Internet Use Policy
The Library provides free access to the Internet as a tool for staff and customers to locate information in electronic format from around the globe. Some Internet sites, databases and resources may require passwords, student identification, or access fees. The Internet is a global network, operated by a variety of educational, commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations with a broad base of information creators, providers, and consumers. The Library makes every effort to provide a stable and effective Internet service for its customers. However, Internet resources may be unavailable due to network or service issues beyond the Library’s control. The Library has no control over the accuracy or timeliness of the resources these entities make available to Internet users. Library customers must use this resource at their own risk, filtered through their own set of evaluative criteria in regard to what is valuable, accurate, up to date, and valid. As with all Library materials, programs and services,
the responsibility for what minors read or view on the Internet rests with a parent or legal guardian. Library staff is available to assist customers in selecting or suggesting the best mix of information resources to meet their needs. Users should exercise caution and follow safety measures when interacting with strangers. In particular, parents should caution their minor children about sharing personal information on the Internet.
The Library utilizes filtering software on all Library workstations and devices using the Library’s Wi-Fi network. The Library receives federal funding in support of public Internet access. Federal law requires libraries receiving such funding to install filters (software which blocks access to Internet material containing visual depictions that are obscene, contain child pornography or are harmful to minors) on its Internet computers. Maryland law 23-506.1 requires that public libraries adopt and implement policies and procedures to prevent minors from access to obscene materials or child pornography. In addition, sites identified as hazardous to the computers, networks and services of the Library are blocked. Though designed to block access to sexually explicit material, in rare instances, the filtering software may block access to sites providing valid information on topics such as breast cancer or AIDS. For these cases, the customer may contact a staff member to submit a request to remove the block
on the site.
Unlawful Use of Library Computers
The Library prohibits any unlawful use of the Internet by staff or users. Users who engage in unlawful use of the Internet on Library workstations and property or who harass other users may be prosecuted and may lose borrowing privileges. The Library prohibits: attempts to download or make copies of unauthorized files, attempts to hack or crack Library or remote services, displays of website images which are pornographic or defined by Maryland State Law as obscene.
Users of Library workstations are asked to use resources appropriately and respect the privacy of others using nearby workstations. To preserve user privacy, the Library will never share, sell, or rent individual personal information gathered by the Library, except for the purpose of recovering overdue items and fines or as ordered by subpoena from a valid court or legal authority.
The Library PC and print management system, does not retain information on websites visited by customers. The Library reserves the right to limit workstation and printer usage at peak hours or to schedule workstation and printer use in order to accommodate the largest number of customers at specific agencies.