Computer Usage

Jefferson County Library System supports patrons’ informational, educational, and recreational interests by providing materials in a wide range of formats including free basic access to information via the Internet. This policy governs the management and use of the Jefferson County Library System’s computers and Internet access.

Internet resources available through the library are provided with the understanding that it is the individual user’s responsibility to demonstrate judgment, respect for others, and appropriate conduct while using library resources and facilities.

All users are required to agree to the Computer and Internet Use Policy before accessing library computers or personal computers with library wireless connections. Parents or guardians must give signed permission for access to the Internet when a library card is issued to a child under 18. Parents are responsible for a minor’s adhering to and understanding this policy.

Each user must have a valid PINES library card with an account in good standing to use the computers in the Jefferson County Library System. A user who is blocked, barred, expired, or who has overdue books or unpaid fines and fees in the PINES system must clear his/her record before he/she will be able to use a library computer. A user may use only his/her own library card to access a computer; use of any other person’s card is not allowed.

Users 18 and older who will be in the area temporarily may use the library’s computers for up to one month using a driver’s license or other form of official identification. This identification must be presented each time the user wishes to use library computers. Users who will be in the area for more than one month will be required to register for a PINES library card.

Except for printing fees, use of the computers is provided free of charge. While the provision of computers in the library is a free service, computers may be used only for educational, informational, and recreational purposes. The use of this service for monetary gain or illegal activity is prohibited.

Due to potential security risks, users 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, PDAs, and printers. Users may access the Internet with their personal computers via the library’s wireless access points.

Confidentiality

Users have the right of confidentiality and the right of privacy. However, privacy and confidentiality are difficult to achieve when computers are located in a public area. The Internet is not regulated and there is no guarantee that sites accessed are private or secure. The library’s wireless network is not secure; information sent to and from a laptop computer or other wireless device may be captured by anyone else with a wireless device and the appropriate software. As a result of these factors, the library cannot guarantee privacy or confidentiality. Users are expected to exercise courtesy in respecting the privacy of other users and to exercise good judgment in sending information over the Internet.

Disclaimers:

The library wishes to make the Internet and all computer resources available to anyone who respects the rights and property of others, including the library, and who abides by these policies. While users are free to access whatever Internet sites they wish, the library must also be mindful and respectful of the rights of other users, particularly children, not to be inadvertently exposed to materials and images they or their parents may find personally unsuitable. The library is obligated to comply with federal and state laws regarding the use of computer resources in the prevention of exposure to certain explicit images and material. Therefore, staff members will request that a user remove such an image or text from an Internet workstation screen if, in the staff member’s judgment, the image or text is displayed in such a way that other patrons, particularly children, are exposed to or cannot reasonably avoid viewing it in the course of carrying out their business in the library.

Because not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete, or current information, users are advised to use information from the Internet at their own risk. The library does not warrant or guarantee the reliability or truthfulness of information obtained from the Internet.

Because the Internet is not regulated, there is no guarantee that sites accessed are private or secure. Users are advised to exercise extreme caution when revealing any personal information over the Internet. The library does not warrant or guarantee privacy or confidentiality of information conveyed to or from the Internet.

The Jefferson County Library System assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from use of its Internet services or equipment. The library is not liable for any loss that may occur from disclosure of personal and financial information. The library is not responsible for viruses or other malware present on the hard drives of its computers, nor is it responsible for any damage, direct or indirect, caused by such viruses or malware.

Users are expected to have a basic working knowledge of the computers and software. While staff members are available for general assistance in using the computers, they may not be able to help users with a specific problem in a specific program.

The library makes no guarantee that a patron’s personal computer will be able to connect to the library’s wireless service. Staff members cannot provide technical support for a user’s personal equipment.

