Balch Springs Library-Learning Center

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Internet Acceptable Use Policy

Internet Acceptable Use Policy

Balch Springs Library – Learning Center

Amended and approved by Library Board September 20, 2012

Purpose

The Balch Springs Library – Learning Center (BSLLC) provides free public access to the internet, a medium that offers a variety of educational, recreational, and cultural information for library users. Because the internet is a vast, unregulated medium, the library cannot control and is not responsible for the content or accuracy of information accessed over the internet, including information contained in electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of electronic communication.

Patrons must agree to take full responsibility for his or her own actions regarding the use of library equipment and facilities involving internet access. Signatures turned in on the Internet Acceptable Use Policy or library application are legally binding and indicate that the parties who signed have read the terms and conditions stated in this policy carefully and understand the significance.  Anyone who engages in illegal activity on the computers will be banned from the library indefinitely and may face criminal charges.

General Guidelines

  • Access to computers is for BSLLC cardholders only.  An exception is made for one time visitors wanting to use a computer. A valid card, with updated information, must be presented to staff to use the computers for email, internet, or any other resource. One time visitors must present a driver’s license or valid ID to use computers. If the patron plans on using the computers more than one time, they must apply for a library card or Computer Only card.
  • Patrons who wish to access the Internet utilizing BSLLC computers will be expected to sign and strictly adhere to the guidelines outlined in the policy.  Patrons will be held financially responsible for acts which access, modify, damage, or delete hardware, software and other data and programs other than their own.
  • Access to the internet is provided to citizens as an educational resource and a privilege.  Failure to observe the expectations as set forth in the acceptable use policy may result in a loss of access to the internet as well as any appropriate disciplinary and/or legal actions.
  • The library, in conjunction with the City of Balch Springs, has taken available precautions in forewarning and educating all interested parties and limiting access to controversial material accessible on the internet.
  • Transmission of any material in violation of any federal, state or local law is prohibited.  Internet privileges may be revoked by the library and serious disciplinary action may be pursued for violations.
  • Balch Springs Public Library requires computer users to respect the rights and sensibilities of all library users. Some Internet sites are inappropriate for viewing in a public setting. Users should refrain from the use of Internet sounds and visuals that may disrupt the ability of other library patrons to use the library and its resources. Library staff reserves the right to end Internet sessions when sexually explicit or pornographic materials are displayed.
  • Vandalism, such as damaging either equipment or facilities, will result in the cancellation of all privileges.  This includes, but is not limited to, the uploading or creation of viruses.
  • Limited help is available for computer users.

 

Card/Time Limits

Library computers are available for use with either a regular library card, which never expires, or with a COMPUTER USE ONLY card which expires in six months. COMPUTER USE ONLY card users must pay $2.50 to renew their card.

Library computers are checked out for a period of 1 hour at a time. If no others are waiting, patrons will be permitted to continue usage until another patron needs the computer.  Patrons can get back in line for another computer once their hour has expired.  If no computers are currently available, check with library staff to assure your proper place in line is scheduled based on next availability.

 

Illegal Activity

Use of the internet for any activity that violates local, provincial, federal or International law, order or regulation, is a violation of this agreement. Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to:

  1. Posting, storing, transmitting or disseminating unlawful material, including without limitation, child or other pornography, any content, data or other material which is libelous, obscene, hateful, unlawful, threatening, reaction or ethnically offensive, defamatory or which in any way constitute or encourages conduct that would constitute a criminal offense.
  2. Disseminating material which violates copyright or intellectual property rights. The customer assumes all risk regarding whether material is in the public domain;
  3. Pyramid or other illegal soliciting schemes; or
  4. Fraudulent activities; including but not limited to: impersonating any person or entity, or forging anyone’s digital or manual signature.
  5. Creation, transmittal, or use of illegal copies of copyrighted software.
  6. Waste of computing resources, for example, by intentionally placing a program in an endless loop, by sending chain letters or junk mail, or by printing excessive amounts of paper.

Printing

Printing to a library laser printer is available at a cost of .15 cents per page. Pages must be paid prior to printing.

E-mail

Sending e-mail using another’s identity, an assumed name, or anonymously is forbidden.

Games

Games may be played on computers in the library as long as quiet is maintained and the rights of other library patrons are respected.   

Sound

Out of consideration for other patrons, sound will not be allowed on library computers unless the patron brings his/her own headphones.  The library will not be responsible for any personal equipment utilized on library computers.

Cell Phones

Cell phones use is prohibited in the library and computer lab out of courtesy to other patrons.  Please go outside the library to engage in telephone communications.

Privacy

For the consideration of patron privacy, it is against library policy for library staff to enter personal patron information on employment applications, emails, or on any other internet form.  

External Data

  • For storing and uploading data, USB Flash drives may be utilized on library computers.  The library will not be responsible for any personal equipment utilized on library computers.
  • Patrons are allowed to download data temporarily to hard drives on library computers.  However, this data is cleared hourly automatically as time expires on computers. For this reason, we encourage patrons to save their data before their time expires.
  • Accessing, downloading, printing or storing information with sexually explicit content is forbidden.
  • Downloading or transmitting fraudulent, threatening, obscene, intimidating, defamatory, harassing, discriminatory, or otherwise unlawful messages or images is forbidden.
  • Installing or downloading computer software, programs or executable files contrary to policy is forbidden.  Patrons should check with library staff prior to downloading or accessing a file or document if the source of the file or other circumstances raises doubts about its safety.

Children

Computer work stations are designed for use by one person at a time.  Children 12 and over are allowed to use computers without supervision.  They are expected to respect the workspace of other patrons around them in the library. Children under the age of 12 will be allowed to use computers, but must be monitored by an adult at all times.

The following are recommended guidelines for parents and guardians to ensure that children have positive online experiences, whether at home or in the library:

  • Use the Internet as a family. Join your children in Internet exploration.
  • Explore the wide range of available information and tell your children about sites you consider inappropriate for them.
  • Encourage children to use sites recommended on the Library's homepage and counsel them to avoid sites you consider unsuitable.
  • Provide guidelines for your children on the amount of time they spend online, just as for television viewing.
  • Instruct children NEVER to give out personal information (name, address, password, telephone number, credit card number) online.
  • Teach children to be good online consumers. As with print information, consider the source, date, and accuracy of online information.

The public library, unlike schools, does not serve in loco parentis (in place of a parent). Librarians cannot act in the place of parents in providing constant care and supervision of children as they explore the Internet. The responsibility for what minors read or view on the Internet rests with parents or guardian. As it does with other library resources, the Library will provide training on electronic resources. It will also make information available to help parents and guardians in their efforts to exercise their rights and responsibilities regarding their own children's use of electronic resources.

Parents with Children

The supervision of children is the sole responsibility of the parent or guardian. The library has instituted the following policy in regards to unsupervised children whose parents are using the computers:

  • If the child is being disruptive or unsupervised, a warning will be given to the parent that they must attend to their child.
  • If the child continues to be disruptive or unsupervised, the parent must stop using the computer immediately and attend to their child.
  • If the parent, on a frequent basis, continually leaves their child unsupervised, they may be asked not to come back to the library.

 

Policy Subject to Revision

The Balch Springs Public Library affirms its commitment to helping patrons use the Internet effectively.  The Library will continue to monitor changes and trends in Internet technology that could improve our ability to provide electronic access to library users, and will revise this policy as necessary with the approval of the library board of trustee’s.

This Internet Acceptable Use Policy was approved by the Balch Springs Public Library Board of Trustee’s June 15, 2006.  This policy was review and revised by the Balch Springs Library Board on May 20, 2010.