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Internet and Computer Use Policy

Nantahala Regional Library

Revised August 18, 2011

Addendum D - User Contract

Addendum E - Computer Usage Guidelines

Addendum F - Rules for Online Safety

Addendum G - Guidelines for Staff Use of Library Computer Resources

Mission Statement

The mission of the Nantahala Regional Library is to provide all residents of Cherokee, Clay and Graham Counties with a comprehensive collection of materials and resources to aid in the pursuit of information, research, education, recreation and the development of creative capacities for their leisure time.

This document constitutes the policy of the Nantahala Regional Library for the management of the Library's computer networks and the resources they make available.

The Nantahala Regional Library is composed of Andrews Public Library (Andrews), Graham County Public Library (Robbinsville), Moss Memorial Library (Hayesville), and the Murphy Public Library (Murphy).

In this document, the term "computers" refers to stand-alone computers, networked computers connected to the Internet, and other computer resources available within the Nantahala Regional Library.

This policy is based on the Nantahala Regional Library Mission Statement, the Library Bill of Rights (Addendum A), "My Rules for Online Safety" by Lawrence J. Magid in the brochure Child Safety on the Information Highway (Addendum B), and Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (Addendum C).

General Policies

Computer use has become an integral part of many library activities and services. While much computing is now done on individual computer resources, most information and communications systems either reside on central computers or use networks. As such, the library provides a variety of computer equipment and software including the Internet, so that the public may access information on a global scale.

Assistance

The Nantahala Regional Library is unable to provide instruction in the use of computer resources and software. Patrons are expected to have a basic working knowledge of computers before signing up to use one. Therefore, it is the user's obligation to become familiar with computer resources through manuals or tutorials. While library staff are available for general assistance in accessing computer resources, they are not available to provide specific instruction during a computer session.

Eligibility

Use of the library's equipment and software will be provided readily and equitably to users, regardless of race, sex, age or socioeconomic status

Patrons of the library may use the library's computers, provided that they have a library card in good standing (no overdues or fines).

A "User Contract" (Addendum D) must be read and signed and the patron must receive the "Computer Usage Guidelines" sheet (Addendum E) before being able to utilize the public use computers. Children (under the age of 18) may use the public use computers if their parents or legal guardian has completed, signed, and initialed the "User Contract" in their children's names in the presence of a library staff member. These forms will be kept on file (either electronically or as hard copies), so patrons need only read and sign the forms once.

Use of Computer Resources

Users must sign up (in person or over the phone) to use a computer. Computers will be checked out to the patron using their Nantahala Regional Library card. Usage is on a first come, first served basis. Library staff reserve the right to limit usage if there are other patrons waiting.

Availability

Computer resources will be available until fifteen minutes before closing. Patrons must be prepared to stop working even if they are not finished. All computer resources and equipment will be shut down at this time.

External Networks

Patrons who use the Internet to access networks or facilities not owned by the library must adhere to the policies and procedures established by the administrators of those networks and facilities. These policies can usually be obtained from the network information center of the network in question. Patrons using the Internet access computers must follow the guidelines of all the networks visited.

E-mail is not available through the Nantahala Regional Library.

Confidentiality

The Nantahala Regional Library upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected materials. The library will treat information obtained from computers as confidential. Requests for disclosure of information will be honored only under one of the following conditions.

    • when approved by the Nantahala Regional Library Director;
    • when authorized by the owners of the information;
    • when required by local, state, or federal law.
Viewing of information in the course of normal system maintenance does not constitute disclosure.

Patrons should be aware that they may not save their work to the hard drive of the public use computers. This confidentiality clause does not cover information stored on the hard drives of the public use computers. Any information or document stored here is subject to perusal or removal by staff or other patrons, since it is not protected by the computer operating system. Patrons wishing to save their work are welcome to save it onto storage devices. The library does not sell or provide these devices to the public.

The Nantahala Regional Library assumes no liability for any loss or damage to the patron's data or for any damage or injury arising from invasion of privacy in the patron's computer accounts, programs, or files.

Please note: Users should be advised as computer security is technically difficult to achieve, electronic transactions and files are extremely vulnerable to unauthorized access and modification.

Legal Use

Nantahala Regional Library's computer resources may only be used for legal purposes by the public and staff. Examples of unacceptable purposes include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Using any computer as a staging ground to "crack" or "hack" library or other systems;
    • Harassment of other users;
    • Libeling or slandering other users;
    • Destruction of, or damage to equipment, software, or data;
    • Disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communication;
    • Unauthorized copying of copyright-protected materials;
    • Using any computer for illegal or criminal purposes.

