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B. Internet Use Policy
1. General Statements Regarding Internet:
a. Internet Access.
The Marshall District Library provides access to a broad range of information resources, including those available through the Internet. Access to the Internet enables the library to expand its information services significantly. This policy applies to both the Library owned computers and wireless access available at the Library.
b. Validity of Information.
The Internet offers access to a wealth of information and Internet sites including useful ideas, information and opinions from around the world. However, not all sources on the Internet provide information that is accurate, complete or legal. Internet users will need to evaluate for themselves the validity of the information found.
c. Library Does Not Endorse Information on Internet.
The Marshall District Library provides a home site on its public computers pointing to a variety of quality Internet sites. However, because the Internet is a vast and unregulated information network, it also enables access to information, ideas and commentary beyond the confines of the Library’s mission, selection criteria, and collection development policies. The provision of access does not mean or imply that the Library endorses or sanctions the content or point of view of any of the information or commentary that may be found on the Internet.
d. View Internet at Own Risk.
The Internet may contain information that is controversial, sexually explicit or offensive. Users are cautioned that ideas, points of view and images can be found on the Internet which are controversial, divergent and/or inflammatory. Because of this and the fact that access points on the Internet can and do change often, rapidly and unpredictably, the Library cannot protect individuals from information and images which they might find offensive, disturbing or inaccurate. Library patrons use the Internet at their own risk. Parents or guardians of minor children are responsible for their child’s use of the Internet, including email, through the Library’s connection as stated more fully below. (See Section III)
e. No Liability.
The Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from its connections to the Internet.
2. Nature of the Public Library Setting
a. Respect Others.
Because library users of all ages, backgrounds and sensibilities are using the computers, library patrons are asked to be sensitive to other’s values and beliefs when accessing potentially controversial information and images. Displaying images, sounds, or messages that harass or annoy other library users is prohibited.
b. Use with Caution of Risks.
Users are cautioned that, because security in an electronic environment such as the Internet cannot be guaranteed, all transactions, files and communications are vulnerable to unauthorized access and use.
3. Patrons Under 18 Years of Age, Public Act 212 of 2000
a. Responsibility of Parents and Legal Guardians.
As with other materials in the Library’s collection, it is the Library’s policy that parents or legal guardians are responsible for deciding which library resources are appropriate for their children. The Library urges parents and guardians to discuss Internet use, including email and social networking websites, with their children and to monitor their use of this educational tool.
b. Access for Patrons Under 18 years of Age.
i. Unfiltered terminals.
A parent or guardian must accompany and be sitting at the computer terminal with patrons under 18 years of age wishing to have access to unfiltered Internet workstations.
ii. Filtered Terminals.
A filtered terminal means the computer has a program installed that is designed to restrict minors from receiving obscene material or sexually explicit material that is harmful to minors.
4. Acceptable Use
All users of the Library’s Internet connection and workstations are expected to use this resource in a responsible and courteous manner, and to follow all rules and procedures as established in this policy.
a. Lawful Use.
The Library Internet connection and workstations shall be used in a lawful manner. Workstations cannot be used for any fraudulent or unlawful purpose prohibited under any applicable federal, Michigan or local law, including but not limited to accessing material that can be classified as obscene or child pornography.
b. Intellectual Property.
Users must respect intellectual property rights and obey the copyright laws of the United States and all other intellectual property rights. Responsibility for any consequences of copyright infringement lies with the user. The library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use.
c. Use Must Not be Harmful to Minors.
Michigan law prohibits users from allowing minors access to sexually explicit materials harmful to minors. Internet Users shall not permit any minor to view sexually explicit material or any other material deemed harmful to minors.
d. Compliance with Code of Patron Conduct.
The same rules apply to the use of the Internet as with the use of any other Library materials. The Library has adopted a Code of Patron Conduct. All Internet Users must comply with the Library’s Code of Patron Conduct policy, which is posted in the Library. The Library reserves the right to ask individuals to discontinue the display of information and images that other library users find offensive and/or is in violation of the Library Code of Patron Conduct.
