PUBLIC ACCESS COMPUTER POLICY
WASHINGTON COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM
November 12, 2007
The Washington County Library System provides personal computers for use by the general public. The computers are available 30 minutes after opening until 30 minutes before closing time. These computers are to be used for informational and educational purposes only. Adult patrons 18 years and older must have a valid library card to checkout a computer for use at the reference desk. Children age 12 and up must obtain an internet pass to use a computer in the Reference Department. Children under 12 must use a computer in the Children’s Department with an adult supervising. To obtain an internet pass, a child must have a valid library card and a parent must sign an internet use consent form.
A visitor from outside Washington County must present out-of-county identification to use the computer under the guest status. Visitors may use the guest status a maximum of three times. After being allowed to use the computer as a guest three times, patrons will be required to pay the fee for an out-of-county or out-of-state card to use the computer again.
Patrons needing to use the public computers for research purposes will have priority. Chat lines, games, and casino sites are not considered educational in nature and are not allowed by the library. The computers can be used for Internet access, web-based e-mail (ex: Hotmail or Gmail), and word processing. These computers are not set up to telnet to other servers. The library also offers wireless internet access. If you have questions concerning this policy, please ask a reference librarian.
No more than two patrons will be allowed at a computer at one time. More than two people gathered at one computer create a distraction for other patrons. For the library to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, patrons wishing to use a library computer that have young children should either leave their children at home with a babysitter or bring an adult to tend to the children in the Children’s Department while they are using the computer. Other patrons are often taking tests, applying for jobs, or other things that require concentration and young children are a distraction.
Patrons must request the use of a computer from a reference librarian. There is a one-half (1/2)-hour timer on the computers. If no one is waiting to use a computer, patrons may continue to use their computer for as long as needed, but must renew the checkout at the reference desk every half hour. If all computers are in use, the patron that has been using their computer the longest must relinquish the computer for another to use.
To protect the library’s computers from viruses, patrons will not be allowed to download files or software from the Internet. Patrons caught attempting to download will lose his/her Internet privilege for a minimum of three (3) months and will be held responsible for any damages that may result. Patrons who lose their Internet privileges will have to formally request reinstatement of their privileges after three (3) months’ suspension. The decision to reinstate an individual’s Internet privilege will be at the sole discretion of the library director.
USING A WORD PROCESSOR
Microsoft Word is available for use by adults or students. Patrons must have typing experience to use the word processor. If a child has no typing experience, a parent or guardian with typing experience must do the typing. The library does not provide typing services, and can provide only limited assistance with the word processing program. Patrons will not be allowed to save documents to the library’s computers. Nor are they allowed to bring in diskettes to use in the library’s computers. Diskettes are available for purchase through the library. Diskettes purchased at the library may be inserted into the floppy drive of the computer. The diskettes may not be taken away from the library and brought back in and used again. However, they may be left at the reference desk to be used again. Personal flash drives (also known as jump drives) can be used on public access computers. If a patron is found using a flash drive to install executable files on public access computer, they will be banned from using the library’s computers.
RESPONSIBILITY OF INTERNET USERS
Supervising Children’s Internet Use
Children under 12 must use a computer in the Children’s Department. It is the library’s policy that parents or legal guardians must assume the responsibility for deciding what library resources are appropriate for their children. There will be resources that parents may feel inappropriate for their children. A parent or legal guardian should supervise their children’s Internet sessions. When a child’s internet session is supervised by a parent or legal guardian, the child will not be required to have an internet pass. A restriction of a child’s access to the information available on the Internet is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. The library does not have the right or the legal responsibility to act in place of the parents. Therefore, the library, its employees, and its trustees will not be held responsible for any objectionable materials that a minor accesses from the Internet. Children will be allowed access to internet based databases that are provided by Washington County Library System as a service to its patrons, such as MAGNOLIA, World Book Online, and Learn-a-Test without an internet pass or their internet session being supervised by a parent or legal guardian.
Children 12 years and older wanting to use the Internet must have a library card before they can obtain an Internet pass. Children 12 – 18 years old with a library card must have a parent or guardian present to fill out a parental Internet consent form for them to obtain an Internet pass. Children up to 12 years old must have a parent or guardian present when using a computer. Internet passes are valid for three years, at which time they may be renewed. Completed parental Internet consent forms will be on file in the library until the parents or legal guardians wish to have their children’s Internet privileges canceled or terminated.
Choosing and Evaluating Resources
The Internet is a globally produced entity with a highly diverse user population and information content. Patrons using the library’s Internet connection do so at their own risk. The library cannot censor access to materials or protect users from materials which some may find offensive. The library is not capable of monitoring or controlling information accessible from the Internet and does not accept responsibility for its content. Therefore, the library, its employees, and its trustees will not be held responsible for any objectionable materials accessed from the Internet by any patron, regardless of age.
As with printed information, not all of the information provided by sources on the Internet is accurate, complete, or current. Internet users should evaluate Internet resources just as they do print information. In some cases, information may be found faster and more easily in traditional print sources.
OTHER RULES GOVERNING USE OF LIBRARY COMPUTERS
Users May Not:
1) Use the computers to gain access to the library’s networks or
computer systems and/or use computers to deliberately crash
any other library computer programs.
2) Obstruct other patrons’ work by extending search times beyond
limitations set by the library.
3) Make any attempt to damage the library’s computer equipment or software.
4) Make any attempt to alter the library’s computer software configurations.
5) Make an attempt to negatively affect the library computer system’s performance.
6) Use any library computer for an illegal purpose.
7) Violate copyright laws or software licensing agreements while using library computers.
8) Engage in any activity which is deliberately offensive, libelous, or slanderous.
9) Install any software onto any library computer.
10) Display any sexually oriented material on the computer. (Mississippi Code 1972, Annotated 97-5-29, Public display of sexually oriented materials.)
11) May not disrupt library services or disturb other library patrons under any
circumstances while using the computer.
12.) Connect MP3 or other personal devices not allowed by the library’s public access computer policy to public access computers.
Violations of these rules will result in the loss of a patron’s access to the library’s computer stations. Any unlawful activities on the library’s computers will be dealt with in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
U.S. Copyright law (Title 17, U.S, Code) prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials, except as permitted by the principles of “fair user.” Users may not copy or distribute electronic materials (including electronic mail, text, images, programs, or data) without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Any responsibility for the consequences of copyright infringement lies with the individual Internet user. The library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use.