Ethical Use

Nantahala Regional Library's computer resources should be used in accordance with the ethical standards of the library. Examples of unacceptable use (some of which may also have legal consequences) include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Access to inappropriate matter, such as matter that is pornographic, threatening or otherwise in violation of community standards.
    •  
    • Violation of computer system security;
    • Unauthorized use of computer accounts, access codes, or network identification numbers assigned to others;
    • Use of computer communications facilities in ways that unnecessarily impede the computing activities of others. For example, randomly initiating interactive electronic communications or e-mail exchanges, overuse of interactive network utilities, and so forth.
    • Violation of software license agreements;
    • Violation of network usage policies and regulations;
    • Violation of network usage policies and regulations;
    • Violation of another patron's privacy.

Responsibilities of Patrons

The patron is responsible for current and sufficient uses of the tools available for maintaining the security of information stored on each computer system. The following precautions are strongly recommended.

    • Computer accounts, passwords and other types of authorization that are assigned to individual patrons should not be shared with others.
    • Patrons should assign an obscure account password and change it frequently.
    • Patrons should understand the level of protection each computer system automatically applies to files and supplement it, if necessary, for sensitive information.
    • Patrons using public use computers should be aware of computer viruses and other destructive computer programs, and take steps to avoid being a victim or unwitting distributor of these processes.
    • Patrons may not save their work to the hard drive of the public use computers; they are welcome to save it onto their own storage devices. The Nantahala Regional Library system does not sell or provide these devices.
    • Patrons may use the printer to print their work. Nantahala Regional Library will not allow the printer to be used with any other paper than that with which it is supplied.

Cooperative Use

Patrons can facilitate computing at the Library in many ways. The Library endorses the practice of cooperative computing. It includes:

    • Regular deletion of unneeded files from one's accounts on shared computing resources;
    • Refraining from overuse of connect time, information storage space, printing facilities or processing capacity;
    • Refraining from overuse of interactive network utilities;
    • Refraining from use of sounds and visuals which might be disruptive to others;
    • Refraining from use of any computing resources in an irresponsible manner;
    • Refraining from hovering near the computing resources while waiting their turns, doing so may distract the person using it;
    • Relinquishing their turns at a computing resource if asked to do so by a library staff member.
    •  

Sanction

All patrons are expected to abide by the rules of the Nantahala Regional Library and to cooperate with the Internet Access and Computer Use Policy. Those not doing so may be asked to relinquish their turns at a computing resource or be asked to leave the library. Violators of this policy may lose their library privileges. Illegal acts involving library computing resources may also be subject to prosecution by local, state or federal authorities.

Disclaimer

Since the Internet is a global electronic network, there is no state or county control of its users or content. The Internet and its available resources may contain materials of a controversial nature.

In accordance with current state and federal laws, all library computers that connect to the Internet use a technology protection measure to filter and block access to images that are obscene, pornographic, or harmful to minors (age 16 and under). Filters are not 100% effective and may not filter images that should be blocked, and conversely, may block images that should not be blocked. The library will filter access to materials.

Parents of minor children must assume responsibility for their children's use of the Internet through the library's connection. Nantahala Regional Library will assume no responsibility for anything patrons or their children may access on the Internet. Parents and children are encouraged to read "Rules for Online Safety" (See Addendum F). Another important set of helpful suggestions for a child's safety on the Internet is the brochure, Child Safety on the Information Highway, printed and distributed jointly by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Interactive Services Association (ISA). Kids Online: Protecting Your Children in Cyberspace by Donna Rice Hughes and Pamela T. Campbell is another helpful guide available through the Nantahala Regional Library System.

Nantahala Regional Library cannot control the availability of information links which 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 Nantahala Regional Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of its server or from its connections to other Internet services. The library is not responsible for any viruses present on the hard drives of its public use computers, nor is it responsible for any damage, direct or indirect, caused by such viruses.

Limitations of Liability

All patrons who wish to use the library's public use computer equipment are required to read the "Computer Usage Guidelines" brochure and sign and date the "User Contract".

Addendum D

User Contract

All patrons are expected to cooperate with the "Computer Usage Guidelines" and the Internet Access and Computer Use Policy of the Nantahala Regional Library.

Children eighteen and under must have parental permission to use the library's computer resources including the Internet access computers. By signing below, a parent is acknowledging that his/her child has his/her permission to use the library's computers anytime the child is in the library and that the parent will take full responsibility for any damage caused to the computers by his/her child. Parents should be aware that while there is a great deal of educational material on the Internet, there is also much that may be considered objectionable or questionable material. It is the parents' responsibility to safeguard their children from such material. They are urged to discuss rules and limitations with their children before giving their children permission to search the Internet. By signing below, patrons are acknowledging that the Nantahala Regional Library is not responsible for anything that they or their children may access on the Internet. The Provision of access by the Library does not imply sponsorship or endorsement.

