SECTION TEN: COMPUTER USE BY THE PUBLIC

A. General Policies and Procedures

  1. Internet Access

    a. The Internet, a world-wide network of computer networks, is an essential medium for obtaining and transmitting information of all types. Therefore, public access to the Internet is germane to the Library's mission.

    b. The Internet is an unregulated medium. It provides access to information that is inaccurate, illegal or that some may find offensive or disturbing. The Library will identify on its web site specific Internet sites that have potential interest for Library users, but the Library cannot control a user's access to other Internet resources. The Library has installed filters on all ublic use computers in the Library in compliance with both federal and state law.
  2. Responsibilities of Library Staff and Users

    a. The Library will regulate a user's Internet use for length of time in order to ensure equal opportunity of access for everyone and may monitor for abuse of acceptable use. The user, or the parent of a minor, is responsible for his or her Internet session at all times.

    b. The Library reserves the right to terminate an Internet session that disrupts Library services or that involves user behavior that violates the Library's policies.

    c. As with all Library resources, the Library affirms the right and responsibility of parents/guardians, not Library staff, to determine and monitor their minor children's use of the Internet. (Minors are defined in this policy as those under the age of 18 years.) Parents are responsible for their minor children's use of the Library's resources and facilities. Parents who believe that their children cannot responsibly use the Library's Internet access must complete a Parental Consent Form to all ow Internet access for their child.
  3. Disclaimers

    a. While the Library endeavors to provide access to information of the highest quality, the Library cannot guarantee the information's accuracy, timeliness, authoritativeness, usefulness or fitness for a particular purpose.

    b. The Library will have no liability for direct, indirect or consequential damages related to the use of information accessed through the Library's Internet service.

    c. The Library, having installed and enforced the operation of filtering software in compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act, will have no liability for damages related to the operation of, or failure of, the filtering software, or for its circumvention by users.

    d. Since software and information downloaded from any sources, including the Internet, may contain computer viruses, users are advised to utilize virus checking software on their home computers. The Library is not responsible for damage to users' disks, flash drives or computers or for any loss of data, damage or liability that may occur from use of the Library's computers.
  4. Unacceptable Uses of Computers

    a. Among the uses that are considered unacceptable and which constitute a violation of this policy are the following:
    1. Uses that violate the law or encourage others to violate the law. Transmitting of offensive or harassing messages; offering for sale or use any substance the possession or use of which is prohibited by law; viewing, transmitting or downloading pornographic materials or materials that encourage others to violate the law; downloading or transmitting confidential, trade secret information, or copyrighted materials. Even if materials on the networks are not marked with the copyright symbol, users should assume that all materials are protected unless there is explicit permission on the materials to use them.
    2. Uses that cause harm to others or damage to their property: engaging in defamation (harming another's reputation by lies); uploading a worm, virus, "trojan horse," "time bomb" or other harmful form of programming or vandalism; participating in "hacking" activities or any form of unauthorized access to other computers, networks, or information systems.
    3. Uses that jeopardize the security of access of the computer network or other networks on the Internet. Disclosing or sharing the user's password with others; impersonating another user; using one's own software programs on the Library's computers; altering the Library's computer settings; damaging or modifying computer equipment or software.
    4. Uses that compromise the safety and security of minors when using e-mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications.  Minors under age 18 should not give others private information about themselves or others, including credit card numbers and social security numbers or arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone the minor has "met" on the computer network or Internet without a parent's permission.
  5. Technology Protection Measures

    a. The Library has installed filtering software on all Library computers designated for Internet access, and will enforce the operation of same during any use of those computers, to prevent minors from accessing visual depictions that are (1) obscene, (2) child pornography (according to Missouri State Statute 573.010), or (3) harmful to minors. The term "harmful to minors" is defined by the Communications Act of 1934 (47 USC Section 254 [h][7]), as meaning any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals; taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.

    b. Filtering software is not foolproof. It diminishes the likelihood that searchers will inadvertently retrieve text or images that they may find offensive, but does not eliminate that possibility. Filters often block access to sites that users would consider both inoffensive and useful.

    c. Users who do not find what they need are encouraged to ask a Library staff member for help. Technology protection measures may be disabled by a Library staff member, as necessary, for bona fide research or other lawful purposes by people aged 18 and older.
  6. Response to Violations

    a. The user's access to the Library's computer network and Internet is a privilege, not a right. A user violates this policy if he or she permits another to use his or her account to access the computer network and Internet or by other actions enumerated above. Failure to comply with this policy and its procedures will result in the forfeiture of the user's right to access these computers and may result in the loss of other privileges.

    b. Failure to observe time limits posted in the Library or the misuse or abuse of Library equipment may result in the loss of computer privileges and may result in the loss of other Library privileges.

B. Public Access to Computer Resources

  1. Eligibility

    a. All patrons wishing to use the Computer Lab must have a Joplin Public Library card or pay a per-use charge with the exception of one free 15 minute use per 30-day period.

    b. Patrons who live outside the Joplin Public Library District may use the Computer Lab by paying a per-hour charge or by purchasing a non-resident Joplin Public Library card.  The Children’s Department computers, which are reserved for patrons age 12 and under, are exempt from use charges.

    c. Summer reading program cards are not valid for the Computer Lab.

    d. Patrons age 17 and under are required to have a consent form signed by a parent or guardian before they are permitted to use the Internet.

    e. Children must be able to use the computer themselves. Minimally, a child must be able to use the mouse to navigate through games or be sufficiently keyboard literate to type for themselves. Computer Lab access will not be granted to children too young to use a computer with minimal assistance. A children’s game computer is available in the Children’s Department.

  2. Usage rules for lab PCs

    a. Patrons who have difficulty in using the computer or the Internet may receive limited help from Library staff, depending on staff time availability.  In general, Library staff cannot provide instruction in the use of either computers or the Internet but will refer patrons to Library materials and/or locally offered classes.

    b. Patrons may reserve computer time within the limits allowed by Computer Lab policies and procedures.  These policies and procedures are reviewed regularly and may change as the demand for computer resources changes.

    c. Patrons wishing to save files may use their own CDs or flash drives or purchase a CDs or flash drives at the Computer Lab desk.

    d. Two people may sit together at a computer if they do not disturb others and if no one is at the adjacent computer. 

    e. Patrons are not allowed to turn off or shut down the computers.

    f. Children not yet in Kindergarten must be accompanied by an adult at all times in the Computer Lab. This includes children left in the care of an older child. Children eight years of age or younger may  not be left in the building without a responsible caregiver under any circumstance. The Library is not responsible for the supervision and safety of unattended children.

  3. Usage rules for personal PCs

    a. Patrons may use personal laptop computers in the Library and may plug them in to available electrical outlets.  Cords must not pose a safety hazard.

    b. Patrons may not under any circumstances use Library telephone lines to connect to their own internet service providers.

    c. Patrons may not connect their personal computers to the Library’s network or Internet connection in any manner.