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Public Computer Use and Internet Access Policy

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In accordance with the American Library Association, Chatham County Public Libraries (CCPL) support equity of access. This means that library patrons will have access to the information they need, regardless of age, education, ethnicity, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers. Patrons will be able to obtain information in a variety of formats; electronic, as well as print. Patrons are free to exercise their right to know without fear of censorship or reprisal.

I. WHO MAY USE PUBLIC ACCESS COMPUTERS

Patrons who are at least 16 years old are eligible to use public access computers. (See Children and the Internet, IV.) 

II. GUEST PASSES

Chatham County Public Libraries (CCPL) believe that the freedom to access information is a fundamental right that promotes literacy, lifelong learning, and enriches our communities. As such, CCPL provides fair and equitable access to the Libraries' computer resources.

Computer access and WiFi is offered to all visitors and to CCPL card holders at no cost. Card holders in good standing may access computers using their library card.

Guest passes for computers are also available to the following:

  1. Patrons who forget to bring their library card with them.
  2. Patrons whose accounts are not in good standing.
  3. Patrons who are ineligible to obtain a free CCPL library card.
  4. Visitors and tourists.

Guest passes are issued once per day and are time-limited for up to 3 hours usage at the Chatham Community Library (Pittsboro), and for up to 1 hour of usage at both the Wren Memorial (Siler City) and Goldston branches. Guest passes can be obtained at the circulation desks.

Use of public computers is subject to all terms, conditions, rules, and regulations as outlined in the Sections below as well as all other computer use policies of the Chatham County Public Libraries.

III. INTERNET USE 

All computer users, whether library card holders or guests, must abide by the Chatham County Public Libraries Internet Access Policy, which is displayed when patrons log onto public access computers. Patrons are advised that:

1. Information found on the Internet may not be accurate, authoritative, or factual. CCPL does not monitor and has no control over materials on the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content. The library cannot control access to materials or protect patrons from materials they may find offensive.   

2. Every effort will be made to provide its electronic resources during all scheduled hours of operation; however, CCPL cannot guarantee that service will run uninterrupted or trouble-free. The CCPL network does not support chat rooms or services such as AOL Instant Messenger. Free e-mail services, such as Hotmail or Yahoo, may not always be accessible due to technical problems beyond the control of CCPL.

3. Library staff has varying levels of computer and Internet experience. CCPL cannot guarantee computer or Internet assistance during all hours of library operation. Patrons who do not have experience with computers or who have never used the Internet are advised to contact library staff for availability of orientation sessions. CCPL reserves the right to require any or all prospective computer users to attend an orientation session as a condition to access to library equipment.

4. Internet users are expected to exercise appropriate discretion in viewing materials that may be offensive to others, especially children. Users may not allow minors to view, peruse, or review any material that is harmful to minors. Intentionally displaying or receiving inappropriate materials in either text or graphic format that may be reasonably construed as obscene, pornographic, or harmful to minors is prohibited. (NCGS 14-190.13)

5. Library patrons who damage computer equipment or who engage in disruptive or illegal behavior while using library computers will be subject to loss of library Internet access privileges or of library privileges as a whole. Prohibited activities include the following:

  • Intentionally displaying, receiving, or printing inappropriate materials in either text or graphic format that may be reasonably construed as obscene, child pornographic, or harmful to minors (NCGS 14-190.13)
  • Harassing others
  • Attempting to access unauthorized files or systems (“hacking”)
  • Falsely identifying oneself in online communication such as chat rooms, e-mails, etc.
  • Disclosing personal information of minors
  • Misrepresenting oneself to gain access to the library’s computers
  • Using sound or visuals that might be disruptive to others
  • Propagating computer viruses
  • Sharing of a computer by more than 2 authorized users
  • Sharing of a computer with unauthorized individuals
  • Infringing copyright or copying licensed materials
  • Failing to pay for computer printouts
  • Overstaying one’s scheduled time allotment without permission
  • Saving or changing files on the library’s hardware or attempting to access programs not related to the computer’s intended use

6. Library patrons should be aware that downloading files from the Internet is a possible source of computer viruses. CCPL will not assume responsibility for damage to non-library computer equipment caused by viruses unwittingly copied to patrons’ disks or flash drives.

7. CCPL is not responsible for any personal information that patrons divulge while using the Internet, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, or financial information. In order to protect their privacy, patrons are advised to log out of e-mail accounts, bank accounts, or Web sites which might divulge personal information to others. Patrons are further advised not to leave any personal documents on computer desktops.

8. CCPL staff reserves the right to limit or deny access to Internet workstations for noncompliance with any aspect of the CCPL Internet Access Policy.

IV. CHILDREN AND THE INTERNET

Computers in Chatham County Libraries are not filtered. Therefore, children younger than 16 who wish to use the Internet must have permission from a parent or a legal guardian to do so. When issuing library cards to children between the ages of 12 and 16, library staff will ask the parent or guardian if their child may have internet access privileges. If the parent agrees, staff will give the child an Internet youth designation, which will allow the child access to the Internet.

Library accounts for youth and adults above the age of 16 are automatically set up to log on to public access computers.

Children younger than 13 cannot be given an Internet youth designation. They must be accompanied by a parent in order to use the Internet. They may use a parent’s card; however, the parent must remain with the child. At the discretion of library staff, and if there are a sufficient number of open computers, a guest pass may be issued to the child or parent if he or she wishes to access the Internet at the same time.

It is the responsibility of parents or legal guardians, not CCPL, to determine what material is appropriate for the children in their care. CCPL recommends that children notify their parents of any online communication or Internet site that makes them feel uncomfortable.  CCPL also takes measures designed to assist minors in the safe and effective use of these resources by providing access to StartSquad.org, a Web portal developed by North Carolina librarians. StartSquad provides more than 200 links to age-appropriate Internet sites. Pending availability of funds, CCPL will make available in each location at least one workstation that uses software to assist with restricting access to sites that may be considered harmful to minors, with a clear acknowledgment that use of such software does not guarantee protection. 

Revised  3-2018