Internet Policy

Internet Policy

Revised: 2008/11

Purpose

The City of Denison Public Library (LIBRARY) provides access to the Internet as part of its mission: “The Denison Public Library enriches the lives of the people in our community by providing open access to a wide variety of materials, services, and information in a responsive and friendly environment that promotes lifelong learning.” 

The Internet provides a means to access information far beyond the Library's own collections. The Internet is a gateway to information of great diversity in many countries and cultures around the world. Because of its international character, however, there is no external monitoring of the Internet. 

While most of the information accessed can be valuable and enlightening, the user may also find materials that are unreliable, personally offensive, or illegal under U.S. law (see also USA PATRIOT act). The library has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content. Individuals must accept responsibility for evaluating content. As with other library materials, the library affirms the right and responsibility of parents or guardians to guide, determine, and monitor their children’s, and only their children’s, use of the Internet.


Responsibilities of the Library

The LIBRARY has no means or statutory authority to assure that only constitutionally protected material is accessed by the public. The authority to determine what is obscene rests with a court of competent jurisdiction. The availability of information does not constitute endorsement of the content by the City of Denison Public Library and the LIBRARY expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility arising from access to or use of information obtained through the Internet, or any consequences thereof. As stated in the American Library Association’s “Statement on Library Use of Filtering Software,” the use of filtering software to block access to constitutionally protected speech violates the “Library Bill of Rights”; therefore, the LIBRARY will not impose blocking or filtering software to limit access to Internet sites. However, LIBRARY staff can assist users with a list of selected web sites that allow filtered searching.

The LIBRARY has prepared a World Wide Web home page to assist users in their Internet searches and staff have identified and recommended specific starting points on the LIBRARY's home page (www.youseemore.com/denison). While users are encouraged to access the Internet, the information needed may be more easily available through the Library's more traditional resources. Library staff will assist users in locating these materials. 

While LIBRARY staff are happy to assist users in accessing the Internet, each user is nevertheless responsible for his or her own search. Staff cannot provide in-depth personal training in the use of the Internet or of personal computers. 

LIBRARY staff will not perform reference searches on the Internet at the request of telephone customers. 

The LIBRARY will provide primary access to the Internet through the World Wide Web via the Microsoft Internet Explorer graphical browser. 

Users will not be able to dial into the LIBRARY's Internet computers from remote sites. 

Responsibility of Customers
All Internet resources accessible through the Library are provided equally to all LIBRARY customers. However, use of the Internet must be compatible with the mission (see above) of the LIBRARY. It is the responsibility of each user to be guided by the following principles: 
  • Respect for the privacy and sensibilities of other users. 
  • Attention to the legal protection provided by copyright and license to programs and data. 
  • Consideration for the integrity of computing systems. For example, users must not intentionally develop programs to harass other users or to infiltrate a computer or computing system, or develop programs that may damage or alter the software components of this or other computing systems. 

Further examples of unacceptable use include, but are not limited to, the following: 
  • Damaging or destroying equipment, software, or data belonging to the LIBRARY or to other users, including adding, altering, or deleting files on LIBRARY workstation hard drives or other LIBRARY computer equipment. 
  • Unauthorized copying of copyrighted material. 
  • Violating software license agreements. 
  • Violating computer system or network integrity, including attempts to bypass network security functions, obtain passwords, or alter the configuration of LIBRARY workstations in any way. 
  • Harassing others. 
  • Using the Internet for any illegal activity. 
  • Gambling on the Internet. 
  • Wasting finite resources (including printing without paying). 
  • §43.22 of the Texas Penal Code prohibits the intentional or knowing display of an obscene photograph, drawing, or visual representation, while being reckless about whether a person is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display. 
  • §43.24 of the Texas Penal Code prohibits the display of harmful material, defined in the law similarly to indecent material under federal law, if the displayer is reckless about whether a minor is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display. 

For more information, see the complete text of Sections 43.22 and 43.24 of the Texas Penal Code. 

The LIBRARY reserves the right to terminate the Internet access privileges of any person abusing these principles. 

Confidentiality

It is the LIBRARY’s practice not to maintain a history of our customers’ computer use. The LIBRARY will not retrieve any information, including web sites visited, passwords or credit card numbers, or any other information a customer has entered. At the end of the business day, all customer computer use and reservation records are erased.

Expressions of Concern

• Concerns will be dealt with promptly and courteously.
• The appropriate staff will first discuss the concern with the individual or group.
• After discussion, if the individual or group wishes, they may discuss their concerns with the Library Director.
• After discussion with the Library Director, if an individual or group is still concerned they may submit an official complaint to the Library Board of Trustees using the

"Statement of Concern about Library Resources" form.

Formal Complaint Process

The official complaint on the “Statement of Concern about Library Resources” form will be considered by the Library Board of Trustees at a regular meeting.

• The Library Director presents a staff response.
• The Library Board of Trustees will make a final ruling on the concern.
• A written response will be sent to the individual or group.

Internet Use Guidelines for Parents and Guardians

The public library does not serve in loco parentis (in place of a parent). Librarians cannot act in the place of parents in providing constant care and supervision of children as they explore the Internet. The responsibility for what minors read or view on the Internet rests with parents or guardians.

The following are recommended guidelines for parents and guardians to ensure that children have positive online experiences, whether at home or in the library.

• Use the Internet as a family. Join your children in Internet exploration.
• Explore the wide range of available information and tell your children about sites you consider inappropriate for them.
• Encourage children to use sites recommended on the library’s web site and counsel them to avoid sites you consider unsuitable.
• Provide guidelines for your children on the amount of time they spend online, just as for television viewing.
• Instruct children NEVER to give out personal information (name, address, password, telephone number, credit card number) online.
• Teach children to be responsible online information users. As with print information, consider the source, date, and accuracy of online information.

Library staff will provide training on the use of the Internet and make information available to help parents and guardians in their efforts to exercise their rights and responsibilities regarding their own children’s use of the Internet.

Wireless

The LIBRARY provides free, unsecured, wireless Internet access for public use. The LIBRARY does not provide personal wireless devices for public use. The LIBRARY does not provide support for privately owned personal wireless devices. Security for personal wireless devices rests solely with the owner of the wireless device. Personal use of the LIBRARY's public wireless access will conform to policies regulating other types of public Internet access provided by the LIBRARY.

USA Patriot Act Warning 

Under Section 215 of the federal USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56), records of books and other materials you borrow from this library may be obtained by federal agents. Federal agents may also track your personal Internet usage on library computers. This federal law prohibits librarians from informing you if federal agents have obtained records about you. 

Library Board approved November 22, 2008