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BULLET St. Louis Public Library
Internet Policy

Adopted by the Board of Directors
April 1, 2002
Revised February 2, 2004
As part of fulfilling its mission to "provide learning resources and information services that support and improve individual, family and community life", St. Louis Public Library provides Internet access. The Internet offers electronic links to thousands of websites that contain valuable local, national and international sources of information. Every library Internet computer user, however, has the responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, currency, completeness, validity and appropriateness of information they find.

Choosing and Evaluating Sources

The Internet is a series of electronic communication links leading to a highly diverse array of information. Library patrons use it at their own risk. In an effort to assist its users, the Library has created web sites for adults and children to help guide them to sources that are accurate, complete and current and that provide them with a wealth of information on the local, national and global level. In addition, the Library provides training for members of the public to assist them in using the Internet in a safe, effective and efficient manner

As part of their effort to help patrons find what they need easily, library staff create links to Internet websites within the institution’s selection and reference guidelines. The Library bears no responsibility for changes in content of selected websites, for the content of sources accessed through secondary links or for Internet content generally.

Filtering (to be implemented by July 1, 2004)

In compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) the Library has installed filtering software on its computers that have Internet access. The filtering device is designed to protect against access to visual depictions that are obscene, harmful to minors and child pornography, as required by law.

Users should be aware of the limitations of Internet filtering software. While designed to restrict access to Internet content that could be deemed inappropriate, these systems are no substitute for individual judgement and/or parental involvement and oversight. Filters may block sites which have legitimate research value, as well as allowing some content through which parents might find objectionable.

In accordance with the law, Library staff may disable the filtering device to enable adult users, age 18 and above, access for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.

Rules Governing Use

St. Louis Public Library provides cardholders with computers connected to the Internet. The Library does not provide or maintain e-mail accounts or e-mail software. On their own, library Internet customers may access web-based e-mail systems. The library does not endorse any e-mail system. The Library determines the levels and types of Internet services available, including which browser software versions and plug-ins are available.

The library has established procedures that govern the amount of time an individual user can devote to a single session, determine scheduling priorities for various types of computers, and specify the conditions under which a customer’s computer session may be terminated by staff.

The library expects Internet users to comply with the terms of the library’s Internet policies, the policies of the Library’s Internet service provider, and all applicable federal, state and local laws, including but not limited to criminal, copyright, privacy, defamation and obscenity laws. The Library will render all reasonable assistance to local, state or federal officials for the investigation and prosecution of persons using Library technology in violation of any law.

Users may not:

  • Install software or plug ins on Library computers.
  • Copy software that is installed on Library computers.
  • Use the network to make unauthorized entry into other computational, informational or communication services or resources.
  • Distribute unsolicited advertising.
  • Invade the privacy of others.
  • Damage computer equipment or software.
  • Access, view or disseminate information using Library resources, including e-mail or Internet access, that is pornographic, obscene, child pornography, harmful to minors, libelous, pervasively indecent or vulgar, or advertising any product or service not permitted to minors.
  • Engage in any activity that is harassing or defamatory.
  • Engage in any activity that disrupts the normal operations of the network.
  • Engage in any activity that causes a disturbance in the Library.
  • Use the Internet for unauthorized access or any illegal activity, including hacking, violation of copyright or other rights of third parties, or in a manner inconsistent with the Library's tax-exempt status or its proper operation.

Violations of this policy may result in loss of access and/or St. Louis Public Library privileges. Unlawful activities will be dealt with in an appropriate manner.

St. Louis Public Library does not assume responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of the Library's computers, network, or Internet connection.

Users agree to INDEMNIFY AND HOLD HARMLESS the Library, its employees, and agents from any claim, demand, liability, cause of action, suit, judgment, or expense (including attorney's fees), arising out of any use of the Library’s computer equipment, network, phone lines, wireless service, or Internet connection.

Internet Use by Minors

The parents of minor children are responsible for their children's use of the Library and its resources. As part of that responsibility, parents are responsible for their children's use of the Internet through the library's computers. As part of compliance with federal and state law, the Library requires a parent’s written permission for persons under the age of eighteen to use the institution’s Internet computers. Parents or legal guardians should guide their children in use of the Internet and inform them about materials they should not use. To help parents with this important responsibility, the Library has taken certain measures designed to assist in the safe and effective use of these resources by all minors. In compliance with the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act (NCIPA), these measures are:

A. To address "the issue of safe and secure Internet access by minors to inappropriate material on the Internet, including material that is harmful to minors", the Library:

1. Develops and maintains special web sites for children and teens;

2. Provides information on how to use Library resources, including the Internet, in a safe, effective and efficient manner.

3. Encourages staff to guide minors away from materials that may be inappropriate; and,

B. 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," Library staff urges parents and minors to follow these safety guidelines:

1. Parents should explain to their children the dangers of sharing personal information about themselves or others over the Internet.

2. Ask a parent or guardian for permission before giving out personal information such as your age, home address, school name, or telephone number.

3. Ask a parent or guardian to decide whether or not you should give out personal information such as their age, marital status, or financial information.

4. Tell a parent, guardian, or library staff member if anyone tries to arrange a face-to-face meeting with you over a library Internet computer.

5. Tell a parent, guardian or library staff member if someone writes you an electronic message on a library computer that is suggestive, obscene, threatening, or which make you feel uncomfortable in some way.

6. Ask that you and/or your parent(s) report any concerns about Internet use to library staff.

7. Remember that people online may not be who they say they are.

8. Remember that not everything you read on the Internet is true.

C. Children must follow all library rules governing the use of the Internet.

Privacy

Users should be aware that the Internet is not a secure medium and that third parties may be able to obtain information regarding users' activities. However, St. Louis Public Library will not release information on the use of specific Internet resources by members of the public except as required by law or as necessary for the proper operation of the Library.



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