Internet and Computer Use Policy

Monroe County Public Library provides access to computers and computer-based resources for informational, educational, and recreational purposes. This policy governs the management of computers and computer data networks that are owned and administered by the library. 

Access

Residents, using their library card, and guests using approved guest credentials are eligible to access the Library’s computers and resources. Computer use is on a first-come, first-served basis.  To promote equitable access to computer resources, the Library utilizes time management software. Staff may also take other measures to manage computer access including (but not restricted to) reserving terminals for individuals or groups with specific needs.

Free wireless access is available for all Library visitors with their own personal laptops and mobile devices. Use is governed by the Library’s internet use policy. Use of the Library’s wireless network is entirely at the risk of the user. 

Confidentiality

In keeping with the Library’s general policies, information stored on computers is treated as confidential. The Library does not disclose information about an individual’s use of computer resources unless compelled to do so by local, state, or federal law, or approved by the Director or their designee.  Viewing information in the course of normal system maintenance does not constitute disclosure. 

Information stored by a user on the Library’s public computers will be removed by operating system procedures and software tools at the conclusion of each user session. However, no guarantees can be made in this regard and customers should exercise caution when exposing any private information. 

Customer Responsibilities

Users should be aware of computer viruses and other destructive programs, and take steps to avoid being a victim or an unwitting distributor. Ultimate responsibility for resolution of problems related to the invasion of the user’s privacy or loss of data rests with the user. The Library assumes no liability for loss or damage to the user’s data or devices, nor for any personal damage or injury incurred as a result of using the Library’s computing resources. This includes damage or injury sustained from invasion of the user’s privacy.  

Computing resources may only be used for legal purposes. Examples of illegal use include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Attempting to alter or damage computer equipment, software configurations, or files belonging to the Library, other users, or external networks
  • Attempting unauthorized entry to the Library’s network or external networks
  • Intentional propagation of computer viruses, malware, etc.
  • Violation of copyright or communications laws
  • Violation of software license agreements
  • Transmission of speech not protected by the First Amendment, such as libel and obscenity

Cooperative Responsibilities:

The Library strives to balance the rights of users to access different information resources with the rights of users to work in a public environment free from harassing sounds and visuals. The Library asks all users to remain sensitive to the fact that they are working in a public environment shared by people of all ages, with a variety of information interests and needs. In order to ensure an efficient, productive computing environment, the Library insists on the practice of cooperative computing. This includes:

  • Respecting the privacy of other users
  • Not using computer accounts, access codes, or network identification codes assigned to others
  • Refraining from overuse of connect time, information storage space, printing facilities, processing capacities, or bandwidth capacities
  • Refraining from the use of sounds and visuals which might disrupt the ability of other Library customers to use the Library and its resources

Sanctions

The Library relies on the cooperation of its users to efficiently and effectively provide shared resources and ensure community access to a wide range of information. If individuals violate these acceptable use rules in any way, their right to use networked resources may be suspended for a specified time. They will be notified of the length of and reason for the suspension. Individuals using Library computing resources for illegal purposes may also be subject to prosecution.

Internet Disclaimer

The internet is a global electronic network with no central control of its users or content. The internet contains a diverse range of information, some of which may be objectionable or offensive. The Library cannot protect users from offensive internet content, but librarians can offer advice and suggestions to help ensure effective internet searching.

Except for webpages produced internally, the Library does not control internet content and makes no general effort to limit internet access. However, when informed of a violation of the Library’s Internet and Computer Use Policy, library staff will enforce the legal and cooperative responsibilities outlined above.

As with other materials, parents and guardians of minor children––not the Library nor its staff––are responsible for supervising their children's use of internet resources at the Library.

The Library has investigated filters designed to restrict access to various online content, but has found them to be both overly broad (restricting access to materials that no one would find objectionable) and not fully effective (allowing access to a considerable number of sites of the sort they purport to block). Given these limitations, the Library has not installed such software. In order to provide alternatives for minors, the Library does provide links through the children's webpages to search engines with filters.

The Library cannot ensure the availability nor the accuracy of external electronic resources. Like print materials, not all electronic sources provide accurate, complete, or current information. Users need to be good information consumers, questioning the validity of information.

In accordance with Indiana Code (IC 36-12-1-12), the Library performs a public review of this Internet and Computer Use Policy annually.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees July 17, 2019