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Internet Access and Computer Use Policy
|Introduction||General Info||Proctored Exams||Saving & Printing||Children||Time Limits|
|Transient Users||Availability||WiFi Access||Legal||External Hardware||Disclaimer|
- This policy provides for the management of the Pine Mountain Regional Library System’s computers, computer network and wireless network. It reflects the ethical principles of the Library System and indicates what privileges and responsibilities are associated with the Library’s computers.
- Computer and Internet use has become an integral part of many library activities and services. The Library provides a variety of computer equipment, software and Internet services so that the public may access information on a global scale. The purpose of the computers is to expand the learning opportunities of children and adults alike. While the provision of computers in the Library is a free service, it must be emphasized that the use of this service for monetary gain or illegal activity is prohibited.
- Any patron may use a public use computer, provided that they have a PINES library card. The card must be in their name; they cannot use another patron’s card to sign on to a computer.
- A patron must have a card in good standing to use a computer. A patron’s card will be blocked, and no services obtained with it if the patron has 10 or more overdue items, and owes $10 or more in unpaid fines and/or fees. Delinquent users who have not reached these limits may still use a computer; the system operator will be notified that the patron is delinquent.
- Use of the computers is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- No more than two people may sit at a single computer at one time. If two people are using the computer, the patron who initially logs on is responsible for all content viewed and all computer activities.
- Except for printing fees, use of the computers is provided free of charge. The Library is unable to provide detailed instruction in the use of the computers. Patrons are expected to have a basic working knowledge of computers before signing up to use one. While librarians and staff are available for general assistance in using the computers, they may not be able to help patrons with a specific problem in a specific program.
- All patrons are expected to abide by the rules of the Library and to cooperate with this policy. Those not doing so may be asked to relinquish their turn at a computer or be asked to leave the Library. Violators of this policy may lose their library privileges. Staff will be subject to normal disciplinary procedures as well.
- Patrons who are required to have an exam proctor may reserve a computer for their exam. They must contact a librarian to make arrangements at least 24 hours in advance. There is a fee for proctoring.
Saving and Printing
- Patrons may not save their work to the hard drive of the computers. Patrons who wish to save their work may save it onto their own flash drive or onto their own account in the cloud.
- Patrons are expected to request assistance if they are unsure of how to print because they are responsible for everything they print. Patrons will be asked to pay for mistakes and multiple printings, even if they are not wanted.
- Only library-supplied paper may be used in the printers.
- Just like adults, children must have their own library card to sign up for a computer. They cannot use another patron’s card, nor can they be signed up using a parent’s card. Children five years old and younger may sit with their parents while their parents use a computer. In this instance, the child does not need to have a library card. If the parent wants the child to work alone at a computer, then the child will need to have a library card and log on using their card.
- A mature assistant should remain with any child who cannot yet read or who may need assistance with technical matters.
- When a parent or legal guardian applies for a child’s library card, they must decide whether or not the child will have access to the Internet. By signing the appropriate paragraph, they give or withhold their permission for children seventeen and under to access the Internet. This permission can be changed at any time. Parents should be aware that it is possible for a child to sit with a friend who has Internet access.
- In order to make the service available to as many patrons as possible, there is a one-hour time limit. Patrons may be granted an extra hour, for a daily maximum of two hours, if other computers are available. When all computers are in use, patrons may not receive an extra hour.
- Patrons are expected to wait patiently for their turn. They should not stand behind the person using the computer; nor should they urge the person to hurry.
- Computer users who will be in the area temporarily may use the library’s computers for up to one month (four weeks) using their driver’s license or other form of official identification. They will need to present that identification every time they sign up to use a computer.
- If they are going to be in the area for more than one month, they will need to get a library card. If they live, work or go to school in the state of Georgia, they are eligible for a free library card; otherwise, they will need to purchase a library card and pay the temporary or out-of-state fee.
- Computers will be available during normal business hours of operation. All patrons (wireless and otherwise) must be prepared to stop working, even if they are not finished, fifteen minutes before closing or when their time is up.