The undersigned acknowledges that he or she has read and understands the Nantahala Regional Library's Computer Usage Guidelines and the Internet Access and Computer Use Policy of the Nantahala Regional Library. He or she agrees to abide by these guidelines, each and every time he or she uses the computer resources available in the library. The undersigned further acknowledges and agrees that the Nantahala Regional Library assumes no liability for any loss or damage to the patron's data or for any damage or injury arising from invasion of privacy in the patron's computer accounts, programs, or files.

Patron's name (please print)  ________________________________________________

Library card number _____________________ Date _______________________

  Signature ____________________________________________________________

Required information for patrons eighteen and under:

Parent's name (please print) ________________________________________________

Parent's address __________________________________________

Library card number  _____________________ Date _____________________

  Signature ____________________________________________________________

  ***This form must be signed in the presence of library staff prior to the first computer session!

Addendum E

Computer Usage Guidelines

The following is a summary of the Nantahala Regional Library's Internet Access and Computer Use Policy. A complete copy of the policy is available at the circulation desk for any patron who wishes to read it. This policy can also be accessed on the Nantahala Regional Library Web site.

Time Limits

Users must sign up (in person or on the phone) to use a computer. You may be asked to relinquish your time on the computer if there are others waiting.

Please let the library know if you are unable to keep your appointment. You may lose your appointment if you are ten minutes or more late.

Availability

Computer resources will be available until fifteen minutes before closing. Patrons must be prepared to finish working on the computers fifteen minutes before closing. All computer resources and equipment will be shut down at this time.

Assistance

It is the user's obligation to become familiar with computer resources through manuals and tutorials. Library staff is not available to provide instruction during a computer session.

Computer Use

    • No personal software may be installed on the library computers.
    • Patrons may not save their work to the hard drive of the public use computers. They are welcome to save it onto their own storage devices. The library does not sell or provide these devices.
    • Patrons may use the printer connected to the computer they are using to print their work. The library will not allow the printer to be used with any other paper than that which the library supplies.
    • The user is responsible for any damage of hardware or software due to abuse.
    • Patrons under the age of eighteen must have parental permission to use the library's public access computers.
    • Unless an adult is assisting a child, only one person at a time may use a computing resource.
    • Unauthorized use of the computer may result in revocation of computer use privileges and/or library use privileges. Unacceptable use that is illegal may result in criminal prosecution as well.
    • The use of "chat" or other interactive message boards or games, except for Facebook, is not permitted on the library's public use computers.
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Addendum F

Rules for Online Safety

 
    • Do not give out personal information, such as address, telephone number and in particular, credit card numbers. Children should be careful not to give out information about their parents or about the name and location of their school. They should get their parent's permission before doing so.
    • Children should inform their parents immediately if they come across anything that makes them uncomfortable.
    • If you decide to meet with someone that you have "met" online, make sure that it is in a public place and that someone else is with you. Children should not agree to meet with anyone without first discussing it with their parents.
    • Children should not send photographs or other personal items to anyone they have "met" online without checking with their parents.
    • Do not respond to messages that are mean-spirited or make you feel uncomfortable. Children should inform their parents right away if they receive messages like this. Parents should then inform the online service.
    • It is the responsibility of the parents to discuss with the child rules for going online and what areas they think appropriate for their child to access. They should, also, decide upon what time of day the child can go online and how long they can be online.

Adapted from "My Rules for Online Safety" by Lawrence J. Magid, in the brochure Child Safety on the Information Highway, jointly published and distributed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Interactive Services Association (ISA).

   

Addendum G

Guidelines for Staff Use of Library Computer Resources

  1. Staff must refrain from unauthorized use of library computer resources.
  2. Staff will not use library computer resources for private business purposes unrelated to the mission of the Nantahala Regional Library.
  3. Personal use of library computer resources, if allowed in a branch, must be approved by the appropriate branch librarian with the following minimum guidelines in effect:

    1. Personal use will be on an employee's personal time.
    2. It will not interfere with any work-related activity.
    3. The person will supply his/her own expendable materials.
    4. Hard disk space should be reserved for the branch library's administrative tasks rather than for personal use.
    5. The library encourages staff to use e-mail for job-related communication and professional development. Use of e-mail for personal interest is not permitted on work time.
    6. The use of computer games for personal interest is also not permitted on work time.


    ***Any staff member that does not abide by these rules will be dealt with in a serious and appropriate manner.

    ***Revised and approved by the Nantahala Regional Library Board of Trustees at their August 18, 2011 meeting.