Users must respect the privacy of others by not misrepresenting oneself as another user; by not attempting to modify or gain access to files, passwords or data belonging to others; and by not seeking disallowed access to any computer system via the Internet.
f. Time Limit.
The Library has a limited number of terminals. As a result, Internet users shall understand that they do not have unlimited access to the Library’s computers. Marshall District Library cardholders who use unfiltered adult area computers shall limit use to 1 hour if other patrons are waiting. Non-cardholders shall limit use to 30 minutes. If no other patron is waiting, a patron may, with staff permission, use the Internet for an additional half hour increment. The user of a filtered youth area computer shall limit use to 30 minutes if other patrons are waiting. If no other patron is waiting, a patron may, with staff permission, use the filtered youth area computer for an additional half hour increment.
Upon permission of Library staff, the User may obtain extra time in half hour increments; however, patrons may be restricted to no more than two (2) hours of computer use per day, based on public computer workstation availability. The User shall relinquish the computer terminal immediately upon the expiration of the User’s time limit.
g. Limited Availability.
Library staff may designate or reserve library computer terminals for serving specific groups.
h. Personal Software Prohibited.
The Users shall refrain from use of personal software, or the modification of any operating system or network
i. System Modifications.
Users are not permitted to change the security setup, operating systems, the network configuration or any other configuration of any Marshall District Library computer workstation without authorization.
j. Wireless Internet Connection.
The Marshall District Library provides a Wireless Internet connection for the convenience of library visitors. All the rules of this policy including the Code of Patron Conduct apply to use of the Wireless Internet connection. Authorized use of the Library’s Wireless connection is limited to the interior of the library building and to the outside garden bench area. Authorized hours of use are consistent with the posted hours of business for the Marshall District Library. All other use is deemed unauthorized use of the Library’s Wireless Internet connection. The Library assumes no responsibility for the safety of equipment or electronic devices connected to the Library’s network.
5. Wireless Internet Hotspots.
In order to serve Library residents, the Library may be offering wireless internet hotspots at locations outside of the library. The following regulations apply to those hotspots.
A. Internet Filtering – General.
1. Filtered Access. In order to comply with the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”) and Michigan’s Public Act 212 of 2000 (“PA 212”), all wireless hotspots are filtered. Filtered access means the wireless system has a program installed that is designed to restrict minors from receiving obscene materials or sexually explicit materials that is harmful to minors as defined by PA 212 and visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography or harmful to minors as defined by CIPA. This filtering method is designed to prevent access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet.
2. Safety of Minors Regarding E-Mail. The Library does not filter e-mail or other direct electronic communications. It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to educate the minor on safety and security and monitor the use of these communications.
B. Internet Filtering – Patrons 18 Years of Age or Older.
1. Disable Filters. The Library’s wireless hotspots cannot be disabled, so any patron who desires to have unfiltered access must use the Library’s computers.
2. Unblock Sites. Individuals 18 years of age or older who believe an Internet site has been improperly blocked can request that the site be “unblocked.” A request to unblock should be in writing to the Library Director and signed by the person making the request. A decision on the site’s status will be made by the Director, who will prepare a written reply to the individual submitting the form.
C. Internet Filtering – Patrons Under 18 years of Age.
1. Responsibility of Parents and Legal Guardians.
As with other materials in the Library’s collection, it is the Library’s Policy that parents or legal guardians are responsible for deciding which library resources are appropriate for their children. The Library urges parents and guardians to discuss Internet use with their children and to monitor their use of this educational tool. Parents and youth patrons are encouraged to participate in the Library’s training offered on Internet use that explains both the benefits and pitfalls inherent in its use.
2. Unfiltering Terminals.
Minors who are 17 years old may only have the filters (filters used to filter visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography and materials that is deemed harmful to minors as prohibited by CIPA) disabled on a computer used by that patron for (1) bona fide research or other lawful purposes and (2) only if a parent or legal guardian has accompanied them to the Library and is sitting at the computer station or terminal at all times. Patrons under the age of 17 may not ask for the terminal to be unfiltered pursuant to the requirements of CIPA. Since the hotspots cannot be disabled, minors who are 17 years old must come to the Library for unfiltered or disabled filter access.
