Internet and Computer Use Policy
East Central Georgia Regional Library
INTERNET SAFETY POLICY AND
PUBLIC COMPUTER USE GUIDELINES
Welcome to the East Central Georgia Regional Library's Public Access/Internet computers. When you hear the term Information Super Highway, many people think of the Internet. To help in staying safe when using the Internet, to maximize the availability of this resource, and to insure fair accessibility for all, please follow these Public Computer Access Guidelines, which include our Internet safety policy, rules, and procedures.
NOTE: A printed copy of this policy will be furnished upon request.
INTERNET ACCESS POLICY
In response to advances in technology and the changing needs of the community, the East Central Georgia Regional Library endeavors to develop collections, resources, and services that meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of this area's community. It is within this context that the East Central Georgia Regional Library offers access to the Internet.
In accordance with Regional Library policy, filters have been installed on all computers which are accessible to minors--this includes all public access computers in the library. Please be aware that Internet filters are not foolproof, and that it is still possible to access some sites which may contain sexually explicit material, as well as other information that may be deemed objectionable. Filters may be turned off for adults (persons 18 years of age and older) upon request for bona fide research or other lawful purposes. We do ask that those making this request please inform the staff when they log off, so that the filter may be reactivated.
Although Internet resources accessible through the library are filtered, parents or guardians, not the library or its staff, are responsible for the Internet information selected and/or accessed by their children. Parents/guardians may restrict their children from access to Internet resources accessible through the library. Parents/guardians are required to provide their consent when they register their children/wards for a library card in the Georgia PINES system. Minor children, under 18 years of age, cannot use the library's public access work-stations, including word processing and other applications without this consent. Minors who do not reside in the areas served by the Georgia PINES system who do not have a PINES library card, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times during their computer session. Parents/guardians and children are encouraged to read an important set of helpful suggestions for a child's safety on the Internet. To state further:
To the extent practical, technology protection measures (the "Internet Filters") are used to block or filter Internet sites or other forms of electronic communications, which would allow access to inappropriate information. Specifically, as required by the Children's Internet Protection Act, blocking shall be applied to web sites, pages, and visual depictions of material deemed obscene or child pornography, or to any material deemed harmful to minors, as much as possible. To be more specific:
The East Central Georgia Regional Library does not protect you from information on the Internet which you find offensive. Even though filters have been installed, there is sexually explicit material and other information resources which you may personally find controversial or inappropriate. Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete or current information. You need to be a good information consumer, questioning the validity of the information you find.
However, patrons accessing Internet sites which are inappropriate for a public library setting will be asked to end their Internet session for the day. If this problem persists, the library may suspend the user's computer privileges for a period of one year subject to review by the library Director.
For WiFi computer network guidelines, please see number 17 below.
Library staff cannot provide in-depth training in the use of the Internet or personal computers in general. We will be happy to offer searching suggestions, assistance in the use of Galileo databases, and assistance in answering other computer-related questions. The staff who use their workstations to assist in answering your reference questions will not be able to do extensive Internet searches or download files for you from their workstations. Library staff members will provide no assistance in the use of e-mail, word processors or Microsoft Office applications.
Have fun exploring the Internet, but please remember that many times you will find the specific information you need right here...in our books, periodicals, CD-ROM databases, etc.
COMPUTER USE POLICIES AND PROCEDURE
1. You must be a registered Georgia PINES library system user in good standing to use the library's public access computers, and present your PINES card upon signing up for access. No computer use will be allowed without the presentation of your PINES card. PINES policy does not allow library staff members to look up accounts by name or other criteria; your library card MUST BE PRESENTED. Georgia residents must register for a PINES card (free of charge) in order to be use the library's public access computers. Minors (under 18) who wish to use the library's public access computers must have parental consent indicated on their Georgia PINES library card registration form. Computer users under six years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.
In Richmond County Libraries:
Those visiting the area (people not eligible for PINES cards) who have valid out-of-state identification may purchase up to 60 minutes of continuous computer use a day. The cost is $2.00 for a one-hour daily session. Once the hour is up, the paid session expires. There will be no refunds or transfers. If the visitor is accompanied by another guest, only the visitor who paid for the time may use the computer. Visitors must show a picture identification card to purchase computer time. The email station may be used twice a day by visitors at no charge. Non-resident minors who do not have a valid PINES card must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who purchases the computer time and remains with the minor at all times during their computer session. This accompanying adult must present picture identification. Computer users under six years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.