Wireless Internet Access
- Wireless Internet Access is available at all branch libraries. It is only available inside the building; it is not available after hours. In order to access this service, patrons must provide their own laptop or device that is Wi-Fi ready. The library does not provide these devices.
- If a patron cannot access the library’s wireless service, staff will verify that the service is working properly but the staff (including IT personnel) cannot configure or otherwise adapt a user’s device to make it connect to the wireless internet service.
- There is a limited amount of bandwidth available. Patrons who are streaming video, downloading software, music or image files could experience slowness or difficulty opening the files. Patrons are expected to limit this kind of activity as the library cannot help with this problem.
- No security is provided for the wireless network; patrons must be aware that it is possible that their information can be captured by anyone with the proper equipment. Patrons should use caution when transmitting personal information, credit card information and passwords.
- Patrons should use headphones with their laptop or wireless device or mute the sound, so as not to disturb other patrons.
- While there are no time limits for wireless patrons, they are expected to save their work and disconnect from the wireless service fifteen minutes before the library closes.
- Use of the wireless network is entirely at the risk of the user. The library assumes no responsibility for safety of a patron’s equipment, security or device configurations. The library accepts no liability for any damage to hardware, software or data.
- Patrons may be able to print from their devices. Some of the branch libraries offer wireless printing.
- For branches that do not offer wireless printing, patrons who need to print may save their work to a storage device or email the information to their own account. They can then log in to one of the library’s public use computers and send their print jobs to the public network printer.
Children’s Internet and Protection Act and Other Legal Issues
- The Library currently uses filtering software, in accordance with federal and state law.
- If a patron is viewing a questionable web site, a staff member may ask the patron to change web sites.
- According to the Georgia Code, section 16-12-100, adult sites may not be viewed in the presence of minor children. Patrons who are viewing adult sites will be asked to leave the site. Patrons who refuse will lose their library privileges.
- It is illegal for children under the age of eighteen to view adult sites. If a patron under the age of eighteen is viewing an adult site, they will be asked to leave the site immediately. If there is a second incident, their parents or guardians will be informed. Library privileges will be revoked if they refuse to leave the site.
- The public and staff may use computers and the wireless network for legal purposes only. Patrons who use the computers for illegal purposes will lose their privileges and may face criminal charges. Staff members who use the computers for illegal purposes will be subject to disciplinary action or dismissal and may face criminal charges.
- All of the libraries which are providing Internet access are under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act, enacted by the 1991 Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor, effective July 1, 1991, which establishes certain acts involving computer fraud or abuse as crimes punishable by fines or imprisonment or both.
- Such acts include but are not limited to:
- Putting false information into a computer.
- Harassment of other patrons or users.
- Libeling or slandering other patrons or users.
- Destruction of, or damage to equipment, software, or data belonging to the library or other patrons or users.
- Disruption or unauthorized monitoring or electronic communication.
- Unauthorized copying and/or distribution of copyright-protected material.
External Hardware, Equipment and Security Issues
- Patrons may use external hard drives, ear buds and flash drives with the library computers.
- Due to potential security problems, patrons are not allowed to connect their personal electronic equipment to the Library’s network or telephone lines. Personal electronic equipment includes but is not limited to: laptop computers, zip drives, other external drives, CD burners, PDA’s, printers, etc.
- Patrons may not load software, save data, change settings or delete any items from the computers. Any attempts to disable computer security settings will result in a loss of library privileges. Patrons who deliberately damage or abuse the computers will lose their library privileges.
- Patrons who have lost their library privileges may request in writing that the Director reinstate their privileges.
- Since the Internet is a global network, the library has no control over its content. Although the Library does filter the Internet, it still contains material that some would consider controversial or offensive in nature. Each patron has different standards and different beliefs, what is acceptable to one patron may be reprehensible to another. It is not the Library’s policy to censor what ideas or information adults or children should be exposed to. Adults who accidentally view another patron’s screen should bear in mind that what they consider offensive may be acceptable to the person using that computer.
- Parents or legal guardians should provide guidance to their own children. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for their child’s, and only their child’s, use of the Internet.
