About The Library

Internet Filtering FAQ

Why does the Library filter?

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This Library receives federal funding in support of public Internet access. Federal laws require libraries receiving such funding to block access to Internet material which are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors. Maryland law 23-506.1 requires public libraries to adopt and implement policies and procedures to prevent minors from access to obscene materials or child pornography. The Library also blocks access to Internet sites which pose a threat to the library’s networks or computers.

What does a filter do?

A filter is software which blocks access to illegal or harmful content, but otherwise allows uninterrupted web access.

What has to be filtered under The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)?

The law requires that a filter protect against access to material that is:

  • Obscene
  • Child Pornography
  • Harmful to Minors

What other Internet sites are filtered?

Internet sites which pose a threat to the library’s networks or computers are blocked, including:

  • Malware
  • Malicious Software and Actions
  • Phishing
  • Spyware

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 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 Internet Use Policy?

Mail requests to: 

CIO
Information Systems
Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201