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Electronic Information Networks and Public Library Computers Use Policy

Article I: General Policy.

The Cook Memorial Public Library District (“CMPLD” or “Library”) endeavors to develop collections, resources, and services that meet the cultural, informational, recreational, and educational needs of patrons. It is within this context that the Library provides access to electronic information, databases, media, and the Internet (“Electronic Information Networks”). Patrons can access the Electronic Information Networks inside or outside of the Library using their own computer systems or personal devices. The Library also provides access to Electronic Information Networks on desktop and portable laptop computer equipment on the Library’s premises made available to the public (“Public Library Computers”). Providing access to Electronic Information Networks is intended primarily for use as an information resource tool and is consistent with the Library’s collection development policy, Wireless Internet Access Policy and mission statement. Electronic Information Networks and Public Library Computers will be collectively referred to as “Electronic Resources.”

Article II: Patron Rights, Responsibilities, and Risks.

Electronic Information Networks are dynamic, global resources that provide access to a wide variety of information. The Library does not have control over these resources and is not responsible for the content, availability, reliability, currency, accuracy or appropriateness of information accessed via their use. Library patrons use these resources at their own discretion and the Library is not responsible for any damages, indirect or direct, including but not limited to loss of data or any violation of privacy, arising from a Library patron’s use of Electronic Resources. Patrons using Electronic Resources agree that the Library may need to monitor computer use from time to time as an operational necessity. Furthermore, the Library may be required to disclose any information if directed to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction. The Library extends the protections of applicable confidentiality laws to all records of Internet activity maintained on Public Library Computers. The Library reserves the authority to reasonably regulate these resources to ensure the proper and efficient operation of the Library.

Library patrons have certain rights with respect to the use of Electronic Resources. Library patrons have the right to equitable access and the right to confidentiality and privacy in the use of Electronic Resources to the extent possible given certain constraints, such as proximity of other patrons and staff in public access settings. Patrons also have the right to access and read all patron related Library service policies, and discuss questions with the appropriate Library staff. This policy is part of the Library’s overall policy structure and should be interpreted in conjunction with other existing policies. Copies of all patron related Library policies are available upon request and on the Library’s website.

Article III: Internet Filtering

As required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”), in order to remain eligible for certain federal technology funding, the Library provides Internet filtering software on Public Library Computers to block visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography, and, in the case of persons under the age of 17 years, materials that are “harmful to minors.”

The Library has attempted to select third-party Internet filtering software that best complies with CIPA while providing patrons with the broadest possible access to constitutionally protected speech and information. The Library cannot guarantee that filtering software will block all obscenity, child pornography, or materials that are harmful to minors.

Patrons 18 and over may request Internet filters to be disabled for bona fide research or other lawful purposes by notifying a Library staff member.  Internet filters may also be disabled for all users for sites that are wrongfully blocked by filtering software. Internet users who believe that a website has been wrongfully blocked by the filtering software should contact a staff member.

Article: IV: Access by Minors.

The Library recognizes that the Internet may contain material that is inappropriate for children. Parents or legal guardians, not the Library or its staff, are responsible for information selected, transmitted, and/or accessed by their children. The Library encourages parents to monitor and supervise their children’s Internet use.

  1. To address the issue of access by minors to inappropriate material on the Internet, including material that is harmful to minors, the Library has implemented Internet filtering software described in Article III.
  2. To address the issue of the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications, as well as the unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors, the Library provides the following safety guidelines:
    1. Never give out identifying information such as home address, school name, or telephone number.
    2. Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone via the computer without parents’ or guardians’ approval.
    3. Never respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, threatening, or make one uncomfortable.
    4. Remember that people online may not be who they say they are.
  3. To address the issue of unauthorized access, including so-called “hacking,” and other unlawful activities by minors online, all Library users are hereby advised that use of the Library’s computers for hacking or any other unlawful activity is strictly prohibited as described in Article V.

Article V: Rules and Guidelines for Use.

The following rules and procedures apply to all users of the Library’s Electronic Resources.

  1. In order to give assurance of privacy, access to the browser’s history files is disabled.
  2. Patrons will need to acknowledge the “Statement of Acceptable Use” (Article VI) at the start of each desktop computer session.

