This document is a System-wide policy that impacts all computers in the System that have Internet access. It is based on the Mission Statement of the Satilla Regional Library System (SRLS).
The Internet is a diverse tool that offers unique resources to the community. It is increasingly essential to learning. It offers new freedoms and demands new responsibilities. SRLS provides access to the Internet as one means of fulfilling its mission to make informational, educational, and cultural resources available to its patrons in a variety of formats.
Responsibilities of the Library
It is the responsibility of SRLS to insure that policies governing Library use of the Internet are in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
Because the Internet is a fluid environment, the information available is constantly changing; therefore, it is impossible to predict with certainty what information patrons might locate. Just as the purchase, availability, and use of other Library materials does not indicate endorsement of their contents by the Library staff and board, neither does making electronic information available to patrons imply endorsement of that content.
By using the Library's Internet service, users release and discharge the Library system and its staff from any liability which might arise from the use of the service, including liability in relation to defamatory or offensive material or any breach of copyright which may occur as a result of use.
Responsibility of Patrons and Parents of Minors
SRLS upholds and affirms the right of individuals to have access to constitutionally protected materials, and also affirms the right and responsibility of parents to determine and monitor their children's use of Library materials and resources. It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to monitor and supervise their children's use of the Internet in selecting material that is consistent with personal and family values, and appropriate for the age and understanding of the children.
SRLS assumes no responsibility for any damage, direct or indirect, that users or anyone else may suffer through access to the Internet at any of our libraries.
All Internet users at an SRLS Library agree to hold the Library, including the Regional Board, the individual county boards, and the Library staff, harmless from any claims, losses, damages, obligations, or liabilities relating to any reason, including:
1. Infringement of U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C) governing the reproduction, distributions, adaptation, public performance, and public display of copyrighted material;
2. The use and/or accuracy of information obtained from the Library’s electronic information system;
3. Damage to non-Library software or hardware resulting from viruses downloaded via the Library’s Internet services.
To use the Library’s Internet service, the patron must read this policy and sign the “Registration for Internet Use” form, by which the patron agrees to abide by the provisions of this policy as well as to any additional requirements at each affiliated Library.
All computers that access the Internet are CIPA compliant and have filtering software that meets CIPA’s legal requirements installed and activated by GPLS. This software is a measure taken to filter Internet access to visual depictions that are obscene, contain child pornography, or are harmful to minors. Note that CIPA does not require the filtering or blocking of text. Use of this software will be enforced by the Library.
No filtering technology is 100% effective, and cannot substitute for the judgment and supervision of parents who make decisions for their child based on their family’s values and the child’s age and maturity. Parents are therefore ultimately responsible for monitoring the Internet activity of their children even though filtering software is used.
Filtering software may block legal material that some Library users may find useful, and it may not block all material that some may find offensive. The filter may be disabled, by Library administrators, supervisors, or other persons authorized by the Library director, pursuant to CIPA, at the request of an adult or minor patron after a reasonable determination by the Library that the website does not contain any illegal (obscenity, child pornography, and if minor, harmful to minors) material.
When filtering is disabled (or ineffective), the patron may not view materials that are legally obscene, contain child pornography, or are harmful to minors. It is the nature of the Internet that such materials can be accidentally accessed on occasion. The Library acknowledges that some such sites open additional windows and block the patron from exiting. A patron who accidentally opens an inappropriate web site and can't get out of it should report this fact to the circulation desk immediately. No action will be taken against the patron. If, however, that patron does not report the incident, he/she shall be given the benefit of the doubt for only one such occurrence. A second unreported incident shall result in that patron losing his/her Internet privileges for two weeks. A third unreported incident shall result in that patron losing his/her Internet privileges for three months. A subsequent unreported incident after the three month period will result in permanent revocation of Internet privileges. The patron has a responsibility to report such accidents; it is not acceptable to leave the computer without reporting it as the material left may be viewed by other patrons, including children.
The patron may complain about filtering or problems with the filter by contacting the Director. This may be done by leaving the patron's name and number for the Director to contact.
Rules and Guidelines
Patrons should be aware of the following:
• The use of SRLS's Internet service is a privilege and a conditional service, not a right, and inappropriate use of this conditional service can result in the cancellation of that privilege.
• The Internet Access computers as well as other Library computers are normally available, subject to periodic maintenance, during regular Library hours.
• Users must have basic computer skills.
• Use of the Internet Access computers is on a first-come, first-served basis. Each affiliated Library may impose time limits in order to ensure equitable access to all patrons
• Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete or current information. Patrons need to be good information consumers, carefully examining the source of the information and questioning the validity of the information they find.
• Library computer terminals are neither private nor secure.
• Library staff has the authority to end an Internet session at any time.
• Accessing the Internet at the Library assumes compliance with the Library's Internet policy.
• The Library does not provide E-mail accounts to patrons.
• The Library is concerned about the safety and security of minors. When using email extreme caution must be taken by minors in regard to information of a personal nature. Minors shall not reveal their personal home address, location, home phone number.
• Responsibility for resolution of problems relating to any invasion of the user's privacy or loss of data rests with the user. The Library assumes no liability for any loss or damage to the user's data or for any damage or injury arising from invasion of privacy in the user's computer accounts, programs, or files.
• Patrons are allowed a thirty minute session with additional time if there is no one waiting for a computer.
• A limit of 2 people per terminal has been set, and each person must have a signed agreement.
It is the policy of SRLS to maintain an environment that promotes ethical and responsible conduct in all online activities by staff and patrons. This policy is a practical and logical extension of our community's commitment to conduct that is legal, responsible, ethical, and considerate of others.
