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About The Library

Internet Filtering FAQ

Why does the Library filter?
sampleIn order to receive federal E-rate discounts for equipment and services or Internet access the library must comply with the requirements of theChildren‘s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). 

What does a filter do?
A filter is software which blocks access to illegal Internet content on library computers, but otherwise allows uninterrupted surfing.

What has to be filtered under CIPA?
The law requires that a filter protect against access to visual depictions that are:

  • Obscene
  • Child Pornography
  • Harmful to Minors

CIPA does not require the filtering of text.

Under what circumstances can the filter be disabled?
The law states that authorized library staff may disable the filter to allow adults to have unrestricted Internet access for any lawful purpose. Regardless of its medium, viewing obscene images or child pornography is illegal even without CIPA.

How does the statute define “Adult?”?
Under CIPA, an adult is anyone 17 years old or older.

How can I check whether a specific site is blocked by the filter or simply not available?
If the site is blocked, a specific error message will be displayed. (Example)

How do I get access to a blocked link?
Ask a librarian at the nearest Information Desk to temporarily unblock the site.  You must be at least 17 years old.

How do I request that a site be permanently unblocked if I think it has been blocked incorrectly?
Fill out the How is Pratt Doing form. List the address of the site you wish to have permanently unblocked, along with the reason, your name, and a way to get in touch with you.

If I accessed a site that I believe should be blocked, how do I request that it be blocked?
Fill out the How is Pratt Doing form. List the address of the site you wish to have permanently blocked, along with the reason, your name, and a way to get in touch with you.

To whom do I direct questions about the Library’s selection policy for its home page links or its Internet Use Policy?
Mail requests to: Chief of the Information Access Division, Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.

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