Internet Policy

Acceptable Use of the Internet, library Public Computers, and library ipads

The library’s public computers allow users to search a variety of electronic resources. Library iPads are exclusively for searching the library’s holdings in the catalog. Public Access Internet computers provide information beyond the confines of the library’s collection. Internet computers offer a full range of the most popular Internet browser plug-ins for searching the Internet, displaying files, and viewing multimedia content. Internet computers also provide access to word processing. No station provides support for all file types, browser plug-ins, or Internet technologies.

All public library computers must be used in accordance with this policy and the Schertz Public Library Patron Conduct policy.  This policy applies to any and all forms of use of the Internet.  It does not supersede or limit any city, state or federal laws, nor any other library policies regarding confidentiality, information dissemination, or standards of conduct. Copies of this and other policies are available from a library service desk.

Overview

Schertz Public Library is committed to providing access to informational, recreational, cultural, and educational resources in a variety of formats for all members of the community it serves.  The library’s computer system provides the opportunity to integrate electronic resources from information networks around the world with the library’s other resources.  The library also strives to balance the rights of users to access information resources with the rights of users to work in a public environment free from sounds and images intended to harass other library users or library staff.

The library’s goal in providing Internet access is to enhance its existing collection in size and depth and, as a public access agency, to give anyone who wishes to use the Internet the chance to do so.

Internet Filtering

The Internet offers access to a wealth of material that is personally, professionally and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages. However, it also enables access to some material that may be offensive, disturbing, illegal, inaccurate or incomplete. The library has no control over the information that is available through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content.  Users are encouraged to evaluate the validity and appropriateness of information accessed via the Internet.

Tests by independent agencies have shown that filtering software may help to block access to objectionable Internet sites. However, the software cannot block out all objectionable sites, and it does sometimes block useful material, including sites that are suitable for children, teens and adults.

The library’s Internet computers are equipped with commercial filtering software.  All Internet computers are filtered to some degree.  All Internet computers are filtered to block sites that interfere with the overall efficiency and productivity of the library’s network and to block sites designated by the filtering software as pornography.  The filtering software settings on the computers in the children’s library are more restrictive than the settings on the computers in the adult or teen areas of the library.  For the purposes of this policy, the computers in the children’s library are considered FILTERED, while the computers in the adult and teen areas of the library are considered UNFILTERED.

Children’s Computers and Computer Usage

The children’s library of the Schertz Public Library is designed to be welcoming for children. This area includes a limited number of computers which offer resources especially for children. To best serve children, all computers in the children’s area are for the use of children age 12 years and younger and for adult caregivers accompanying or assisting children.  Children’s Internet computers open to a special children’s browser and allow only filtered use of the Internet.  Parents or legal guardians may choose filtered Internet access (available in the Children’s room), unfiltered Internet access (available in the adult area of the library), or no Internet access for their children aged 12 years and younger.  Please be advised that in accordance with the library’s Unattended Child Policy, parents must sit with children aged 7 and under while the child is using a computer.  Children aged 8-12 years can use the computers without a parent present at the terminal, but the parent must be in the building.

The teen area of the library is designed for the use of our customers aged 13-17 years.  This area has a limited number of computers and we ask that, as much as possible, this area be reserved for this age group.  The computers in this area have the same filter settings as the computers in the adult area of the library.  Children between 13 and 17 years of age may use the computers unsupervised with parent’s or legal guardian’s permission.

It is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian to decide which library resources are appropriate for their children. Parents should supervise their children’s Internet sessions and let them know what resources they do not want them to use.  As with all library materials, the library cannot act in loco parentis and staff members will not monitor a child’s internet use except as how it pertains to this policy or to our behavior policies.  Connectsafely.org is a useful web site with several links to organizations offering safety tips and advice for parents of children and teens.

Time and other limits

To access the Internet a customer must use his or her own library card number. A visitor who does not have a library card may receive a temporary Internet guest pass by presenting current, valid photo identification at the help desks or circulation desk. If your photo ID does not include a birth date you must provide your birth date for the guest pass registration. Visitors under the age of 18 who do not have a library card can receive a temporary Internet guest pass only if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to give permission.  A library cardholder may not receive a guest pass, and no visitor may receive more than one guest pass per day.

Each computer session is two hours and can be extended by an additional hour depending on whether other individuals are waiting to use the computers.  Each individual is limited to a maximum of three sessions per day and a maximum of six hours per day of Internet access.  Staff may free up special-purpose stations, such as those provided for children and people with disabilities, and take other measures that will manage Internet use and achieve the goals of this policy. Approximately, 15 minutes before closing all existing computer sessions will end. No new sessions will be issued and anything not sent to the printer prior to the last 15 minutes will not print.

The library’s computers are set up for use by a single individual. A maximum of two persons may sit/work together at any one computer, except in special cases, such as computer classes or when a parent/guardian is with children.

Library staff is available to assist users with using the public computers, but staff members cannot provide in-depth training.  The staff may be able to offer searching suggestions or basic information on using the Internet.

Privacy

Patrons have no right to privacy with regard to Internet use.  The Library has the ability and right to view patron’s usage patterns and take action to assure that library Internet resources are devoted to maintaining the highest levels of productivity.  The library’s computers are in a public area. Others may be involuntarily exposed to what you are viewing. The library asks that you remain sensitive to the fact that you are working in a public environment shared by people of all ages.