1. Users are financially responsible for any charges they incur from use of the Internet, including the cost of printing.
2. The user shall accept the computer as it is set up by the Library and make no changes to its configuration. Users may not attach other hardware to the Library computers or install their own software.
3. The downloading of illegal information from the Internet could lead to prosecution. The user may not use the Internet for any illegal activity, including copyright violation, or place any material on the Internet related to any illegal activity.
4. Adults may not access obscene materials or child pornography.
5. Minors may not access inappropriate material, which is obscenity, child pornography, or materials harmful to minors, on the Internet and World Wide Web.
6. Uploading or creating computer viruses is considered a criminal offense and will result in immediate loss in Internet privileges and/or criminal prosecution.
7. Giving out personal information about another person, including home address and phone number, is strictly prohibited.
8. Hacking is illegal and is strictly prohibited.
9. Users shall not seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, other data, or passwords belonging to other users, or misrepresent other users on the Internet.
10. No user of the Internet shall disrupt the use of the Internet by others; hardware or software shall not be destroyed, modified, or abused in any way.
11. Malicious use of the Internet to develop or use programs that harass other users or infiltrate a computer or computing system and/or damage the software components of a computer or computer device is prohibited.
12. Sending hate mail or chain letters, harassment, and discriminatory remarks are prohibited.
The SRLS Board of Trustees does exercise direct control over all aspects of the use of computers and the Internet at system-wide libraries, and the system as a whole does comply with applicable federal and state laws and regulations. Any additional policies and/or guidelines related to Library Internet/Computer use shall be the responsibility of the Regional Library Board of Trustees.
Penalties for VIolation
Problems arising from application of the Regional policy will be handled as follows:
In the case of creating or purposefully uploading a computer virus or Trojan horse to the network or to any computing device, the patron shall lose all Internet privileges permanently. If a staff member creates or purposefully uploads a computer virus or Trojan horse to the network or other computing device, he/she will be dismissed immediately from employment at SRLS.
No action will be taken against a patron who accidentally opens an inappropriate web site, so long as the problem is immediately reported to the circulation desk. If, however, the patron does not immediately report the incident, he/she shall be given the benefit of the doubt for only one such occurrence. A second unreported incident shall result in that patron losing his/her Internet privileges for two weeks. A third unreported incident shall result in that patron losing his/her Internet privileges for three months. A subsequent unreported incident after the three month period will result in permanent revocation of Internet privileges. The patron has a responsibility to report such accidents; it is not acceptable to leave the computer without reporting it as the material left may be viewed by other patrons, including children.
In all other instances, the following shall apply:
First Violation -- Internet/Computer privileges will be revoked for two (2) weeks.
Second Violation -- Internet/Computer privileges will be revoked for three (3) months.
Third Violation -- Internet/Computer privileges will be revoked permanently.
An Internet user whose Internet privileges have been revoked shall have the right to appeal and/or request Internet access privileges be reinstated. An appeal must be in writing and submitted to the affiliated Library Manager within five days of the prohibition. Within ten days of the receipt of the appeal, the Library Manager and the Regional Director shall review the matter and notify the patron in writing of his/her decision.
If the Manager's decision is adverse to the patron, the patron may appeal in writing within five days to the Regional Library Board of Trustees, which shall consider the matter and issue its decision in writing following the next regularly scheduled board meeting. The Regional Board's decision shall be final and no further appeals will be considered.
Obscene -- CIPA defines Obscene materials by reference to 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1460. However, this statute merely defines what is meant by "visual depiction" of obscenity. The actual legal definition of "obscene" is found in the Supreme Court 's decision of Miller vs. California of 1973. The Miller Test defines obscenity as material possessing all three of the following characteristics: a) an average person applying contemporary community standards, would find the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; b) the material depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual contact as specifically defined by applicable state law; and c) the material, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
The State of Georgia 's definition of obscenity closely follows the Supreme Court's Miller Test guidelines. According to O.C.G.A. 16-12- 80 (b) material is obscene if :
(1) To the average person, applying contemporary community standards, taken as a whole, it predominantly appeals to the prurient interest, that is, a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; (2) The material taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; and (3) The material depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, conduct specifically defined in subparagraphs (A) through (E) of this paragraph:
(A) Acts of sexual intercourse, heterosexual or homosexual, normal or perverted, actual or simulated;
(B) Acts of masturbation;
(C) Acts involving excretory functions or lewd exhibition of the genitals;
(D) Acts of bestiality or the fondling of sex organs of animals; or
(E) Sexual acts of flagellation, torture, or other violence indicating a sadomasochistic sexual relationship.
Child Pornography -- The federal child pornography statue, 18 U.S.C. 2256 , defines "child pornography" as "any visual depiction" of a minor under 18 years old engaging in "sexually explicit conduct," which includes "actual or simulated" sexual intercourse, bestiality, masturbation, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or "lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area." The statute's definition includes not only actual depictions of sexually explicit conduct involving minors, but also images that "appear to be" minors engaging in sexually explicitly conduct.
Harmful to Minors -- Visual depiction which a) taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; b) 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; and c) taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors. (Definition from CIPA and 47 U.S.C. 254 ).
Minor -- CIPA (47 U.S.C. Sec. 254) definition - An individual who has not attained the age of 17 . Although O.C.G.A. 16-12-102(1 ) defines "minor" as one who is under 18 years of age , SRLS must comply with CIPA, a federal law, which takes precedence over state law . Thus, the CIPA definition shall be used in this policy.
Approved July 17, 2009