Internet Access/Internet Workstation Policy

The following is the Library's Internet Access / Internet Workstation Policy, as approved by the Library Board April 11, 2012. This policy is Section VII.E of our Library Policy Handbook, and governs the use of our public networks, including our wireless network:

1. Universal Provisions

The Library provides public access to the Internet in a variety of ways.

Users of Library networks receive data at their own risk; furthermore, the Library takes no responsibility for the accuracy, currency, comprehensiveness or usability of websites or materials accessed over Library networks or the Internet.

The Library is a public place; individuals should use discretion in viewing text or graphics that may be offensive to others.

2. Regarding Access Management Software

The Library may employ access management software to administrate the use of its public Internet workstations. Software of this type regulates the assigning of workstations, the length of sessions, and access to the network printers, among other variables. Specific procedures for securing and logging into a workstation may change, along with specific determinations of session length or type; both are outside the scope of this policy, and the Library reserves the right to make these changes at its discretion. The following, however, remains adopted policy regardless of any other changes:

  1. Workstation users who are eligible for a Library Card at this Library must get one.
  2. Users who are ineligible for a Library Card may present a valid driver’s license or state-issued picture ID at the Reference Desk to secure a workstation. Minors ineligible for both a Library Card and the above mentioned IDs may present other picture ID at the discretion of the Library staff.
  3. If all workstations are in use, availability will be determined by a waiting list.
  4. These provisions do not apply to the wireless network(s).

3. Regarding Filters, Use by Minors, and Access to Filtered Materials

In order to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), the Neighborhood Children's Internet Protection Act (NCIPA), and the Michigan Public Act 212 of 2000, the Library has adopted the following policies:

  1. All Internet workstations use software and/or hardware filters to block access to visual depictions of the kinds stipulated in the above acts (see VII.K, Internet Safety Policy) in order to assure a safe computing environment for minors in the library. The library seeks to assure the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications.
  2. Adults age 18 or older may ask to have content filters disabled. Upon verification of age, a Library staff member will do so, without inquiring as to the purpose of the request, as quickly as is technically possible and as long as the material is not deemed inappropriate for public use.
  3. An adult wishing to have the filter disabled must be able to verify his or her birthdate. A library card current in this Library's circulation database, or a valid driver's license or State ID is suitable for this purpose. If a user cannot provide such verification, he or she will be restricted to the use of a filtered workstation.
  4. Any user not yet age 18 years old may ask to get their workstation temporarily unfiltered in the company of a parent or legal guardian, with proper identification, who remains with the minor for the entire time that the minor remains at the workstation.
  5. Minors under the age of 10 must be accompanied and directly supervised by an adult or caregiver (age 13 or older) at all times while in the library.
  6. Parents or guardians, not the Library or its staff, are ultimately responsible for the materials selected and/or accessed by their children over the Internet. Filtering software may both fail to block offensive content and block inoffensive content inadvertently.
  7. Anyone using temporarily unfiltered Internet, including personal hardware connected to our wireless network(s), is asked not to view materials on the workstations that might potentially be offensive to others. This includes the viewing of pornographic material.
  8. The library prohibits illegal activities by minors online, including unauthorized access such as “hacking.”

4. Regarding Access to the Library’s Wireless network(s)

In addition to its Internet Workstations, the Library provides wireless network(s) for access to the Internet. Use of these networks is governed by the following policies:

