OXFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY
INTERNET SAFETY & COMPUTER USE POLICY
It is the policy of the Oxford Public Library to uphold the rights of individual users to access Constitutionally-protected speech and information in a wide range of formats, including that available over the Internet. However, as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”) and in order to receive certain federal funds, the Oxford Public Library will implement technology protection measures (Internet filtering) for all Internet-accessible computers and other electronic devices using the Internet service provided by the Connecticut Education Network (“CEN”). The technology protection measure/filtering software will, to the extent practicable, (a) protect against access by staff and patrons, both minors and adults, to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors as defined by federal law; (b) promote the safety and security of all Internet users, including minors, when using electronic mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communication; (c) guard against unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding all Internet users, including minors; and (d) prevent unauthorized online access to the computer networks of the Library and others, including so-called “hacking,” and any other unlawful activities by all Internet users, including minors.
The library provides hard-wired computers which allow access to a variety of electronic resources, including research resources, office software, children’s games, the Internet, and the library catalog. These computers are available for use by all patrons. Patrons must show a staff member their library card prior to computer use. Regarding Internet use, children under the age of 18 unable to work independently must be accompanied by an individual who is able to work independently and can quietly assist them. It is the responsibility of each adult caregiver to monitor their child’s Internet usage.
Patrons are welcome to use their personal laptops and other personal computing devices in the library. Patrons may connect personal equipment only to the wireless Oxford Public Library network. If necessary, patrons may plug their devices into a library electrical power source so long as they do not pose a safety hazard for others. All patrons using the Internet, wired or wireless, are subject to the terms of the library’s Internet Safety and Computer Use Policy.
The library staff can provide limited assistance in computer use. Headphones may be available for use. The volume of audio programs must be kept low enough that other patrons are not disturbed. There is no charge for printing from the library catalog. All other printing, including printing from online databases, will be subject to current printing prices posted in the library. To promote equitable access to the Internet, the library reserves the right to ask you to stop using a terminal after (1- 2 hours) if others are waiting for computers. Library staff also may reserve computers for special use for a group or program.
To borrow a laptop or tablet computer for on-site interior or outdoor patio use only. Patrons must use his or her own library card or driver’s license/photo ID and leave it with the staff until the item has been returned to the desk. You must be 12 years old to borrow a laptop or tablet.
Patrons will be asked to initial a user’s agreement before using this equipment that lists pricing for replacement if damaged or broken. These will be kept on file for repeated usage.
No abuse of equipment or software will be tolerated. Loss or damage to the computers, peripheral equipment or library software will be paid for by the patron or responsible party. Library staff has the right to restrict usage for those persons who do not use the equipment responsibly, do not abide by the regulations of the library, and/or do not abide by the specific rules for use of the computers. Guardians of children under 18 will be responsible if borrowed item is damaged.
Oxford Public Library assumes no liability for any loss or damage to users’ data or devices, nor for any personal damage or injury incurred as a result of using Oxford’s computing resources. This includes damage or injury sustained from invasions of the user’s privacy.
PRACTICE & PROCEDURE
Access to Inappropriate Material
Multi-use workstations provide access to the Internet, digital information, online catalog and Microsoft Office software. The Internet contains a wide variety of material and opinions. Some websites contain material that may be inaccurate, defamatory, illegal or offensive to some people. Users are responsible for determining that the information they access is reliable and suited to their needs.
Oxford Public Library staff will identify on its website selected, particularly useful, websites. They stand ready to guide patrons in finding reliable information on the Internet. Oxford Public Library has no control over material residing on the Internet and specifically denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained there.
The technology protection measure/filtering software installed on the Library’s Internet accessible computers and WiFi is intended to protect against access to visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography, and, in the case of persons under the age of 18 years, materials that are “harmful to minors,” as defined by federal law. Users should be aware, however, that all currently available technology protection measure/filtering software results in some degree of both “underblocking” (permitting access to certain material that falls within the foregoing categories) and “overblocking” (denying access to certain constitutionally protected material that does not fall within the foregoing categories). The Library cannot and does not guarantee that the technology protection measure/filtering software will block all obscenity, child pornography, or materials that are harmful to minors. Nor can the Library guarantee that the technology protection measure/filtering software will not restrict access to sites that may have legitimate research or other value. In order to help address the problem of over- and under-blocking and to enhance users’ access to constitutionally protected speech and information, users, both adults and minors, may speak to a reference librarian or contact the Library at concerning any incorrectly blocked site.
