LSLC Member Libraries
Internet and Computer Use Policy and Guidelines
Definition of Terms
The term “LSLC Member Libraries” refers to the thirteen Member Libraries of the Library System of Lancaster County, their branches, staff, and all public governing bodies associated in any way with their operations.
The terms “Library” or “Member Library” refers to any one of the thirteen independent Libraries that comprise the Library System.
The term “User” or “Patron” is defined as any person using or viewing in any way all computers, workstations or networks made available for use by the Library.
The term “Minor” refers to any individual under the age of 18 years.
The term “Staff” refers to Library employees
As part of the LSLC Member Libraries’ mission to meet the cultural, informational and educational needs of the communities, they serve, employing advances in technology in this Information Age, the LSLC Member Libraries offer public access to the resources of the Internet with equal access to that information for all individuals in the community.
The Internet is a global electronic network which enables the library to provide information to patrons beyond the library’s collection. It includes useful ideas, information, and opinions from around the world. However, the Internet is an unregulated medium. It provides access to information that may be inaccurate, illegal or that some may find offensive or disturbing. The LSLC Member Libraries cannot control a user’s access to all Internet resources.
Responsibilities of Library Staff and Users
Library staff will not be responsible for personally monitoring a user’s Internet use, except for length of use in order to ensure equal opportunity of access for everyone. The user, or the parent/guardian of a minor, is responsible for his or her Internet session at all times.
The Library reserves the right to terminate an Internet session that disrupts library services or that involves user behavior that violates the Library’s policies.
As with all Library resources, the Library affirms the right and responsibility of parents/guardians, NOT Library staff, to determine and monitor their minor children’s use of the Internet. (Minors are defined in this policy as children and young people under the age of 18 years.) Parents are responsible for their minor children’s use of the Library’s resources and facilities. Parents who believe that their children cannot responsibly use the Library’s Internet access are requested to monitor their children’s Internet use.
PARENTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO COME IN WITH THEIR CHILDREN AND SUPERVISE INTERNET SESSIONS AT THE LIBRARY.
While the LSLC Member Libraries endeavor to provide access to information of the highest quality, the LSLC Member Libraries specifically disclaim any warrant as to the information’s accuracy, timeliness, authoritativeness, usefulness or fitness for a particular purpose.
The LSLC Member Libraries will have no liability for direct, indirect or consequential damages related to the use of information accessed through the LSLC Member Libraries’ Internet service.
Software and information from any source, including the Internet, may contain computer viruses. The LSLC Member Libraries are not responsible for damage to users’ disks or computers or for any loss of data, damage or liability that may occur from use of a Library’s computers.
Unacceptable Uses of Computers
Among the uses that are considered unacceptable and which constitute a violation of this policy are the following:
- Uses that violate the law or encourage others to violate the law. Transmitting of offensive or harassing messages; offering for sale or use any substance the possession or use of which is prohibited by law; viewing, transmitting or downloading obscene materials or materials that encourage others to violate the law; downloading or transmitting confidential, trade secret information, or copyrighted materials. Even if materials on the networks are not marked with the copyright symbol, users should assume that all materials are protected unless there is explicit permission on the materials to use them.
- Uses that cause harm to others or damage to their property. Engaging in defamation (harming another’s reputation by lies); uploading a worm, virus, “trojan horse,” “time bomb” or other harmful form of programming or vandalism; participating in “hacking” activities or any form of unauthorized access to other computers, networks, or information systems.
- Uses that jeopardize the security of access of the computer network or other networks on the Internet. Disclosing or sharing the user’s password with others; impersonating another user; using one’s own software programs on the library’s computers; altering the Library’s computer settings; damaging or modifying computer equipment or software.
- Uses that are deemed “harmful to minors” or compromise the safety and security of minors when using e-mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications: Minors under age 17 may not give to others private information about themselves or others, including credit card numbers and social security numbers; arranging a face-to-face meeting with someone one has “met” on the computer network or Internet without a parent’s permission.The term “harmful to minors” is defined by the Communications Act of 1934 (47 USC Section 254 [h]), as meaning any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that
- taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion;
- depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals;
- taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.
- Uses that Violate Confidentiality of Information: Unauthorized disclosure, use, or dissemination of personal information regarding Library users, including minors is prohibited. Personally identifiable information about users may not be disclosed or used in any way, except to law enforcement authorities as provided in the law. Users should be aware, however, that due to the technical difficulties involved in providing absolute security, transactions and files may become public.
The library prohibits displaying, downloading, or copying offensive or inappropriate messages, pictures, or explicit sexual material as defined in 18 PA.C.S.A. 5903
Procedures for Internet Usage
- Patrons must have a valid library card from the Library System of Lancaster County or another Access PA Library, and must have no overdue materials or fines owed. Member Libraries may choose to grant permission to use library computers to a visitor to the area after the visitor agrees to abide by this policy.
- An “Internet Usage Agreement” must be signed. If under age 18, a “Parental Permission Form” must be signed by the patron’s parent or legal guardian in the presence of library staff.
- Computer users must be able to employ the computer on their own, and may be asked to demonstrate their ability to use the computer without damaging it.
- Patrons must leave a workstation immediately when asked by a staff member.
- Patrons may not download materials onto the computer’s hard drive or attempt to add, modify or remove any system element.
- Patrons may download only that information which is legal to copy.
- Patrons may not systematically employ Library computers for commercial activity.
- Patrons will refrain from using sounds or visuals which might be disruptive to others.
- The Member Libraries do not offer email accounts but patrons may use library computers to access email from outside providers such as AOL, MSN, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.
- Patrons may not alter or attach equipment to the library’s hardware, or alter, add or attempt to alter programs or device settings.
- Patrons are responsible for any damages they do to the machines or software.
- Misuse of computers or Internet access will result in the loss of computer privileges. A letter will be sent to parents or guardians of minors regarding any revocation of privileges, and a signed permission form will be included.
- The individual Member Libraries will develop such rules and procedures as are necessary to ensure the fair and reasonable use of Library computers, including, but not limited to, fees for printing or purchase of disks and the length of time a patron may use the computer.
- Patrons need to have a zero balance on their library account to use the computer.
- Internet and computer users are responsible for each page they print.
- Only 1 person per computer.
Response to Violations
The patron’s access to the Library’s computer network and Internet is a privilege, not a right. A patron violates this policy by his or her own action. Failure to comply with this policy and its procedures will result in the forfeiture of the patron’s access to computers at any of the Member Libraries of the Library System of Lancaster County. The first offense will result in a loss of computer privileges for one month. The second offense will result in a loss of computer privileges for six months. After the third offense, the patron will lose all computer privileges indefinitely. Decisions regarding the appropriate response to violations will be made by the Director of the Member Library at which the offense occurred, or by his/her designate. Appeals should be made in writing and submitted to the Member Library Director’s attention.
U.S. Copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) prohibits unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials except when permitted by “fair use” principles. Users may not copy or distribute electronic materials (including text, images, programs, e-mail or data) without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Responsibility for the consequences of copyright infringement lies solely with the user, as the LSLC Member Libraries expressly disclaim any liability or responsibility resulting from such use.