December 17, 2019

Public Internet Use Policy

This policy governs the use of all public Internet access terminals owned or used by the Tulare County Library. The Tulare County Library Public Internet Policy was approved by the Tulare County Board of Supervisors on 25 June 2002. The Library has also established the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) Policy to comply with FCC Compliance Regulations “FCC 01-120”.

 

The Tulare County Library develops collections, resources, and services to meet the cultural, informational, and educational needs of the community. Within this context, the Tulare County Public Library offers public access to the internet. To fulfill our mission, the Tulare County Library provides public access to information collections, resources, and services to meet the cultural, informational, professional, and educational needs of our patrons, including those available through the computers in the Library and the internet. These computer-based resources and the internet extend the Library's access to resources that previously were unavailable or unaffordable. The Library provides this access for all cardholders.

 

Intellectual freedom and censorship statement

Tulare County Library supports the individual's right to access ideas and information representing all points of view. The Library welcomes and solicits patron suggestions, comments, and ideas about the collection and its development. The Library Advisory Board endorses the following documents: the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read and the Freedom to View statements of the American Library Association.

 

Access and Users’ Responsibility

The Library offers computers with access to the internet, software, databases, and the Library catalog. The internet is an unregulated public worldwide connection of computers that includes websites and interactive resources including social media, chat rooms, email, etc. that the library neither monitors nor controls. Other Library resources available on some computers are for searching the Library's holdings, using authorized software, and accessing online databases. Patrons who use Library must comply with all federal, state or local laws, policies, guidelines, or regulations.

 

Responsibility:

The Library expects patrons to act responsibly when using the internet. The user is ultimately responsible for selecting which sites to visit but should be aware that others may be involuntarily exposed to what is displayed. Users are asked to respect the privacy of others.

 

The user is expected to adhere to all laws, policies, procedures, and guidelines that apply to the use of the internet and computers in the Library. Failure to comply will result in loss of computer privileges, loss of Library privileges, or prosecution.

As part of this responsibility, users are not authorized to install software or make intentional changes to software or hardware configurations on any library computer. Also, unauthorized access to local and remote computer systems, including so-called “hacking” is prohibited and illegal.

 

Filtering:

The Library filters internet terminals to comply with applicable state and federal law (refer to CIPA—Internet Policy). Filtering software may help to block access to objectionable internet sites as defined by CIPA. However, the software cannot block out all objectionable sites and sometimes blocks useful material, including sites that are suitable for children, teens, and adults. Adults can request access to filtered sites, as long as the access and viewing to such sites is legal. If the time comes that such filtering compliance is not necessary, the Library may stop filtering internet terminals to provide full access.

 

Choosing and Evaluating Resources:

Use of internet resources carries with it a responsibility to evaluate the quality of the resources accessed. Be aware that some information may be inaccurate, outdated, or personally offensive. Patrons are encouraged to exercise critical judgment in evaluating the validity or accuracy of information accessed through the internet.

 

Assistance:

The Library provides staff to assist patrons of all ages in locating the information they need on the internet. Staff cannot provide extended training or technical support. The Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from public use of the internet.

 

Privacy:

The Library does not monitor internet access but warns that the internet is not a confidential environment. There is no guarantee of privacy in the Library as well. Be aware that any information sent over the internet, including personal names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, or credit card numbers, cannot be guaranteed secure.

 

The Library does not routinely monitor public computers but reserves the right to do so when a violation of policy, procedures, guidelines, or the law is suspected. Staff is authorized to take immediate action to protect the security of our patrons, computers, and network. This includes confiscating any removable media, requiring a user to leave a computer or the premises, or contacting law enforcement authorities. The Library reserves the right to terminate an internet session at any time.

 

Children:

As with all Library materials, the internet is available to all cardholders including children under 18. A child’s access to the internet is the responsibility of the parent(s) or legal guardian(s). Parents are encouraged to come in with their children and supervise their computer and internet use at the Library.

 

Parents approve their child’s use of the Library’s internet with their signature at the time a library card is issued to their child under 18. Any restriction of a minor's access to materials on the Library’s computers is the responsibility of the parents or guardians, not Library staff. The Library cannot act in “loco parentis”, thus staff cannot monitor use or restrict access of minor children. To assist parents and comply with CIPA, the Library provides filtering. See section on Filtering.

 

LAWS

All internet users are expected to comply with the law. The following list of laws governs the use of the internet and public computers at the Library. This list is not intended to cover all current or future laws governing the use of the internet at the Library’s public computers. The Library uses the definition of “sexually explicit” found in Tulare County Resolution No. 82-2033 which is available at all branches.

 

Harmful to minors

All Library computers with internet access are located in public areas where minors may be present. California law defines a “harmful to minors” violation as every person who, with knowledge that a person is a minor, knowingly exhibits or offers to distribute or exhibit by any means, matter which is deemed harmful to minors. According to California Penal Code Section 313 "harmful matter" means matter, taken as a whole, which to the average person, applying contemporary statewide standards, appeals to the prurient interest, and is matter which, taken as a whole, depicts or describes in a patently offensive way sexual conduct and which, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

 

Child pornography

California Penal Code Section 311.3 prohibits the sexual exploitation of a child. A person is guilty of sexual exploitation of a child if he or she knowingly duplicates, prints, or exchanges any representation of information, data or image that depicts a person under the age of 18 years engaged in an act of sexual conduct.

 

Obscenity

Obscene graphic materials are prohibited from being displayed, printed or downloaded. California Penal Code 311 states "Obscene matter" means matter, taken as a whole, that to the average person, applying contemporary statewide standards, appeals to the prurient interest, that, taken as a whole, depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and that, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. This criterion was established by U.S. Supreme court’s three-part Miller Test (Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15). Federal, state or local law does not constitutionally protect obscene materials and images.

 

Tampering with equipment

According to California Penal Code Section 502, it is illegal for users to physically or electronically modify Library computer equipment or to tamper with hardware or software.

 

Hostile work environment

Displaying explicit, graphic or obscene images on Library computers may create a hostile workplace environment for Library staff and may constitute a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace.

 

Copyright

In accordance with federal copyright laws (Title l7, U.S. Code), users of the internet who copy, distribute, or display a copyrighted work publicly without authority of the copyright owner or its agent are liable for copyright infringement. This includes copyrighted material downloaded, saved, or printed using Library computers. Users may not copy or distribute electronic materials, including electronic mail, text, images, programs or data, without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

 

Law enforcement will be alerted if any of the above laws are violated or illegal acts involving Library resources occur. The acts may be subject to prosecution by local, state or federal officials.

 

DISCLAIMERS

The Tulare County Library is not liable for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages related to the legal or illegal public use of the internet. This includes information found, saved, distributed, printed, downloaded, viewed, or displayed. The County of Tulare and the Tulare County Library expressly disclaim any liability or responsibility resulting from such use. In providing internet access to the public, the Library does not endorse or sanction its resources. The Library cannot control or be held responsible for its content. Information found on the internet may not be accurate, timely, authoritative, useful, or in good taste.

 

Since the Tulare County Library cannot be held responsible for any information accessed through the internet. The Tulare County Board of Supervisors passed Resolution 82-2033 that restricts certain materials to those 14 years of age and older. The filter the library employs is set up to meet these restrictions. The Library highly encourages parents or guardians monitor the internet usage of their children under the age of 14 when in the Library