The library cannot guarantee the confidentiality of personal information transmitted over the Internet. Users should closely guard personal information, credit card numbers, passwords, and other types of authorizations when on the Internet. Parent/guardians should instruct their children regarding safety and security when using electronic mail, social networking websites, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communication and NEVER to give out personal information (name, address, phone number, etc.) online.
Use by Minors
Children under the age of 18 must have parent/guardian written permission to use the Internet or view materials on the Internet. Children must check in with a staff member before using a computer. Parents/guardians of minors should be aware of the existence of material which they might consider inappropriate for their children and should educate their children to be responsible Internet users. The Library staff cannot determine what a parent/guardian will consider appropriate for his/her child. The library strongly recommends that parents use the Internet access services provided by the library with their children and that the parents/guardians provide appropriate supervision.
Oxford Public Library wireless Internet access is available throughout the library and the back patio. It also accessible in the parking lot and outside area near the main meeting room. Patrons are welcome to bring wireless devices into our building, however, technical support is not available for personal devices. Patrons need to be aware that wireless networks are inherently insecure and it is strongly recommended that they secure their devices. Oxford Public Library staff has the right to set and enforce rules concerning the use of the Internet and to change those rules at any time, without notice. The Library may limit available bandwidth in order to ensure a minimum standard of service to all users.
Disabling or Otherwise Modifying any Technology Protection Measure*
Any user who is 18 years of age or older may request reference staff to disable the technology protection measure/filtering software in order to obtain unfiltered Internet access for bona fide research or any other lawful purpose by completing the Unfiltered Internet Access Form. Oxford Public Library staff may request technology protection measure/filtering software to be disabled if necessary to perform their work duties. Procedures for disabling the measures shall be the responsibility of the Oxford Public Librarian or his/her designated representatives.
All users, regardless of age, are expected to abide by the following rules:
1. Some material on the internet is abusive, profane, sexually-oriented or illegal. Accessing these materials from library computers is inappropriate and prohibited. Examples of inappropriate conduct include, but are not limited to:
•use of the Internet for illegal purposes
•use of the Internet to send or display sexually explicit or sexually suggestive materials
•use of the Internet to send unsolicited commercial material or spam
•engaging in harassing behavior such as sending or posting slanderous, sexual, threatening or patently offensive messages
•activities that could interfere with or disrupt computer users, services, or equipment
2. Copyright restrictions and licensing agreements may not be violated. All communications and information accessible via the Internet should be assumed to be private property.
3. Because the library is a public place, staff members have the authority to end an Internet session when the Internet Safety and Computer Use Policy is violated. Internet access rights may be suspended or revoked by the staff at any time, without prior notice, for violation of the conditions of use set forth in this document. Oxford Public Library will be the sole arbiter of what is considered a violation of policy.
4. Individuals using their own equipment: Individuals using their own equipment remain subject to the terms of this policy.
5. Use of the Internet by patrons may be monitored.
6. The Library reserves the right to limit the amount of time users may spend online on Library devices only.
7. In consideration for the privilege of using Oxford Public Library’s internet access, users hereby release and hold harmless Oxford Public Library from any and all claims of any nature arising from their use, or inability to use, the Internet.
8. Oxford Public Library wireless Internet is intended for use on library property. Piggybacking on library Wi-Fi is prohibited.
*Technology Protection Measure
The term “technology protection measure” means a specific technology that blocks or filters Internet access to visual depictions that are: 1. OBSCENE, as that term is defined in section 1460 of title 18, United States Code; 2. CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, as that term is defined in section 2256 of title 18, United States Code; or 3. Harmful to minors. HARMFUL TO MINORS. The term “harmful to minors” means any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that: 1. Taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; 2. 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 3. Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors. SEXUAL ACT; SEXUAL CONTACT. The terms “sexual act” and “sexual contact” have the meanings given such terms in section 2246 of title 18, United States Code. MINOR. The term “minor” means a person under the age of eighteen years (Connecticut General Statute’s sec. 1-1d)
Adopted by the Library Board of Directors October 20, 2021