I. General statements regarding internet

Internet access: The Howell Carnegie District Library (“Library”) provides access to a broad range of information resources, including those available through the Internet. Access to the internet enables the Library to expand its information services significantly. This Policy applies to both the Library-owned computers and wireless access available at the Library.

Validity of information: The Internet offers access to a wealth of information and internet sites including useful ideas, information, and opinions from around the world. However, not all sources on the internet provide information that is accurate, complete, or legal. Internet Users (“Users”) will need to evaluate for themselves the validity of the information found.

Library does not endorse information on internet: The Library provides a home site on its public computers pointing to a variety of quality Internet sites. However, because the Internet is a vast and unregulated information network, it also enables access to information, ideas and commentary beyond the confines of the Library’s mission, selection criteria and collection development policies. The provision of access does not mean or imply that the Library endorses or sanctions the content or point of view of any of the information or commentary that may be found on the Internet.

View internet at own risk: The Internet may contain information that is controversial, sexually explicit, or offensive. Users are cautioned that ideas, points of view and images can be found on the Internet that are controversial, divergent and/or inflammatory. Because of this and the fact that access points on the Internet can and do change often, rapidly and unpredictably, the Library cannot protect individuals from information and images which they might find offensive, disturbing or inaccurate. Library patrons use the internet at their own risk. Parents or guardians of minor children are responsible for their child’s use of the internet through the Library’s connection as stated more fully below.

No liability: The Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from its connections to the Internet. Users shall use Library
computer hardware and software at their own risk. The Library is not responsible for equipment malfunction, loss of data, any damages to the User’s disks, data or electronic transactions of any type. The Library is not responsible for the loss of any portable media.

II. Nature of the public library setting

Respect others: Because Library patrons are of all ages, backgrounds and sensibilities are using the computers, Users are asked to be sensitive to other’s values and beliefs when accessing potentially controversial information and images.

Use with caution of risks: Users are cautioned that, because security in an electronic environment such as the internet cannot be guaranteed, all transactions, files, accounts, and communications are vulnerable to unauthorized access and use. Users should be cautious about using the public computers or public internet Access for sensitive, private or valuable information or transactions because safety from unauthorized access and use cannot be guaranteed. The Library is not responsible for any damages or loss that results from unauthorized access or use of User’s files, accounts, communications or similar documents.

III. Internet filtering

Internet filtering – General

To comply with the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”) and Michigan’s Public Act 212 of 2000 (“PA 212”), all computer terminals are filtered. The Library’s wireless access is also filtered. Filtered access means the computer or wireless system has a program installed that is designed to restrict minors from receiving obscene materials or sexually explicit materials that are harmful to minors as defined by PA 212, and visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography or harmful to minors as defined by CIPA. This filtering method is designed to prevent access by minors to inappropriate matter on the internet. Under Michigan Law, “adults” are 18 years of age or older. CIPA defines an adult as 17 years of age or older. As required by CIPA, 17 year olds may have the filter disabled, but only as specifically described below.

Internet filtering – patrons 18 years of age or older

Disable filters: Patrons 18 years of age or older may request to have the filters disabled for bona fide research or other lawful purposes. The Library’s wireless access cannot be disabled, so any patron who desires to have the filters disabled must follow the library’s procedure for providing disabled filtering.

Unblock sites: Individuals 18 years of age or older who believe an internet site has been improperly blocked can request that the site be unblocked. The request should be submitted via the Request to Unblock form. The Library Director/designee will make a decision on the site’s status and will reply via email to the individual who submitted the form.

Internet filtering – patrons under 18 years of age

Responsibility of parents and legal guardians: As with other materials in the Library’s collection, it is the Library’s Policy that parents or legal guardians are responsible for deciding which library resources are appropriate for their children. The Library urges parents and guardians to discuss Internet use with their children and to monitor their use of this educational tool. For more information on Internet safety for children go to https://internetsafety101.org.

Unfiltering terminal for 17 year olds: Minors who are 17 years old may only have the filters (filters used to filter visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography and materials that is deemed harmful to minors as prohibited by CIPA) disabled on a computer used by that patron for (1) bona fide research or other lawful purposes and (2) only if a parent or legal guardian has accompanied them to the Library and is sitting at the computer station or terminal at all times. Patrons under the age of 17 may not ask for the terminal to be unfiltered pursuant to the requirements of CIPA.