2. The public access computers are normally available at the Headquarters Library and at most of the ECGRL branches, (subject to periodic maintenance) from opening until 30 minutes before closing. Check with each branch for hours.
3. Use of the public access computers is on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the limited number of workstations and the limited number of access hours per day, the maximum time a patron may spend on a computer is one hour per session, per day, or any portion of one hour for a session/day (for example, you may not log off after 30 minutes and come back later for another 30 minutes). Any user who refuses to leave a library public access computer when requested by the staff is subject to the possible loss of computer privileges at the library for a period of one year subject to review by the library Director.
EMAIL ONLY COMPUTERS:
Some computers in the library may be set up for EMAIL ONLY use. No other Internet browsing is allowed. Email accounts must be accessed through a web site that is configured for that purpose (see the home page on the email computer for links to some); use of Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, or another email application is not allowed. The EMAIL ONLY computers are established for a QUICK check of your email; there is a 15 - minute time limit on the machine(s). In some libraries, TIMER SOFTWARE may be installed on the email-only computers. Staff will NOT extend time past the 15 minutes. Patrons are given adequate warning before applications are shut down at the end of the fifteen minutes. Users who violate the time limit on these machines are subject to the same restrictions that other computer-use abusers are subject to - loss of computer privileges for the day or for up to a year with repeated offenses, in some cases the possible loss of all library privileges.
4. The public access workstations are to be used for Internet and library-installed applications only. You may not use your own software programs on the public access computers, whether they are contained on floppy disks or compact disks.
5. You must use your own diskettes or jump drive (also called flash drive, thumb drive) if you wish to save files. Please note that there is no guarantee that you will have access to a 3 ½” floppy drive or that all flash drives will work on public computers, which are security-locked. Some new computers are configured without floppy drives at all; patrons who wish to save files must save them to another type of media (flash memory stick). The library does not guarantee that either file/save method will work.
WARNING: Although we use a virus-checker on the public access computers, this will not completely protect you from the chance of getting a virus. Software downloaded from the Internet may contain a virus and you need to have virus-checking software on your personal computer. The East Central Georgia Regional Library is not responsible for any damage to a patron's disk or computer, or for any loss of data, damage or liability that may occur from patron use of the library's computers.
6. There will be a charge for printouts made from the public access computers. At Richmond County libraries, black and white printing costs $.15 per sheet; color printing (available at some libraries) costs $1.00 per sheet. Libraries are equipped with a print management system to ensure that payment is made before printing occurs. At the Headquarters Library, for printers located in the reference room, please pay at the Information Desk or at the public Print Management terminal. If computers are used in the Children's Department, pay the library staff member stationed there. Libraries in other counties of our regional system may have different charges. Patrons who print from the public-access computers are responsible for ALL pages printed, even though he or she may later decide that the copies are not wanted. Failure to pay for print-outs will result in the loss of library computer privileges. Because our printers are networked, patrons may not supply their own paper.
7. You may not always be able to go places on the Internet that you wish to visit. There are many reasons, among them:
· Too many Internet visitors & the host computer has closed or limited access.
· The database or resource is licensed to a particular institution, of which you are not a member.
· The host computer has changed its address or closed down.
· The library's Internet connection may be periodically & temporarily inoperable due to technical difficulties.
· The web site is blocked by the library's Internet filter.
Warning: Users of electronic mail systems should be aware that electronic mail in its present form cannot be secured and is, therefore, extremely vulnerable to unauthorized access and modification.
8. Patrons who wish to establish e-mail accounts should use the sources on the World Wide Web which will provide these services free-of-charge. Such sites include Hotmail (www.hotmail.com), Yahoo (www.yahoo.com), and just about any search engine. The library will not establish e-mail accounts for patrons, nor will they assume any responsibility for such accounts. Library staff members will not provide assistance in obtaining or using e-mail accounts.
9. Computing resources may only be used for legal purposes. The Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act establishes that certain acts involving computer fraud or abuse are crimes punishable by defined fines or imprisonment or both. The Act includes, but is not limited to, such acts as:
· Causing a computer or computer network to stop performing computer operations;
· Obstructing, interrupting or causing a computer, computer network, computer program or data to malfunction;
· Putting false information into a computer;
· Using a computer or computer network without authority with the intention of taking the property of another;
· Deleting or in any way removing, either temporarily or permanently, any computer program or data from a computer or computer network;
· Using a computer or computer network with the intention of examining any employment, medical, salary, credit or any other financial or personal data relating to any other person without authority;
· Disclosing a number, code, password or other means of access to a computer or computer network without authority which results in damages to the owner of the computer or computer network.