The Internet path record is the property of the Library and therefore, the taxpayers.  Such information is subject to the Texas Public Information Act and the laws applicable to state records retention.

Precautions

All use of the Internet via library equipment must be in compliance with all applicable laws and policies (federal, state, and local laws, in addition to library policies).  Internet access via library equipment, therefore, must not be used for illegal, improper, or illicit purposes.  Illegal activities or activities that interfere with or disrupt the network, users, services or equipment are prohibited.  The library does not routinely monitor public computers, but reserves the right to do so when a violation of this policy or illegal activity is suspected. Staff is authorized to take immediate action to protect the security of computers and the network and to enforce the following rules. This includes confiscating any removable media, requiring a user to leave a computer or the premises, and contacting law enforcement authorities.

U.S. copyright law prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials, except as permitted by the principles of “fair use.”  Users may not distribute electronic materials (including images, text, programs, and data) without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.  Reasonable use includes making only authorized copies of copyrighted or licensed software or data.  All responsibility for the consequences of copyright infringement rests with the user.  The library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use. You are responsible for complying with copyright law, licensing agreements and the policies of individual websites that you view.

Software and other files downloaded from the Internet may contain viruses or spyware that may infect other computers.

Rules governing use of library computers

Failure to comply with the following rules may result in loss of computer privileges, loss of library privileges and prosecution.

At each log-in, library computer users must complete a click-through agreement acknowledging these rules and must agree to follow the rules.

  • Log onto a computer using your own library card or guest pass number.  Do not use a computer that is already open and logged in with another person’s information.
  • Promptly give up the computer when your time has elapsed.
  • Promptly give up the computer when requested by staff.
  • You may download files using supported media. The library is not responsible for damage to your media or for corruption of your data, including damage caused by mechanical malfunction or corruption caused by virus or spyware infection while using library computers. Do not attempt to run or execute programs or applications from personal storage media.
  • There is a charge for printing from public computers. The total charge for the print job is shown at the time of the print request.  Current per page printing charges are posted at the print release station. You must pay before printing. You are responsible for all pages printed regardless of what is on the page.  For this reason, we suggest you use the “Print Preview” function to see what your print job will look like prior to releasing it.
  • Respect other’s privacy by not attempting to observe or comment on what others are viewing. Remain sensitive to the fact that you are working in a public environment shared by people of all ages.
  • Do not view any site that creates a hostile environment for other library users and staff.  If a staff member asks you to stop viewing a particular site, promptly close the site and do not view similar sites when in the library.
  • Use headphones when listening to audio content, and keep volume low so you do not disturb others.
  • Log off completely when you are finished with your session.  Do this by clicking on the “Done” button of the computer’s reservation software.  Completely ending your session protects your personal information.
  • Do not gather around computers when doing so may obstruct others or create noise that distracts others.
  • Do not misuse computer equipment or software.
  • The Internet should not be used for any commercial monetary gain.

Misuse includes but is not limited to:

  • Viewing material that violates federal, state or local laws or regulations, including those regarding accessing, viewing, printing and distributing obscenity or child pornography
  • Hacking into or purposefully introducing a virus into the library computer system or any other computer system
  • Mishandling, damaging or attempting to damage computer equipment or software; tampering with computer settings
  • Interfering with system operations, integrity or security
  • Attempting to gain or gaining access to another person’s files or authorization code
  • Displaying or printing materials that violate the City of Schertz sexual harassment policy
  • Engaging in any activity that is deliberately offensive or creates an intimidating or hostile environment
  • Violating copyright laws and software licensing agreements or the policies of the individual websites that you view
  • Failing to pay for printing
  • Refusing or ignoring a staff person’s request to give up a computer
  • Failing to sign up for an Internet computer; failing to log in using your own library card number or guest card number
  • Failing to comply with time limits
  • Any other violation of the Acceptable Use of the Internet and Library Public Computers statement

Wireless Internet Access

The Schertz Public Library provides free Internet access to users with portable computers or devices capable of receiving wireless signals, during normal library business hours.  All guidelines and rules governing the use of the library’s public computers apply to the use of the library’s wireless networks.  The wireless access provided in the library is filtered in the same manner as detailed above.

The library is not responsible for any changes users make to their personal computer’s settings in order to access the wireless network and cannot guarantee that a user’s hardware will work with the wireless network.

If a user has problems accessing the Internet over the wireless network, staff cannot assist in making changes to the user’s network settings or perform any troubleshooting on the user’s computer. Users should refer to their owners’ manuals or other support services offered by their device manufacturer.

As with most public wireless points, the library’s wireless connection is not secure. There can be non-trustworthy third parties between the user and anybody with whom the user communicates. Another wireless user could potentially intercept any information being sent or received. Cautious and informed wireless users should not transmit their credit card information, passwords and any other sensitive personal information while using any wireless “hot spot.”

The library will not be responsible for any personal information (e.g. credit card) that is compromised, or for any damage caused to the user’s hardware or software due to electric surges, security issues or consequences caused by viruses or hacking. All wireless access users should have up-to-date virus/spyware protection on their personal laptop computers or wireless devices.

The library provides access only to Web-based email. For Microsoft Outlook or other email services, the user must connect with his or her own Internet provider.

Printers are available via the wireless connection and users can utilize wireless printing from laptops, tablets and smartphones. Learn more about the different wireless printing options. All documents printed from the public printers are subject to charge.


Revised July 2017