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Computer, Internet, and Wireless Access Use Policy
The Vigo County Public Library provides access to computers and the internet as part of its mission to create an environment of opportunity with availability of resources in a variety of formats. While the ability to utilize digital technology and access the internet provides a wealth of resources that are personally, professionally, and culturally enriching to individuals, the internet is an unregulated medium which enables access to content that may be inaccurate, offensive, disturbing, and possibly illegal.
As required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), and in order to remain eligible for certain federal funding, the VCPL implements a technology protection measure (TPM) that filters internet content accessed via all VCPL computers and networks. The TPM serves as a safeguard against access to visual depictions that are (1) obscene, (2) contain child pornography, or (3) are harmful to minors (defined as any person younger than 17 years of age), however, it should not be perceived to guarantee that all such depictions will be blocked.
While the TPM inhibits access to content that violates CIPA and is not generally acceptable in a public library, it is technically impossible to guarantee that the TPM will be error free. The Vigo County Public Library is not responsible for the unintentional inclusion of prohibited content or the exclusion of legitimate content that may be the result of TPM software limitations. An authorized staff member may disable the TPM, upon request by a user 17 years of age or older, to allow unrestricted access for research or any other lawful purpose. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) does not allow disabling internet filtering software for minors under any circumstances.
Responsibility of Users
With the freedom and privilege to access computer networks and internet resources comes the responsibility to use them in a responsible and ethical manner that includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Using resources for educational, informational, and recreational purposes and not for unauthorized, illegal, or unethical purposes.
- Respecting the privacy of others by not misrepresenting oneself as another user, by not attempting to modify or gain access to files, passwords, or data belonging to others; by not seeking unauthorized access to any computer system or damaging or altering software components of any network or database.
- Making only authorized copies of copyrighted or licensed software or data.
- The individual user, whether using filtered or unfiltered internet access, or files from portable sources, must also be aware of and respect the rights of others and refrain from the display of images or materials that may be offensive to other customers or library staff. The Vigo County Public Library recognizes and supports federal laws pertaining to information access and is obligated to comply with laws pertaining to exposure to certain explicit images and materials.
Access by Minors and Internet Safety
The Vigo County Public Library upholds and affirms the right and responsibility of parents to determine and monitor their children’s use of library materials and resources, including those available through the internet. The Vigo County Public Library encourages parents and guardians to work closely with their children in accessing online resources and services and selecting resources that are consistent with personal and family values.
In compliance with the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act (N-CIPA) and in order to provide reasonable protective measures for minors (defined as under the age of 17), the VCPL:
- Utilizes a TPM to filter internet content accessed via VCPL computers and networks and inhibits access by minors to content that is obscene, illegal, or harmful to minors.
- Develops and maintains appropriate websites and online resources for children and teens.
- Prohibits minors from use of library computer equipment or internet access to engage in unauthorized access, including hacking and other unlawful activities online.
- Provides information for parents and minors regarding safe internet use practices including:
- Safety and security when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications.
- The unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors.
- Access to online safety resources such as Netsmartz Safety Tips (www.netsmartz.org)
As an extension of the VCPL network, wireless access is available at all library locations for customers to use with their own wireless devices or during authorized use of library wireless devices. All rules, regulations, and principles contained within this policy are applicable to the use of the wireless network. The VCPL makes no guarantees as to compatibility of customer owned devices with the library’s wireless network, nor as to reliability or security of connections to the network or to the internet. Information transmitted via public wireless networks can be intercepted and should not be considered secure. Customers should utilize up-to-date virus protection, personal firewalls, and other security measures to protect devices from viruses and hackers. The VCPL assumes no responsibility for the safety of customer devices, device configurations, security, or data files resulting from connection to the Library’s wireless network, nor liability for damages to hardware, software or data.
Policy Enforcement and Limits of Liability
The Vigo County Public Library retains the right to determine appropriate use of Library computer and network resources for the purpose of enforcing this policy. Users who violate the policy or refuse to abide by instructions of Library staff may be suspended from the use of computer and network resources or have Library privileges revoked.
The VCPL assumes no liability for any loss or damage to users' data or devices, nor for any personal damage or injury incurred as a result of using VCPL computer or network resources. This includes damage or injury sustained from invasions of the user's privacy.
Complaints regarding the application of these policies should be brought to the attention of Library Administration for investigation.
Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Vigo County Public Library on the 18th day of December, 2017.