Persons who violate any of the above may be sued for damages and the cost of the suit. Criminal penalties may include a fine, imprisonment or both.
10. You should use the public access computers in accordance with the ethical standards of the library.
Examples of unacceptable use (some of which may have legal consequences) include, but are not limited to the following:
· Violation of computer system security;
· Unauthorized use of computer accounts, access codes or network identification numbers assigned to others;
· Use of computer communications facilities in ways that unnecessarily impede the computing activities of others (such as randomly initiating interactive electronic communications or e-mail exchanges), overuse of interactive network utilities, and so forth;
· Violation of software license agreements;
· Violation of network usage policies and regulations;
· Violation of another user's privacy;
· Viewing material which may be considered obscene and/or not acceptable in a public library setting.
11. Use of the public access computers by commercial companies in a for-profit manner is prohibited. Business people may use the computers in order to obtain information, use e-mail or for recreational purposes, as may any other authorized user.
12. Computing resource users can facilitate computing at the library in many ways. The library endorses the practice of cooperative computing. This includes:
· Regular deletion of unneeded files from temporary folders on shared computing resources;
· Refraining from overuse of connect time, information storage space, printing facilities or processing capacity;
· Refraining from overuse of interactive network utilities;
· Refraining from use of sounds and visuals which might be disruptive to others;
· Refraining from use of any computing resource in an irresponsible manner;
· Logging off from a remote computer when you are finished.
13. Misuse of the computer or Internet access will result in the loss of your computer privileges for a period of one year, subject to review by the library Director; it may also result in a loss of your library privileges. Violations of the policies described above will be dealt with in a serious and appropriate manner. Illegal acts involving library computing resources may also be subject to prosecution by local, state or federal authorities.
14. Because Galileo, a basic reference database, is only available on the computers with Internet access, each county library may choose to limit one or more workstations to Galileo use only, depending on local circumstances.
15. Internet access equipment, including monitors, is not to be moved or relocated in any way. This includes, but is not limited to, turning the monitor away from the view of the staff. Patrons who are found doing this will be asked to end their computer session for the day, and may have their computer use privileges revoked altogether.
16. Computers are not to be shut down by anyone but a library staff member. The system is password protected on several levels, and Internet access is automatically denied unless the appropriate codes are entered. Those encountering problems which may require a shutdown should contact a library staff member immediately.
17. Wireless computing use: We cannot guarantee the safety or security of your equipment when connected to the library's wireless network. We strongly recommend that you employ your own anti-virus measures and a personal firewall for the security of your equipment. Wireless users agree to abide by the library's Internet Safety Policy insofar as content and network use. That is, all of the above guidelines remain in place for wireless use with the exception of numbers 3, 4, 15, and 16; to be more specific, all library computer guidelines remain in effect unless they refer specifically to library-owned computer equipment. Patrons who are using their own computer equipment are free to use their own software, to save files as they wish on their equipment or removable media, and to move about the library in appropriate seating areas for wireless network use.
18. No more than two persons at a time may be seated at a single computer station. Only the person who has signed up to use the computer may actually operate the equipment. Violation of this policy may result in having the user's computer session ended for the day, and continued violation may result in having computer use privileges revoked altogether.
Please see a librarian at the desk or use PCReservation* to sign up for public access computer use.
*PCReservation is available at some libraries.
The East Central Georgia Regional Library is not responsible for damage to or loss of data for any reason including power interruption, computer viruses, hardware failure and faulty software. The use of Library computer equipment and the entering of information or data are at the patron’s own risk.
Failure to follow Library computer and Internet policies, guidelines, and procedures can result in a loss of the patron’s access privileges. Illegal or disruptive behaviors can result in immediate termination of access and may necessitate intervention by law enforcement authorities. The Library reserves the right to terminate any computer session; users who fail to follow these guidelines may lose their access privilege for the day or for a longer period of time, to be determined by the library staff. An appeal to reinstate computer use privileges may be made in writing to the Director of the Library.
By using the East Central Georgia Regional Library computers, the library patron agrees to defend, indemnify and hold the East Central Georgia Regional Library, its Board, information providers, operators, other users of the system, and any institutions with which they are affiliated, harmless from and against any claims, damages, losses, liabilities, costs and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees, resulting, directly or indirectly from their use of the system.