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Internet Usage Policy

Background

The Internet, as a worldwide computer network, enables the Library to provide access to information beyond the confines of the Library's collections. It allows access to ideas, information, and commentary from multiple and global sources. Because the Internet is an unregulated medium, the Library has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and is not responsible for its content. Some information is inaccurate, out of date, and is potentially offensive to some users, therefore, users shall be responsible for determining that the information they access is acceptable, reliable, and suitable for their needs.

Internet Access

In making the Internet available as an information link, the Avery-Mitchell-Yancey Regional Library System's goal is to enhance the existing library collections in size and depth, and to provide the public with opportunities to access the many Internet resources available.

The Public & Filters

The 2003 Supreme Court ruling, United States v. American Library Association, reinstated the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) if libraries are to receive certain federal monies. Because the Avery-Mitchell-Yancey Regional Library system is, and will continue to be, a recipient of both LSTA federal funds and the E-rate discount on Internet access service, the regional library system will meet CIPA compliance by July 1, 2004.

The public is reminded of the following facts concerning Internet filters:

  • Links to some offensive materials will slip through any filtering software and will appear in the patron's search results;
  • Conversely, information vital to a search may be filtered out;
  • Internet filters are to prevent access to visual depictions deemed "obscene," "child pornography," or "harmful to minors";
  • In keeping with the United States Supreme Court 2003 ruling, only filtering for adult Internet usage can be disabled for "bona fide research or other lawful purposes".

The Internet and Children

The Library has a long-standing history in being a partner with parents and their children in using the public library. Equally so, the Library fully acknowledges the right of parents and legal guardians to set family standards and values. The A-M-Y Regional Library system is required to abide by the Supreme Court ruling because of the library system's dependency upon federal funds in order to provide adequate public library services. Therefore, a minor (anyone under the age of 17) is not allowed to have the Internet filter disabled at the request of a parent or a legal guardian for a minor's lawful research purposes.

If minors (anyone under the age of 17) are to have filtered Internet access, the following conditions must be adhered to:

  • A minor must have a valid library card;
  • A Minor Consent Form must be signed in the presence of a staff member by the parent or legal guardian;
  • Identification of parent or legal guardian and minor will be required by staff;
  • A Minor Consent Form is required for each library location;
  • Online activities of minors will be monitored for appropriate use;
  • Minors shall not access material that is obscene, pornographic, child pornography, "harmful to minors", or otherwise deemed inappropriate for educational use.
  • A Minor Consent Form simply establishes that the parent or legal guardian is aware harmful materials may slip through the Internet filter, and assures the library that the parent or legal guardian will see that their minor understands and will comply with the Library's Internet User Safety Policy. When parental consent is given, the Library encourages parents to share Internet time with their children, however, this is a parental choice and is not a Library requirement.

Rules of Use

  • Internet Access is provided primarily for educational, informational and research purposes. Because of the limited number of Internet access computers available, the Library can override other Internet uses;
  • The Library does not provide e-mail accounts as a library service. Some Internet sites offer free e-mail accounts, therefore the Library will allow this use providing the primary purposes established for Library Internet access do not become secondary to e-mail;
  • E-mail users will not send or display obscene or disruptive messages, files, or images; The use of obscene language is not allowed;
  • E-mail cannot be used as a means to harass, libel, or slander others;
  • All Internet users must sign an Internet Agreement log-on sheet for each Internet session with the understanding that one's signature is an agreement to follow the Library's Internet User Safety Policy;
  • Because few Chat Rooms serve educational purposes, the Library does not permit Internet access of these sites (medical chat rooms are the only exception);
  • Internet users will not send, receive, or display inappropriate material which may reasonably be construed as obscene* (see Obscenity Guidelines on Page 5 of the policy) and to be in violation of the library's Rules Of Behavior Policy;
  • Internet users will abide by computer time limits for Internet sessions and will pay for all Internet printed copies;
  • Copyright laws and software licensing agreements must be respected;
  • Internet users will hold the Avery-Mitchell-Yancey Regional Library System harmless to any and all claims, losses, damages, obligations, and liabilities directly or indirectly related to the use of the Internet;
  • Any attempts to modify a computer's software or hardware or attempting illegally to access any site will result in a permanent loss of Internet privileges;
  • Unauthorized disclosure of, use of, or dissemination of a minor's personal information by means of the Internet, e-mail, or any other electronic technology is not allowed. A minor must have the authorization of their parent or legal guardian to disclose their own personal information.
  • Violation of these Rules of Use may result in a suspension and/or loss of Internet privileges as well as appropriate legal action.

NOTE: The Avery-Mitchell-Yancey Regional Library reserves the right to update this policy on a regular basis and/or as Internet use dictates the need for such changes.

(Revised Policy Adopted 6/2004)