Thursday, August 11, 2011

Internet Policy

Computers supporting the Library Mission: The Odon Winkelpleck Public Library seeks to give service to the residents and property owners of Odon and Madison Township by meeting the informational, recreational, educational, and cultural interest and needs of all the district’s residents, regardless of age, gender, race, creed, nationality, physical ability or formal schooling. Computers play an important role in research and recreational reading in today’s world. They provide free access to information sources that are not within the scope of the library’s budget. Sharing access costs among the taxpayers of the community to provide equal access to all community members furthers the library’s mission in the community. Therefore, the library seeks to provide free computer and internet access to patrons.

Who may use the computers: Computer access is offered to all library visitors. Patrons under 18 must have a parental consent form on file in order to access the internet. Young children must demonstrate computer competency and respect for the computer equipment in order to have access to local games and software. Because the library’s computer resources are not unlimited, sign-up sheets are maintained in order to provide access to as many people as possible. All users must sign a computer-use agreement, stating that they will use the computers in accordance with the regulations set forth in this document. Exceptions for out-of-town visitors checking e-mail may be made at the discretion of the library staff.

Regulations for general computer use:

1. Patrons are expected to use the computers in a manner that does not disturb those around them and does not damage the computers in any way. Patrons using the computers and the parents of users under the age of eighteen will be responsible to the library for any damage caused to the computer equipment through deliberate destruction or misuse of the computers.

2. Patrons should have basic computer skills. (Ask about computer training at the circulation desk.)

3. Modifications to the computer (downloading new programs, changing the wallpaper, adding or deleting icons) are not allowed and may result in suspension of computer privileges. Any downloads or user files must be saved to user-owned storage devices rather than the library hard drives unless specific exceptions have been made by the library staff.

4. No more than two persons may use a computer together.

5. Computers left unattended for more than ten (10) minutes will be available to other users.

6. Printing is available for a fee. Color printing is also available by request.

7. Library computer resources should not be used for unethical or illegal activity, such as accessing the accounts of others, interfering with the free flow of internet information, sending “hate mail,” or violating copyright or other laws.

Regulations for internet access:

1. Patrons under 18 must have a parental consent form on file at the library to access the internet.

2. In keeping with the public nature of the library computers, all sites viewed should be appropriate for all ages. Filtering is installed on the computers, however no filtering system is perfect. Patrons accessing objectionable sites may lose their computer privileges. In the event that the filtering system on the library computers is blocking legitimate sites, it can be temporarily disabled at the discretion of the library staff.

3. Creating an e-mail account is the responsibility of the individual user through web-based services such as Yahoo, Hotmail, or Google. The library does not provide e-mail accounts for public users.

4. Patrons should be aware that the internet is a world of its own, totally beyond the control of the library. Information found there may be valuable or useless, accurate or erroneous, objective or strongly biased to the point of being offensive. What looks like well-researched information may be cleverly-disguised marketing. The library takes no responsibility for the quality of information found on the internet. Patrons are encouraged to be good information consumers, carefully evaluating the validity of the websites they visit.

Consequences for abusive conduct or violating the terms of this policy:

The library is the sole arbiter of what constitutes abusive conduct or violation of its policies.

1. First offense will result in a warning and a reminder of the computer policy.

2. Second offense will result in a 1-month suspension of computer privileges.

3. Third offense will result in six months or more suspension of computer privileges, at the discretion of the library staff.

Revisions:

This document will be reviewed annually by the library board.

(Last revised 7/14/2011)