- Library staff cannot control the availability of information links that often change rapidly and unpredictably. Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete or current information. Users need to be good information consumers, questioning the validity of the information.
- The Library System assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of its Internet services. While the library uses anti-virus software and strives to prevent viral attacks, the Library is not responsible for any viruses present on the hard drives of its computers, nor is it responsible for any damage, direct or indirect, caused by such viruses.
Code of Conduct
The following guidelines have been established by the Pine Mountain Regional Library System to ensure the comfort and safety of all patrons and staff members. All patrons are expected to abide by these guidelines while in the Library or on Library property. Those persons who do not will be asked to leave. If a patron is asked to leave and they refuse, library staff will call the local police. Those patrons who are habitual offenders will not be allowed back in the Library without permission of the Director or his/her designee.
- Patrons may not eat or drink while in the Library, except for the meeting room where light refreshments are allowed during scheduled meetings.
- Patrons may not use alcohol, tobacco or illegal substances while in the Library. Patrons who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be asked to leave the Library.
- No harassment of library staff or unduly loud and abusive language is permitted in the Library. Adults or children who are blatantly disruptive and who break Library rules will be asked to leave the library.
- The Library is not responsible for personal belongings left in any library materials or on the library premises.
- Library staff reserves the right to inspect all bags, briefcases, backpacks, containers, books and any similar items.
- Adults or children who deface or steal Library property will be prosecuted.
- Children or dependent persons, regardless of age, may not be left at the Library for baby-sitting or care-giving purposes.
- The Library is not responsible for the safety of unattended children or dependent persons of any age.
- Young children may not be left unattended except during scheduled library sponsored programs. Parents are expected to remain in the building while their child is in the program.
- Parents will be held responsible for their children’s behavior, even if they are not present while the child is in the Library.
- Patrons are not allowed to carry, display or draw any unauthorized weapons while in the Library. Doing so will be reason the staff to notify police.
- Patrons should check with a staff member before entering any non-public areas of the Library, such as staff workrooms, offices or storage areas.
- Animals, except for service animals, are not permitted in the Library.
- Patrons who are using cell phones, pagers or other electronic devices should set them to signal quietly so that other users in the library will not be disturbed. If possible, patrons should go to the lobby, the hallway, the restroom or outside to make or receive a call. If an electronic device must be used in the library, the patron should keep conversations brief and quiet.
- Patrons should keep conversations (either in person or via electronic device) quiet in order to avoid disturbing others.
General Behavior Policy
In order to provide a safe environment for library use, the Pine Mountain Regional Library System has established guidelines for patron behavior. All patrons, adult or juvenile, are expected to abide by these guidelines while in the Library or on Library property. A Code of Conduct summarizing these guidelines will be displayed in all branches of the Library.
All young children must be accompanied by an adult while in the Library. Library employees have many responsibilities, and they are neither trained nor expected to assume responsibility for the care or safety of unsupervised children or dependent persons of any age in the Library.
Dependent persons may include persons incapacitated due to physical and/or mental disabilities or other conditions who are dependent on others for their safety and well-being. A parent, legal guardian, or caregiver is responsible for monitoring the activities and managing the behavior of children and dependent persons during their library visit. A caregiver is defined as an individual at least 16 years of age who acknowledges this responsibility for a child or dependent person.
If a young child is attending a Library program, an adult is required to remain in the Library throughout the program. Children who are able to work independently may be left unattended while in the Library. Parents or guardians will be held responsible for their child’s behavior, even if they are not present while the child is in the Library. If a child or dependent person is left unattended after the library closes library staff will try to contact their family or caregiver. If family members or a caregiver cannot be reached, staff members will contact the local police or the Department of Family and Children’s Services.
If unattended children become disruptive, they will be asked to settle down or to leave the Library. If they continue to be disruptive, library staff may contact the parents and tell them that they must come pick up their child immediately. If the parents cannot be reached, the library staff may send a letter to the parents informing them of their child’s misconduct. If the misconduct continues, the parent may be asked to meet with the Director to discuss the issue.
