Internet Use Policy
The INTERNET, as an information resource, enables the Library to provide information beyond the confines of its own collection. In introducing the INTERNET as an information resource, the Sheppard Memorial Library's goals are to enhance its existing collection in size and depth, and, as a public access agency, to give opportunity to any citizen who wishes to participate in navigating the INTERNET. The INTERNET allows access to ideas, information, and commentary from around the globe. Currently, however, it is an unregulated medium. As such, while it offers access to a wealth of material that is personally, professionally, and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages, it also enables access to some material that may be offensive and disturbing.
Library staff cannot control the availability of information links which often change rapidly and unpredictably. Not all sources on the INTERNET provide accurate, complete, or current information. Users need to be good information consumers, questioning the validity of the information. All users of electronic information resources such as the INTERNET are expected to use these resources in a responsible manner, consistent with the educational and informational purposes for which they are provided, and to follow the rules and regulations of the organization providing these resources.
Since the INTERNET is a global electronic network, there is no state/county control of its users or content. The INTERNET and its available resources may contain material of a controversial nature. The Library cannot censor access to material or protect users from offensive information. Parents of minor children must assume responsibility for their children's use of the INTERNET.
It is not possible for library staff to control specific information children and youth may locate on the INTERNET because the resources available are constantly changing. Just as libraries do not vouch for or endorse the viewpoints of written material in their collections, they do not do so for electronic information. It is the responsibility of the user (or the parent, guardian, or caregiver) to determine what is appropriate. The Library upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally-protected material. The Library also affirms the right and responsibility of parents to determine and monitor their children's use of Library materials and resources.
The Sheppard Memorial Library addresses the following Internet safety issues through its Internet Use Agreement:
• Access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet and World Wide Web
• The safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications
• Unauthorized access, including “hacking” and other unlawful activities by minors online
• Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors; and
• Measures designed to restrict minors’ access to material harmful to minors
The Sheppard Memorial Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of its INTERNET access.
RULES FOR INTERNET USE
1) The Library will establish procedures that will make INTERNET stations available on a first-come, first-served basis.
2) Based on demand, the Library may set a time limit on the use of INTERNET resources in order to maximize the use of these resources.
3) INTERNET use will be managed in a manner consistent with the Library's Rules of Conduct which have been adopted and are posted in the Library.
4) Failure to use the INTERNET stations appropriately and responsibly may result in revocation of INTERNET use privileges.
5) World Wide Web access is offered as a public service, and the library cannot offer individual instruction on the use of the World Wide Web. Patrons interested in such instruction may find it available at local colleges or computer stores.
Following the guidelines set forth in the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act, Sheppard Memorial installs filtering software on all Internet accessible computers. Patrons 17 years or older may ask to have the filtering software temporarily turned off the computer they are using. Per the federal guidelines, children under the age of 17 are to use ONLY filtered Internet access computers. The law does not allow a minor (under the age of 17) to have unfiltered access even with a parent or legal guardian’s permission or presence.