Internet Public Access Policy

The Internet, as an information resource, enables the Library to provide information beyond the confines of its own collection. Making the Internet accessible to the public is compatible with the Library’s mission statement since the Internet does allow access to ideas, information and commentary from around the globe. However, the Dwight Foster Public Library has no control over these resources nor does the library have complete knowledge of what is on the Internet. Information on the Internet may be reliable and current or it may be inaccurate, out-of-date, or unavailable at times. Some content may be offensive or illegal.

It is not possible for the library to review and protect patrons from all such information; therefore, patrons must exercise their responsibility as discriminating information consumers by constantly questioning the validity and appropriateness of the information they find. By accessing the Internet through the library, patrons agree that the library will not be responsible for any indirect, consequential, special, or punitive damages or losses which may arise in connection with such use.

The library utilizes filtering software to block access to certain sites for individuals under age 18. This filtering software is active on all computers in the youth department. In addition, time management software on the computers in the adult department will enact filtering on the computer if the patron logging on is under 18 years of age. The library recognizes that no filter will eliminate all offensive/controversial sites and assumes no liability for filter failure. Users are encouraged to submit sites for review if they disagree with the filtering software’s handling of that site. Requests for blocking or unblocking of web sites will follow the same procedures as requests for adding materials in other formats to the library collection.

As is the case with other library materials, it is the responsibility of a child’s parent or legal guardian to determine and monitor their children’s use of library materials and resources, including use of the Internet. Juveniles do not need special permission to use the Internet computers in the library and will by default receive filtered Internet access.

The library recognizes, however, that the Internet offers a specific situation that poses unique dangers by connecting children with unknown individuals outside of the library. This risky online behavior involves the use of chat. The library, therefore, affirms parental rights by offering an Internet Use Permission Form for unfiltered access which will include chat. A parent or legal guardian must sign an Internet Use Permission Form for any child under the age of 18 to have unfiltered access which will allow chat. Children with this permission will be utilizing completely unfiltered Internet access. This form must be signed by the parent in the presence of a library staff member and will be kept on file and the minor’s library record will be coded to note these Internet access privileges. Due to the configuration of the computers in the youth department, even juveniles with chat permission will not be able to access chat software on those machines.

Staff will assist patrons with Internet use as time permits but cannot necessarily offer individual personal instruction. Formal instruction may be offered by the library at designated times.

By using the public Internet workstation(s) at the Dwight Foster Public Library all users agree to the following acceptable use guidelines:

  • All users of electronic information resources such as the Internet are expected to use these resources in a responsible manner, consistent with the educational and informational purposes for which they are provided and to follow all rules and regulations set forth by the Library.
  • No one may use the Internet for illegal or unethical purposes.
  • No one may misrepresent oneself as another user or attempt to modify or gain unauthorized access to files, passwords, computer systems or data belongs to others. No one may damage or alter software components of any network or database.
  • No one may deliberately propagate computer worms or viruses.
  • Users may make only authorized copies of copyrighted or licensed software or data.
  • No one may send, receive, or display graphic materials depicting full nudity and/or sexual acts which are portrayed obviously and exclusively for sensational or pornographic purposes.
  • No one may display threatening, harassing, or abusive language and images.
  • No one may use the library’s Internet connection for the purposes of solicitation, advertisement, or for any other commercial purposes.
  • No one may change any setup or configuration of the library’s software or hardware.
  • No one may install their own software on the library’s computers.
  • No one may download to the computer’s local hard drive. Downloading to portable storage media is permitted. Printing is allowed, however, patrons will be charged for the use of the printer.

The library uses a computerized reservation system for the online computers. Telephone reservations for Internet time will not be taken. A library card and PIN (personal identification number or password) will be required for reservations and for logging on to the public access computers. Adult computers have a limit of 120 minutes per day. Users will be granted an initial 90 minutes at logon with 30 minutes of additional time given in increments if no one else is waiting. Teen and Youth computers have a limit of 90 minutes per day. 60 minutes will be granted at logon with 30 minutes of additional time given in increments if no one else is waiting.

Individuals who are not residents of the area but would like to use the computer will be granted a guest pass in lieu of a permanent library card.

Computer sign-in data may be kept on file but is considered confidential. Users of library Internet services should realize they can have no expectation of privacy while using the Internet as this is a public, shared service.

Any intentional misuse or abuse of the computer or failure to follow this policy or the associated procedures may result in suspension of Internet access privileges, a ban from the library and/or legal prosecution.

Use of the Library’s Internet access constitutes acceptance of this agreement.

Adopted September 29, 1997
Revised January 11, 1999
Revised April 5, 1999
Revised January 10, 2000
Revised April 4, 2005
Revised August 29, 2011