If a patron or group of patrons (older children, teenagers or adults) are conducting themselves in such a way as to disturb others using the Library, they will be asked to settle down or to leave. If their conduct continues, library staff may contact the local police. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to: loud talking, running, shoving, throwing things, physical, verbal or sexual harassment, sexual activity and/or contact or threats. Habitual offenders will not be allowed back in the Library without the permission of the Director or his/her designee. Patrons who harass staff members are subject to the same measures as those who disturb other patrons. While patrons may be warned that their behavior can require a police visit, library staff do not need to inform patrons that the police have been contacted.
Any person who steals or defaces library materials or property may be prosecuted. Library staff reserves the right to inspect all bags, briefcases, backpacks, containers, books and any similar items. Library materials must be properly checked out at the Circulation Desk. Items such as reference materials, current periodicals, microfilm/microfiche or any other non-circulating items may not be removed from the premises.
Library furniture and equipment for public use must be used only for their intended purpose. The Library system provides meeting rooms in all four counties. These rooms must be reserved in advance. There will be no unauthorized or unscheduled group meetings or activities.
Patrons may not eat or drink while in the Library, except for the meeting room where light refreshments are allowed during scheduled meetings. Patrons may not use alcohol, tobacco or illegal substances while in the Library. Patrons are not allowed to carry, display or draw any unauthorized weapons while in the Library. Doing so will be reason for the staff to notify police.
For their own safety, patrons are asked not to enter non-public areas of the Library, such as staff work rooms, offices and storage areas, without first contacting a staff member. Patrons may not bring animals, except for service animals, into the Library.
Loss of Library Privileges
It is the policy of the Pine Mountain Regional Library System that all patrons should have equal access to library services. There are occasions, however, when patron behavior requires the loss of library privileges. Since this is a serious matter, patrons will be given opportunities to correct their behavior.
Patrons will be notified in writing that they have lost their privileges.
Authority to Take Away Privileges
All staff members may issue verbal warnings to patrons to remind them of library policy and to let them know that if they do not correct their behavior they may lose their library privileges. Since this is such a serious matter, only branch managers and librarians may make the decision to take away a patron’s library privileges.
First and Second Offense
When a patron loses their library privileges for the first time, they will not be able to use the computers, check out materials or use any other library service for a period of thirty days. They may not enter the building. Their record will have a status of BARRED, which will prevent them from using any other PINES facility.
Patrons who commit a second offense will lose their privileges for sixty days.
Patrons who commit a third offense will have their library privileges revoked. Patrons who have had their library privileges revoked must request in writing that the Director reinstate their privileges. Depending on the circumstances, the Director may or may not reinstate their privileges.
The patron’s record will have a status of BARRED, which will prevent them from using any other PINES facility.
If their behavior has been so poor or destructive that the Director chooses not to reinstate their privileges, the patron will have to wait at least two years. At the end of two years, the PINES system will automatically remove their record from the database because of inactivity. When the record has been removed, the patron may then apply for a new card.
Reasons for Loss of Privileges
Loss of privileges is reserved for serious or repeat offenses. Examples include but are not limited to:
- theft of library materials
- tampering with library computers
- tampering or destruction of library materials or equipment
- verbal or physical assault of patrons or staff
- repeated refusal to comply with any library policy
- illegal or criminal activity
Because of the serious nature of this action, branch managers will be required to keep documented records of verbal warnings and the incident that caused the warning. They will also need to document the decision to remove or revoke a patron’s privileges.
Children twelve and under will be subject to a shorter time period. The first time they lose their privileges, they will lose them for one week. The second time they lose their privileges, they will lose them for two weeks. Unless their behavior is repeatedly malicious, they will not have their privileges revoked. Staff will inform their parents of their behavior.
Children thirteen and older will face the loss of library privileges like any other patron. Staff will inform their parents of their behavior.
Patrons may use the library telephone to make occasional local calls. Calls must be kept short. Patrons who abuse this privilege may be barred from using the telephone.
Patrons should not use the library telephone for purely social calls and they may not make long distance calls.
Staff may ask the patron why they need to use the telephone.