Legal Constraints:

While using the Internet at the library, users may not display or print images unsuitable for a general audience. This includes, but is not limited to, material that is obscene as defined under Georgia law (O. C. G. A. §16-12-80), child pornography as defined under Federal or Georgia law (18 U.S.C. 2256; O. C. G. A. §16-12-100), and material that is “harmful to minors” as defined under Federal or Georgia law (47 U. S. C. A 254(h)(7)(G); O.C.G.A. §16-12-102). In compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (Public Law No. 106-554 and 47 U. S. C. 254 (h)), the library employs filtering software on all computers to block or filter access to inappropriate information. This technology may be disabled upon request for users 18 and older only for bona fide research or other lawful purposes. Wireless access, using either library equipment or user-owned devices, will remain filtered at all times.

All of the libraries in the Jefferson County Library System are under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act (O.C.G.A. §16-9-93), which establishes certain acts involving computer fraud or abuse as crimes punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both.

Users must respect the legal protections to data and software afforded by copyright and license law, as contained in 17 U. S. C. §101 and following.

Internet Use by Children:

The Internet is an unregulated and rapidly changing medium; it is possible to intentionally or inadvertently find material that is offensive or disturbing to some users. In accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), all library computers are equipped with software that is designed to block access to sites that contain visual depictions and/or information which may reasonably be construed as being obscene, child pornography or materials “harmful to minors” as currently defined by law. Despite these provisions, users may still encounter sites they find personally offensive. For this reason, users must assume responsibility for their own and their child’s use of the Internet.

Parents or guardians, not the library or its staff, are responsible for the Internet information selected and/or accessed by their children. While the library makes every effort to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, the library does not warrant the effectiveness of the filtering software used. Parents are strongly encouraged to supervise their children’s Internet sessions.

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

Rules for Acceptable Use:

Library computers are set up for individual use. With the exception of a minor who is accompanied by a parent or guardian during an Internet session, only one user per computer is permitted.

Users may not load software, change settings, or delete any items from the computers.

Users may not use personal software on library computers. Staff may grant an exception to this rule for students who can show that they are required to use particular academic software for school assignments.

Users must not make any attempt to gain unauthorized access to restricted computer files or networks, nor to damage or modify computer equipment or software.

Users must not save materials to the hard drive of the computers. Users who wish to save their work must do so with a personal storage device. CD and DVD burning is not available.

Users must pay for all pages they have printed, even if the pages are not wanted. Users are expected to request assistance if they are unsure of how to print.

Users who destroy or damage any library equipment or who change security settings may lose library privileges depending upon the severity of the violation. Illegal acts involving library equipment may also be subject to prosecution by local, state, or federal authorities.

Users who display inappropriate material will be given a warning by library staff, who are authorized to terminate any user’s access session. Subsequent offenses will result in a loss of Internet access privileges for a specified period, up to one year. Any offense following a one year suspension will result in permanent loss of computer access.

Users whose access session has been terminated or whose Internet access has been prohibited shall have the right to appeal and/or request that Internet access privileges be reinstated. An appeal must be in writing and submitted to the library director within five days of the termination or prohibition. Within ten days of receipt of the appeal, the library director shall review the matter and notify the patron in writing of his/her decision. If the library director’s decision is adverse to the patron, the patron may appeal in writing within five days to the library’s Board of Trustees, which shall thereafter consider the matter and issue its decision in writing within 30 days of receipt. No further appeals shall be considered. Denial of Internet privileges at any Jefferson County Library System facility will be effective at all Jefferson County Library System facilities.

Definitions

“Minor” is a person under 18 years of age. O. C. G. A. §16-12-102(3).

“Harmful to minors” is defined as per current Georgia law, O. C. G. A. §16-12-102.

“Inappropriate matter” for minors is material that is obscene as defined under Georgia law (O.C.G.A. §16-12-80), child pornography as defined under federal and/or state law (18 U. S. C. §2256; O. C. G. A. §16-12-100), and material that is “harmful to minors” as defined in Georgia law (O. C. G. A. §16-12-102).

O. C. G. A. = Official Code of Georgia Annotated

Approved by Library Board of Trustees January 25, 2010