Internet Access and Computer Use Policy

A. Introduction

This policy provides for the management of the Pine Mountain Regional Library System's computers. It reflects the ethical principles of the Library System and indicates what privileges and responsibilities are associated with the Library's computers.

Computer and Internet use has become an integral part of many library activities and services. The Library provides a variety of computer equipment and software, so that the public may access information on a global scale. The purpose of the computers is to expand the learning opportunities of children and adults alike. While the provision of computers in the Library is a free service, it must be emphasized that the use of this service for monetary gain or illegal activity is prohibited.

B. General Information

Any patron may sign up to use a computer, provided that they have a PINES library card. The card must be in their name; they cannot use another patron's card to sign up.

According to Library policy, patrons who are blocked, barred or who have overdue books or unpaid fines and fees may not use a computer. User records will denote whether or not the patron is delinquent, blocked or barred.

Use of the computers is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are not accepted. If all computers are in use, a patron may register for the next available computer at the circulation desk by presenting their library card.

Patrons who are required to have an exam proctor may reserve a computer for their test. They must contact a librarian to make arrangements at least 24 hours in advance.

No more that two people may sit at a single computer at one time. If two people are using the computer, the patron who initially logs on is responsible for all content viewed and all computer activities.

Except for printing fees, use of the computers is provided free of charge. The Library is unable to provide instruction in the use of the computers. Patrons are expected to have a basic working knowledge of computers before signing up to use one. While librarians and staff are available for general assistance in using the computers, they may not be able to help patrons with a specific problem in a specific program.

All patrons are expected to abide by the rules of the Library and to cooperate with the Computer Policy. Those not doing so may be asked to relinquish their turn at a computer or be asked to leave the Library. Violators of this policy may lose their library privileges. Staff will be subject to normal disciplinary procedures as well.

C. Saving and Printing

Patrons may not save their work to the hard drive of the computers. Patrons who wish to save their work may save it onto their own diskette, thumb drive or flash drive

Patrons are expected to request assistance if they are unsure of how to print because they are responsible for everything they print. Patrons will be asked to pay for mistakes and multiple printings, even if they are not wanted

Only library-supplied paper may be used in the printers.

D. Children

Just like adults, children must have their own library card to sign up for a computer. They cannot use another patron's card, nor can they be signed up using a parent's card. Children five years old and younger may sit with their parents while their parents use a computer. In this instance, the child does not need to have a library card. If the parent wants the child to work alone at a computer, then the child will need to have a library card.

A mature assistant should remain with any child who cannot yet read or who may need assistance with technical matters.

When a parent or legal guardian applies for a child's library card, they must decide whether or not the child will have access to the Internet. By signing the appropriate paragraph, they give or withhold their permission for children seventeen and under to access the Internet. This permission can be changed at any time. Children who have a 'No Access' profile may use a computer on which Internet access has been blocked. Parents should be aware that it is possible for a child to sit with a friend who has internet access.

Occasionally, a parent may want to allow their child to temporarily use the Internet even though they have a 'No Access' profile. In this instance, the parent must accompany their child to the library and make the request in person. The request cannot be made by telephone, email or in writing; it must be made in person. This is a one time only event that is applicable to the one visit.

E. Time Limits

In order to make the service available to as many patrons as possible, there is a one-hour time limit when others are waiting. If all computers are in use, a waiting list will be started. When there is a list, those patrons who have used a computer for one or more hours will not be allowed to sign up for another hour. This will allow someone else to use a computer. They may not sign up again until after the waiting list has been filled.

Patrons are expected to wait patiently for their turn. They should not stand behind the person using the computer; nor should they urge the person to hurry.

F. Transient Users

Computer users who will be in the area temporarily may use the library's computers for up to one month using their driver's license or other form of official identification. They will need to present that identification every time they sign up to use a computer.

If they are going to be in the area for more than one month, they will need to get a library card. If they live, work or go to school in the state of Georgia, they are eligible for a free library card; otherwise, they will need to purchase a library card and pay the out-of-state fee of $25.00

G. Availability

Computer resources will be available during normal business hours of operation. Patrons must be prepared to stop working, even if they are not finished, fifteen minutes before closing or when their time is up

H. Legal Issues

The Library currently uses filtering software, in accordance with federal and state law.

If a patron is viewing a web site and another patron is offended, a staff member may ask the patron to change web sites.

According to the Georgia Code, section 16-12-100, adult sites may not be viewed in the presence of minor children. Patrons who are viewing adult sites will be asked to leave the site. Patrons who refuse will lose their library privileges.

It is illegal for children under the age of eighteen to view adult sites. If a patron under the age of eighteen is viewing an adult site, they will be asked to leave the site immediately. If there is a second incident, their parents or guardians will be informed. Library privileges will be revoked if they refuse to leave the site.

The public and staff may use computer resources for legal purposes only. Patrons who use the computers for illegal purposes will lose their privileges and may face criminal charges. Staff who use the computers for illegal purposes will be subject to disciplinary action or dismissal and may face criminal charges.

All of the libraries which are providing Internet access are under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act, an act enacted by the 1991 Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor effective July 1, 1991, which establishes certain acts involving computer fraud or abuse as crimes punishable by fines or imprisonment or both.

Such acts include but are not limited to:

  1. Putting false information into a computer.
  2. Harassment of other patrons or users.
  3. Libeling or slandering other patrons or users.
  4. Destruction of, or damage to equipment, software, or data belonging to the library or other patrons or users.
  5. Disruption or unauthorized monitoring or electronic communication.
  6. Unauthorized copying and/or distribution of copyright-protected material.

I. External Hardware, Equipment and Security Issues

Patrons may use floppy disks, thumb drives and flash drives with library computers

Due to potential security problems, patrons are not allowed to connect their personal electronic equipment to the Library's LAN or telephone lines. Personal electronic equipment includes but is not limited to: laptop computers, zip drives, other external drives, CD burners, PDA's, printers, etc

Patrons may not load software, change settings or delete any items from the computers. Any attempts to disable computer security settings will result in a loss of library privileges. Patrons who deliberately damage or abuse the computers will lose their library privileges.

Patrons who have lost their library privileges may request in writing that the Director reinstate their privileges.

H. Disclaimer

Since the Internet is a global network, the library has no control over its content. Although the Library does filter the Internet, it still contains material that some would consider controversial or offensive in nature. All patrons have different standards and different beliefs, what is acceptable to one patron may be reprehensible to another. It is not the Library's policy to censor what ideas or information adults or children should be exposed to. Adults who accidentally view another patron's screen should bear in mind that what they consider offensive may be acceptable to the person using that computer.

Parents or legal guardians should provide guidance to their own children. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for their child's, and only their child's, use of the Internet.

Library staff cannot control the availability of information links that often change rapidly and unpredictably. Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete or current information. Users need to be good information consumers, questioning the validity of the information.

The Library System assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of its Internet services. The Library is not responsible for any viruses present on the hard drives of its computers, nor is it responsible for any damage, direct or indirect, caused by such viruses.

Pine Mountain Regional Library System Policy File
Chapter XXIV.  Internet Access and Computer Use Policy (Proposed)
by the PMRLS Board of Trustees on April, 2007.