Unblocking websites: Patrons under the age of 18 may request that a particular site be unblocked, but only if the site does not include obscene or sexually explicit materials deemed harmful to minors or other materials prohibited by law, by submitting a Request to Unblock an Internet Website form. The Library Director/ designee will make a decision on the site’s status and will reply via email to the individual who submitted the form.

Safety of minors regarding e-mail and other direct communications: Because children often need access to email for homework and other purposes, the Library does not prohibit the use of email. To the extent that the filters do not block email, it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to educate the minor on safety and security and monitor the use of these communications. For more information on Internet safety for children go to https://internetsafety101.org.

IV. Procedure for use.

See Computer and Internet Procedures and Rules.

Availability: The public computers are only available if not being used by the Library for classes, staff training, or special programs. The Library has first priority for its own uses, sponsored events, or co-sponsored events. Library patrons should be aware that some computers are limited only to the online public access catalog, and they are clearly marked. The online public access computers are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

V. Acceptable use.

All Users of the Library’s internet connection, including wireless network, computers and devices (Library internet) are expected to use this resource in a responsible and courteous manner, and to follow all rules and procedures as established in this Policy.

Lawful use: The Library Internet shall be used in a lawful manner. The Library’s internet cannot be used for any fraudulent or unlawful purpose prohibited under any applicable federal, state or local law, including, but not limited to, (1) accessing materials that can be classified as obscene or child pornography; (2)gaining unauthorized access to or use of patron information or accounts; (3) engaging in identity theft; (4) engaging in civil rights violations; or (5) monitoring or capturing information regarding individuals and their use of the computers or Internet illegally, such as by using a keylogger.

Intellectual property: Users must respect intellectual property rights and obey the copyright laws of the United States and all other intellectual property rights. Responsibility for any consequences of copyright infringement or violations of other laws or agreements lies with the User. The Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use.

Use must not be harmful to minors: Michigan law prohibits Users from allowing minors access to sexually explicit materials harmful to minors. Library Internet Users shall also not permit any minor to view sexually explicit materials or any other materials deemed harmful to minors.

Compliance with rights and responsibilities of users: The same rules apply to the use of the Internet as with the use of any other Library materials. The Library has adopted a Rights & Responsibilities of Users Policy, all Users must comply.

Privacy; unauthorized access: Users must respect the privacy of others by not misrepresenting oneself as another User; by not attempting to modify or gain access to files, passwords or data belonging to others; and by not hacking or seeking disallowed access to any computer system via the internet.

Time limit: Failure to leave a computer terminal upon the expiration of the allotted time is a violation of this Policy.

Payment for printing: Users must reimburse the Library for printing costs.

Personal software prohibited: Users shall refrain from use of personal software, the attachment of equipment to the Library’s computers or networks or the modification of any operating system or network configuration. Users shall also refrain from downloading/uploading files to/from the Library’s computers.

System modifications: Users are not permitted to change the security setup, operating systems, the network configuration, or any other configuration of any Library computer terminal without authorization.

Damage: The User shall be responsible for repayment of any costs to the Library for damage to the computer terminals or system.

Personal information; unauthorized release: No patron, including minors, may engage in the unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal information of any person, including minors.

Saving files and documents: Patrons who wish to have a permanent record of their work need to save files and documents on their own portable media. Library computers do not allow Users to permanently save documents or personal files to the hard drive.

VI. Violations of Internet Use Policy

The Library Director/designee may restrict access to Library facilities by (1) terminating or limiting access to computers, the internet, or Library facilities; (2) immediately dismissing the patron from the premises; (3) suspending the patron’s access to Library facilities for a set period of time; or (4) by denying access to specific services and/or programs pursuant to this Policy. If necessary, the local police may be called to intervene. Staff will follow the Progressive Discipline Policy and Patron Incident Report Procedure.

VII. Staff assistance

Staff may assist Users in getting started on the internet. However, the Library cannot guarantee that staff will be available to assist Users at all times the Library is open. Because of the many different applications available on the internet, staff may not be able to provide specialized or technical knowledge about a particular application. Users who need training on Library software or digital collections should request an appointment.

March 2024