  1. Users of the Library wireless network(s) may be asked to verify their birthdate before being admitted access to the network(s). Minors may only use Library-provided wireless network(s) which employ software and/or hardware filters to block access to visual depictions of the kinds stipulated in the acts referenced in Section 3 (VII.E.3, Regarding Filters, Use by Minors, and Access to Filtered Materials).
  2. The Library may make available software and/or hardware for the purpose of connecting to and making use of the wireless network(s), but reserves the right not to do so. In the absence of such provision, users of the wireless network(s) must provide their own hardware and/or software for connecting to and making use of the network.
  3. Library staff may provide some limited help in connecting users to the wireless network(s), but will not provide complex technical support, hardware or software configuration, or extensive troubleshooting to users attempting to access the network. Users are expected to know and understand the wireless protocols and properties of their hardware and/or software.
  4. Users of the wireless network(s) do so at their own risk, and agree to hold the Library harmless for damages incurred, including but not limited to damages to software and hardware, both in the course of using the network themselves and during any use of said software or hardware by staff for the purpose of technical support.
  5. Users of the wireless network(s) acknowledge that they are a public resource shared among multiple users, and will restrict themselves from excessive or extended bandwidth consumption as a basic courtesy to other wireless network users. The Library reserves the right to determine whether a particular user’s bandwidth consumption constitutes abuse of this resource, and to restrict or terminate such use accordingly.
  6. Users of the wireless network(s) may not serve or host content to the Internet over the wireless network; user-owned hardware and software connected to the Library’s wireless network(s) may not act as a server for the purpose of serving or hosting content to the Internet. This proscription includes, but is not limited to, the use of peer-to-peer networking or bittorrent clients in conjunction with the Library’s wireless network.
  7. All provisions of this Internet Access policy, unless specifically contradicted in this section or logically incompatible with the wireless technology, apply equally to use of the wireless network(s).
  8. The Library reserves the right to deny access to the wireless network(s), by Media Access Control address (MAC address) or other method, to any user deemed to be in violation of this Internet Access policy.

5. Regarding Workstation Use and Internet Use Generally

  1. Basic computer literacy is expected of all users.
  2. A maximum of two people are permitted to sit at one workstation at one time.
  3. Loss of time, work, or property due to equipment malfunctions shall not be the responsibility of the Library.
  4. The Library's workstations and/or networks shall not be used for i) commercial, ii) illegal or criminal, or iii) maliciously offensive, libelous, or slanderous purposes, nor iv) to violate licensing agreements or copyright laws.
  5. Users may not damage or alter the setup of i) the equipment used to access the Internet at the Library, or ii) software or data residing on the Internet Workstations. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for damage done by their children.
  6. Users may not deliberately propagate computer worms and viruses.
  7. Users will respect the privacy of others (for instance: users will not intentionally seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, data or passwords belonging to other users.)

6. Regarding Productivity Software

The Library provides access to certain productivity software (word processor, spreadsheet, etc) on its public workstations. This access falls under the same usage guidelines, proscriptions and rules as apply to use of the Internet.

7. Regarding Patron Privacy

The Library does not record internet viewing sessions by public computer users including minors. Additionally the library does not provide unauthorized personal information about patron computing to third parties. The library will not disclose, use or disseminate personal information regarding minors to anyone other than a minor’s documented legal guardian.

8. Regarding Staff Assistance

  1. Library staff will show individual users how to access the Internet and/or productivity software, and explain basic navigational and/or software commands.
  2. Lengthy one-on-one tutorials and/or staff assistance for specific searches or the creation of documents are not possible (the Library offers free classes on Internet use and productivity software from time to time).
  3. Library personnel do not monitor or supervise children's use of the Internet or productivity software.

9. Regarding Abuse of this Policy

If a patron violates a part or parts of this policy, his or her Internet workstation and/or network use privileges may be suspended at this Library, at the discretion of the Library Director or his/her designee, either for a designated period or irrevocably. Unlawful activities will be dealt with in a serious and appropriate manner.

10. Indemnification

The Library’s website provides links to specific sites selected by the staff in line with the Library's Collection Selection Policy. Internet users can further choose to access other websites on the Internet. Even with technology protection measures, users may gain access to sites that may contain material of a controversial nature. It remains the responsibility of the user (or the minor user's parent or guardian) to determine what is appropriate.

Adopted by Library Board, July 16, 1997; revised March 15, 2000; revised September 20, 2000; revised October 18, 2000; revised January 9, 2002; revised October 8, 2003; revised April 14, 2004; revised April 28, 2005; revised July 11, 2007, revised April 11, 2012.

© 2017 William P. Faust Westland Public Library