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Computer Use Policy

Introduction

This document constitutes a Library-wide policy for the management of public computers and wireless network resources. In agreement with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA ~ Public Law 106-554, which is codified in 47 USC 254), all Library public access workstations use filtering software to access the Internet. Adults 18 or older who need unfiltered access for any lawful purpose may request it from a staff member. Unfiltered access will be granted on a per-search basis.

Purpose

The El Paso Public Library offers access to information resources in electronic format and public computers as part of the Library’s reference and literacy services and in accordance with the Library’s mission. The Library’s electronic services are not intended to provide access to every software or hardware application or to every source of information available. The Library only assumes responsibility for information provided on the Library website, which is maintained and updated by Library staff. El Paso Public Library has no control over the information accessed through the Internet, other than the content provided on the Library’s website. Internet resources offer links to many valuable sources of information. However, not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete, or current information. A good information consumer evaluates the validity of all information found.

Supervision of a child's access to the Internet is ultimately the responsibility of the parent or guardian; the Library does not have the right or responsibility to act in loco parentis (on behalf of the parent/guardian). However, in accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA ~ Public Law 106-554), the Library does use internet filtering software on all its public-access computers to prevent both minors (persons under the age of 18) and adults from accessing certain visual depictions that are (1) obscene (as defined in section 1460 of title 18, United States Code), (2) child pornography (as defined in section 2256 of title 18, United States Code) or, with respect to use of computers with Internet access by minors, (3) harmful to minors. Furthermore, all customers must abide by §43.22 and §43.24 of the Texas Penal Code, which prohibits the intentional or knowing display of such materials, while being reckless about whether a person, especially a minor, is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display.

Responsibilities of Users

Rules Governing Use

Software has been loaded on most public access computers to manage computer sign-up in defined time increments. This software requires the user to log on to the computer using a barcode, either from a valid library card or a guest pass supplied by the Library. In order to provide equitable patron access, computer usage is limited to a finite number of sessions per day. All computer sessions, regardless of length, count towards the session number total. Session limits may vary by location and by type of workstation. Computer users must respect the established time limit and honor any staff request to end their session. Printing is available for a per page fee from most computer workstations, and patrons are responsible for full payment for any printing done at the Library.

Users may not:

  • Circumvent filtering or blocking software, or other security measures to access visual depictions deemed (a) obscene, (b) child pornography, or (c) harmful to minors, as defined in the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA ~ Public Law 106-554).
  • Circumvent public access computer time management software, or procedures.
  • Use the workstations or laptop devices to gain access to the Library's networks or computer systems or to any other network or computer system.
  • Obstruct other people's work by consuming large amounts of system resources or by deliberately crashing any Library computer system.
  • Attempt to damage computer equipment or software.
  • Attempt to alter software configurations.
  • Attempt to cause degradation of system performance.
  • Use any Library workstation for any illegal or criminal purpose.
  • Violate copyright laws or software licensing agreements in their use of Library workstations.
  • Engage in any activity that is deliberately and maliciously offensive, libelous, or slanderous.
  • Install or download any software.

Violations may result in loss of access. Staff is empowered to terminate or extend a user session if appropriate. Unlawful activities will be dealt with in an appropriate manner, including notification of law enforcement authorities.

Supervising Children’s Use

It is the Library's policy that parents or legal guardians must assume responsibility for deciding what electronic and online resources are appropriate for their children. There will be some resources that parents may feel are inappropriate for their children. Parents are responsible for informing their children as to which materials are and are suitable for use by the child. Parents should supervise their child's Internet sessions.

In agreement with CIPA regulations, all Library public-access workstations use filtering software to access the Internet. No filtering software can control access to all materials that an individual may deem inappropriate. El Paso Public Library does not guarantee the total effectiveness of technological protection measures such as filtering software.

Information on teaching children and teens to avoid the dangers that exist on the Internet can be found at NetSmartz:http://www.netsmartz.org/index.aspx. This site is sponsored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Choosing and Evaluating Sources

The Internet is a global entity with a highly diverse user population and information content. Library customers use it at their own risk. The Library cannot protect users from materials they may find offensive. In choosing sources to link to our home page, we follow generally accepted library practices. Beyond this, we do not accept responsibility for content found in an Internet source. We are not responsible for changes in content of the sources to which we link, nor for the content of sources accessed through secondary links. As with printed information, not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete, or current information. Users should evaluate Internet sources just as they do printed publications, questioning the validity of the information provided.

Copyright

U.S. copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials, except as permitted by the principles of "fair use". Users may not copy or distribute electronic materials (including electronic mail, text, images, programs or data) without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Any responsibility for any consequences of copyright infringement lies with the user; the Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use.

The Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility arising from access to, or use of, information obtained through its electronic information systems, or any consequences thereof.

Liability

The Library buildings may be subject to power surges and power outages, which may affect personal equipment and transactions taking place on public computers. The Library assumes no liability for any loss or damage to users’ data or devices, invasion of the user’s privacy, or for any personal damage or injury incurred as a result of using the Library’s computing resources.

The Library is not responsible for the theft of personal computers or other devices, personal property loss or damage.

The El Paso Public Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of its Internet server (home pages), Internet connections (wireless or wired) or from its connections to other Internet services. The Library does not guarantee that individual users are protected from accessing information they personally may deem undesirable or disturbing.