4. Unblocking Websites.
Patrons under the age of 18 may request in writing that a particular site be unblocked, but only if the site does not include obscene or sexually explicit materials deemed harmful to minors or other materials prohibited by law. The Library Director shall make that determination.
5. Violations of Internet Use Policy
The Library Director or the Director’s designee may restrict access to Library facilities by (1) terminating or limiting computer/Internet access; (2) immediately dismissing the patron from the premises; (3) suspending the patron’s access to library facilities for a set period of time; or (4) by denying access to specific services and/or programs pursuant to this Policy. If necessary, the local police may be called to intervene.
a. Incident Reports.
Library Staff shall record in writing in the form of an Incident Report any violation of this Policy that resulted in a verbal warning or a suspension of library privileges. By the end of the day on which the incident occurred, an Incident Report shall be written and forwarded to the Library Director for review. The report should include physical descriptions in addition to the name of the patron. A copy of the suspension of privileges letter should be attached, if applicable.
b. Violation of the Policy
– Suspension of Privileges. Unless otherwise provided in this Policy, (See Section C below), the Library shall handle violations as follows:
i. Initial Violation: Library patrons observed violating this policy will be asked to cease the violation with a verbal request. If the patron does not comply with the request, he or she will be banned from Library Internet Use for the day. In some circumstances he or she may be asked to leave the building for the day. If he or she refuses, police may be called.
ii. Subsequent Violations: The Director or the Director’s authorized designee may further limit or revoke the patron’s library privileges if infractions continue. Such limitation or revocation shall be in writing specifying the nature of the violation. Subsequent violations of the same rule shall result in additional suspensions of increasing length.
c. Violations that Affect Safety and Security.
Violations involving violations of law (including child pornography and allowing minors to view sexually explicit or other material deemed harmful to minors), violence, threatening behaviors, sexual harassment, vandalism, theft or attempted theft, sexual misconduct or any behavior that threatens the safety and security of staff and/or patrons shall be handled as follows:
i. Initial Violation: The police will be called immediately. If the conduct constitutes a violation of local, state, or federal law, arrest or criminal prosecution may ensue. Violations of this nature will result in an immediate minimum two-week suspension of library privileges. The Incident Report shall specify the nature of the violation.
ii. Subsequent Violations: The police will be called immediately. If the conduct constitutes a violation of local, state, or federal law, arrest or criminal prosecution may ensue. The Director or the Director’s authorized designee, may further limit or revoke the patron’s library privileges in escalating responses, which will be documented in writing. Subsequent violations of the same rule will result in additional suspensions of increasing length.
The patron whose privileges have been limited or revoked shall attend a meeting with the Director or the Director’s designee to review the Library Patron Behavior Policy before their privileges may be reinstated.
e. Civil or Criminal Prosecution.
Illegal acts involving the Library’s Internet access service may be subject to civil or criminal prosecution.
6. Staff Assistance
Staff may assist library users in getting started on the Internet. Because of the many different applications available on the Internet, staff may not be able to provide specialized or technical knowledge about a particular application. Due to staff availability while working a public service desk, staff may only assist patrons with minor questions. Patrons wishing to learn more about computers, personal devices, or any other technology shall contact the library and arrange for a personalized training session by appointment. Staff may set limits on the number and content of training sessions.
Patrons may use personal laptops and other devices in the Library and surrounding area if used in accordance with Library policies. The Library is not responsible for any damages or malfunctions of personal laptops or other devices used in the library area. Staff members will not make repairs to personal computing devices.
Internet books and manuals are available for public use. The Library does provide free computer training for patrons including workshops and one-on-one assistance by appointment.
The Marshall District Library Board adopted an Internet Use Policy on November 9, 1998. Reviewed and Amended July 19, 2005, May 12, 2009, January 8, 2013, September 8, 2020.