriate material via Internet, electronic mail, or other forms of direct electronic communications; (b) prevent unauthorized access and other unlawful online activity; (c) prevent unauthorized online disclosure, use, or dissemination of personal identification information of minors; and (d) comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act.

G. To the extent practical, technology protection measures (or “Internet filters”) shall be used to block or filter Internet, or other forms of electronic communications and access to inappropriate information. Specifically, as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, blocking shall be applied to visual depictions of material deemed obscene or child pornography, or to any material deemed harmful to minors. Subject to staff supervision, technology protection measures may be disabled only for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.

H. Prohibited use of computers will result in the loss of workstation privileges. Illegal use of Library computers will be reported to law enforcement agencies and the Library will prosecute such action. Appeals of the loss of workstation privileges should be made to the Director in accordance with the library’s general policy.

Examples of Acceptable Uses:

  • Researching and reading educational information
  • Surfing sites of interest appropriate for a public setting and for honing computer usage skills
  • Printing from full-text databases
    • Downloading of public domain software on disks provided by and purchased from the library.

Examples of Unacceptable Uses:

  • Transmitting obscene, profane or offensive material over any library communication system. This includes, for example, accessing erotic materials via news groups
  • Messages, jokes, or any other communications that violate the harassment policy or create an intimidating or hostile environment
  • Accessing copyrighted information in a way that violates the copyright
  • Breaking into the system or using a password or mailbox without authorization
  • Participating in an illegal scheme to defraud.

I. Managers have the flexibility to modify these policies as situations arise that make modifications necessary.

J. To the extent practical, steps shall be taken to promote the safety and security of users of the online computer network when using electronic mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, and other forms of direct electronic communications.

K. Specifically, as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, prevention of inappropriate network usage includes: (a) unauthorized access, including so-called hacking, and other unlawful activities; and (b) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors.

L. It shall be the responsibility of members of the staff to supervise and monitor usage of the online computer network and access to the Internet in accordance with this policy and the Children’s Internet protection Act.

M. Procedures for the disabling or otherwise modifying any technology protection measures shall be the responsibility of the director or designated representatives.

Definitions of terms:

Technology Protection Measure means a specific technology that blocks or filters Internet access to visual depictions that are obscene as defined in section 1460 of title 18, United States Code.

Harmful to minors means any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that, taken as a whole with respect to minors, appeals to, depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated act or contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted acts, and taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.