Athens Regional Library System Regional Policies
Title: ARLS Regional Policy: Internet Acceptable Use Policies
Prepared by: Valerie Bell, Resource Team, Branch Managers – Date: 4/1/2024
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee – Date: 4/10/2024
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees – Date: 7/15/2004 Revised 4/18/2024

Access to Internet Resources

Commitment to Free and Open Access

The libraries comprising the Athens Regional Library System are committed to providing free and open access to informational, educational, recreational and cultural resources for library users of all ages and backgrounds. Throughout its history, the libraries in the Athens Regional Library System have made information available in a variety of formats, from print materials to audiovisual materials. The libraries’ computer systems provide the opportunity to integrate digital resources from information networks around the world with ARLS’ other resources.

Definition of the Internet

The Internet, as an information resource, enables the library to provide information beyond the confines of its own collection. It allows access to ideas, information, and commentary from around the globe. Currently, however, it is an unregulated medium. As such, while it offers access to a wealth of material that is personally, professionally, and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages, it also enables access to some material that may be offensive, disturbing and/or illegal, inaccurate or incomplete. Users are encouraged to be good information consumers by evaluating the validity of information accessed via the Internet.

Goal to offering Internet Access

In providing the Internet as an information resource, the library’s goal is to enhance its existing collection in size and depth; as a public access agency, and to give opportunity to anyone who wishes to participate in navigating the Internet, both in the library and at home through remote access to library services.

Responsibility of Library Staff

The library provides a website with links to library information and resources. The library provides a website with links to library information and resources. The library cannot control or monitor other material that may be accessible from Internet sources.

Responsibility of Parents

The library affirms the right and responsibility of parents to determine and monitor their own children’s use of library materials and resources. Library staff is available to provide assistance and to help identify appropriate sites. The user, however, is the selector in using the Internet and makes individual choices and decisions.

Internet Filtering in the Library

Federal law under the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires filters to be placed on all computers throughout the Athens Regional Library System. The local library board of trustees in each county holds the level of authority for determining the level of filtering on the library’s Internet computers. In some cases, the filtering level on the children’s computers may be more restrictive than those computers used by adults only.

The library upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to Constitutionally protected material. The library also affirms the right and responsibility of parents or caregivers to determine and monitor their own children’s use of library materials and resources. Therefore, library staff may grant access to blocked sites to those patrons who are 18 and older upon request to parents or caregivers of individuals who are under 18 that request an unblocked site or sites for their minor child.

While a patron is not required to tell library staff why unfiltered Internet access is desired, a patron may be asked to show proof of age when requesting an unfiltered Internet terminal. A parent may be requested to move to an area of the library not designated for minor children when requesting unfiltered Internet access for his/her child. A parent or caregiver must remain with their child at all times while their minor child is using unfiltered Internet access or if their child is in an area not designated for their appropriate age group.

Conditions and Terms of Use in the Library

In order to make Internet resources available to as many users as possible and to ensure that this resource is used in a manner consistent with library policies, the following rules shall apply. Specific terms of use may vary by location.

Time limits may be imposed depending on local demand for Internet access. First come, first served. Users must sign up in person. Reservations will not be taken over the phone. Reservation software and/or library staff will manage the length of a user’s session. Users may not begin another session without staff approval. Misuse of the computer will result in the loss of computer privileges, potential loss of library privileges and possible prosecution. Such misuse includes, but is not limited to, using the computer for illegal activities; hacking into the library computer system or any other computer system; damaging or attempting to damage computer equipment or software; interfering with systems operations, integrity or security; gaining unauthorized access to another person’s files; sending harassing messages to other computer users; altering or attempting to alter the library computer’s settings; and violating copyright laws and software licensing agreements.

The library’s computers are set up for optimal usage by a single individual. In some cases, such as a parent/guardian with children, it may be important for two or more people to work together at a computer. Otherwise, because of limited space, a maximum of two persons may sit/work together at any one computer.

All users are asked to respect the privacy of other users and not attempt to censor or comment upon what others are viewing.

Athens Regional Library System Acceptable Wireless Use Agreement

Users of the Athens Regional Library’s wireless connectivity must agree to the following:

Terms of Use

Failure to follow the terms of use listed below may result in the patron being asked to sever his/her connections and leave the building.

  • Wireless users must not attempt to access or damage the library’s network.
  • While using the Athens Regional Library’s connection, wireless users may not use the Internet in any way that violates a Federal or State Law, including but not limited to copyright, fraud, obscenity and privacy legislation.
  • Wireless users must not behave in a manner that is disruptive to other library patrons or library staff. Please see our policy for Patron Responsibilities and Conduct for details.
  • Earphones must be used if sound is to be activated through a wireless unit.

Disclaimers

  • Library staff members can provide only limited technical assistance for personal devices.
  • Wireless users should configure their own devices and consult their manual for instructions.
  • The Library cannot guarantee that users will be able to connect to the wireless network.
  • The Library assumes no responsibility for any loss or damages done directly or indirectly to personal data or equipment, or for any damage or injury arising from loss of privacy while using the wireless connection.
  • Public electric outlets may not be available. Wireless devices must not place chargers and cords in such a way that is hazardous or prevents access to library materials.
  • Library filtering cannot be bypassed for wireless users since this would require staff to alter configuration settings on the user’s device. If unfiltered access to the internet is required, library computers can be enabled for this purpose.
  • The Library reserves the right to limit bandwidth usage on the wireless network.

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