Article VI: Statement of Acceptable Use.

The Library provides access to electronic information, databases, media, and the Internet (“Electronic Information Networks”) on public desktop and portable laptop computer equipment on the Library’s premises (“Public Library Computers”) as an information resource tool. Electronic Information Networks and Public Library Computers will be collectively referred to as “Electronic Resources.” All electronic traffic originating from library connections shall be in accordance with the following guidelines. Failure to use Electronic Resources within the guidelines of Acceptable Use may result in suspension of access privileges, and/or loss of Library privileges.

  1. Destruction of, damage to, or alteration of Electronic Resources, software, or network security is prohibited. The Library will take necessary action against anyone violating this policy, including, but not limited to:
    1. Asking individuals to discontinue their display of information and images
      that may cause a disruption; and/or
    2. Terminating a Public Library Computer session; and/or
    3. Revoking a patron’s Library privileges.
  2. Users are expected to follow all federal, state, and municipal laws in their use of Electronic Resources. Illegal acts may be subject to prosecution by local, state or federal authorities.
  3. The Library cannot ensure the security of account or credit card numbers entered using Electronic Resources. Users are responsible to assume
    payment of fees for any fee-based services they incur.
  4. Prohibited uses include:
    1. Illegal Activity: Using Electronic Resources for any activity in violation of applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, advertising, transmitting, or otherwise making available Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, fraudulently charging credit cards, pirating software, or making fraudulent offers to sell or buy products, items, or services. Users may not place any material on the Internet related to any illegal activity or constituting or encouraging conduct that would constitute a criminal offense or give rise to civil liability.
    2. Licensing Violations: Use of Electronic Resources in any way, which violates licensing agreements between the Library and network/database providers. Users may not violate software license agreements or engage in unauthorized duplication of copy protected software.
    3. Spamming: Sending of unsolicited bulk and/or commercial messages over the Internet using Electronic Resources.
    4. Intellectual Property Right Violations: Engaging in any activity that infringes or misappropriates the intellectual property rights of others, including, but not limited to, patents, copyrights, trademarks, service marks, trade secrets, or any other proprietary right of any third party.
    5. Obscene or Indecent Speech or Materials: Using Electronic Resources to advertise, solicit, transmit, store, post, display, or otherwise make available obscene images. The Library will notify and fully cooperate with law enforcement if it becomes aware of any use of Electronic Resources in any connection with child pornography or the solicitation of sex with minors.
    6. Forging of Headers: Forging or misrepresenting message headers, whether in whole or in part, to mask the originator of the message.
    7. Hacking: Accessing illegally or without authorization computers, accounts, equipment or networks belonging to another party, or attempting to penetrate security measures of another system. This includes any activity that may be used as a precursor to an attempted system penetration, including, but not limited to, port scans, stealth scans, or other information gathering activity.
    8. Distribution of Internet Viruses, Trojan Horses, or Other Destructive Activities: Distributing information regarding the creation of and sending Internet viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, pinging, flooding, mail-bombing, or denial of service attacks or like matters. Also, activities that disrupt the use of or interfere with the ability of others to effectively use the service or any connected network, system, service, or equipment.
    9. Facilitating a Violation of this Policy of Use: Advertising, transmitting, or otherwise making available any software product or service that is designed to violate this Policy, which includes the facilitation of the means to spam, initiation of pinging, flooding, mail-bombing, denial of service attacks, and piracy of software.
    10. Export Control Violations: The transfer of technology, software, or other materials in violation of applicable export laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, the U.S. Export Administration Regulations and Executive Orders.
    11. Resale: The sale, transfer, or rental of Electronic Resources to customers, clients or other third parties, either directly or as part of a service or product created for resale.
    12. Overuse: Users may not use computer equipment for longer than the allowed time periods which would deny access to other users.
    13. Installation of Software: Users may not install software on any Public Library Computer. Users will be held responsible for any damage to library software or hardware.

Adopted: 1/18/00
Revised: 3/20/01
Revised: 7/15/03
Revised: 3/20/07
Revised: 11/19/13
Revised: 12/16/14
Revised: 04/16/19
Revised: 03/16/21

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