Library Internet Public Use Policy

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for public access to the Internet through the Smyth County Public Library (SCPL) system.  

Principles

Access to the internet is essential for education, communication, research, employment as well as entertainment.  Facilitating public access to the Internet is consistent with the mission of the Smyth County Public Library system to meet the information needs of the residents of Smyth County.

While the Internet can provide valuable information, patrons are cautioned that some information may not be accurate, complete, or current, and that some websites may not protect patron privacy. SCPL is not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of material found on the Internet. Furthermore, the Smyth County Public Library is not responsible for the security of any website explored or otherwise utilized by the patron. The Smyth County Public Library is not responsible for the use of any patron’s private information which the patron chooses to share with third parties while using the internet.

Availability

Public computers are available at all SCPL libraries on a first-come, first-served basis.  SCPL reserves the right to limit computer time to ensure fair and equitable access to library workstations.  SCPL also provides WiFi access to the Internet at all branches that is available to patrons inside and outside the library buildings.  

In compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), SCPL provides Internet workstations equipped with filtering/blocking technology intended to prevent juvenile access to inappropriate or harmful materials and to ensure juvenile security while using electronic communication, and to protect against personal identity theft or any other unlawful activities. However, filtering/blocking technology is not a completely reliable means of protection from materials that may be offensive, controversial or illegal. 

The Library provides staff support when possible for computer and Internet access. Library staff support may be limited regarding personal devices. 

Patron Responsibilities

Computers are situated in public areas, and individuals are expected to use the computers in a manner that respects the library environment.  It is inappropriate to view or print sexually graphic and/or explicit materials at public workstations.

Users are prohibited from any activity that violates local, state, or federal laws, including copyright laws. The Code of Virginia prohibits the use of library computers to: access child pornography (Va. Code section 18.2-374.1:1); communicate threats (Va. Code section 18.2-60); inappropriately display material harmful to juveniles (Va. Code section 18.2-391); produce, publish, sell or possess obscene items (Va. Code section 18.2-374, 18.2-374.1); or to facilitate certain offenses involving children (Va. Code section 18.2-374.3). Violations of law will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

The Library reserves the right to limit or revoke computer privileges and access to computer and network resources. Misuse or unauthorized use of SCPL computers and information resources may result in suspension or revocation of library privileges. 

Parent and Guardian Responsibility

Parents and guardians are responsible for monitoring Internet access for their children who are minors.  Any additional restrictions placed on a child’s access to the Internet on the library’s network are the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian.  

Process

This policy was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Smyth County Public Library at their monthly meeting on May 20, 2021 and shall be reviewed at least every four years or earlier as circumstances may require.  

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