Acceptable Use of the Internet and Library Public Use Computers

Acceptable Use of the Internet and Library Public Use Computers

Purpose

To fulfill its mission of providing easy access to books and information for all ages, the Austin Public Library provides public access to the internet and to its public use computers. This policy and associated procedures and guidelines sets forth the acceptable use of Library technology resources and systems.

General Policy

  1. The Library provides access to internet resources equally to all library patrons and upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected material in accordance with the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights .
  2. Library computers and network systems may not be used for any purpose that violates federal, state, or local laws and Library policies.

    Under Federal and Texas law, it is a crime to distribute or exhibit material that is "harmful" to minors, or to be reckless about "whether a minor is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display" of harmful material. Customers are prohibited from using the Library's internet and computer network systems for illegal activity, to access illegal or obscene materials or to display material that violates the provisions of Sections 43.24 and 43.25 of the Texas Penal Code: Sale, Distribution or Display of Harmful Material to Minors. The Library's policies and computer network systems comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) .

  3. Prohibited use includes, but is not limited to:
    • "hacking" or otherwise attempting unauthorized use of the Library, City or other networks;
    • attempting to interfere with or disrupt other users;
    • attempting to evade security measures;
    • invading the privacy of other users;
    • attracting the attention of others to sexually explicit images depicted on the screen or in copies made on Library printers;
    • violation of copyright laws;
    • registering multiple logon IDs, sharing a logon ID, or using another user's logon ID;
    • violating software license agreements;
    • sending harassing, threatening or libelous messages or material; or
    • accessing peer to peer (P2P), torrent, or other file sharing sites are not allowed.
  4. Not all information found on the internet is accurate, complete, up-to-date or otherwise acceptable to all individuals. The Library is not responsible for the content of the internet, changes in content of the sources to which the Library home pages link or for the content of sources accessed through secondary links.
  5. Customers using the Library's technology resources and systems, including its Wi-Fi, or Library public use computers must agree to comply with:
  6. Library Administration reserves the right to set limits or internet use session(s) a customer may have per day with Library-owned computer and network systems.
  7. Library Administration reserves the right to establish policies governing internet use and consequences for misuse consistent with applicable rules and laws.
  8. Failure to comply with Library rules and policies may result in the loss of computer access privileges, library privileges, and report to law enforcement authorities.

PROCEDURES

Security and Privacy

  • The Library will not release information on the use of specific Internet resources by members of the public except as required by law or as necessary for the proper operation of the Library.
  • The Library is not responsible for the privacy practices or security of any web sites accessed by customers. The Library and the City of Austin accept no liability for any loss of privacy or data customers may experience, or any damage or harm arising from such loss. Customers are responsible for having the proper hardware, software, and network settings on their personal devices to connect to the Library's Wi-Fi.
  • The Library is not responsible for any theft, damage or misuse of personal computer, mobile, or peripheral devices in the Library.
  • Customers are prohibited from making any attempt to gain unauthorized access to restricted files or networks, or to damage or modify library-owned computer equipment or software.
  • Customers create, store and use personal files at their own risk.

Filtering and Unfiltered Computers

Pornography, sexually explicit sites and phishing sites are filtered on most Library public use computers and all laptop and electronic devices available for check out. The Library makes available unfiltered internet computers with recessed monitors which customers age 18 and older may use for bona fide research or any other lawful purpose. Unfiltered computers are available at all branch locations, except the St. John Branch.

Requests to Block or Unblock Sites

Customers who encounter sites that they believe should be blocked or who are unable to access sites that they believe should not be blocked may request a review of the site in question by submitting a Request for Reconsideration form. Forms are available at all Library locations. Library staff will evaluate the site and decide whether to accept the customer's request. Customers providing contact information will be notified about the decision as soon as possible.

Incidents and Complaints

  1. A customer may not attract the attention of others to sexually explicit images depicted on the screen or in copies made on Library printers. In these situations, Library staff and Security will inform and fully warn customers to comply with Library policies and procedures.
    Example of a warning:

I noticed you were calling attention to what's on your screen. This is not allowed and it violates our Library rules and the policies you agreed to when you signed onto the computer. If you continue to violate our policies, your internet and Library privileges will be removed.

  1. Any person (staff or customer) who has observed a customer viewing child pornography on any Library public use computer, either filtered or unfiltered, or on any other electronic device used on library property, will immediately call Library Security on duty. If Library Security is not on duty, call 911 to report the incident to the Austin Police Department.

The following information will be requested for the incident report:

  • Full name of Library staff member.
  • Full address of Library location.
  • Customer identification as recorded on the Library's computer network system.

Attachments: Use Agreements

  • I understand and agree to comply with all of the following conditions:

    • I will not circumvent the filtering of the wireless library signal.
    • I will not obstruct other people's work by consuming large amounts of system resources or by deliberately crashing any Library computer system.
    • I understand that Library staff cannot provide technical assistance and will not perform troubleshooting on personal laptops, or other electronic devices.
    • I understand that there is no guarantee that I will be able to connect to the wireless system.
    • I understand that the Library is not responsible for the damage or loss of laptops or other hardware, personal information, electronic documents, storage devices, and/or files.
    • I understand that the City of Austin reserves the right to change its WiFi access policies and procedures at any time.
    • I will comply with all state and federal laws and the Austin Public Library policies and procedures.
    • I release the City of Austin and its employees and officers from any liability associated with my viewing of, use of, or exposure to any information, machine-readable file, picture, graphical representation, or illustration that I may encounter while using a laptop computer or other WiFi device, whether or not such information appears or is delivered through the station I operate.
    • I will not violate any state or federal statute including those regarding obscenity, pornography, or delivery to minors material deemed harmful to them.
    • I understand that Library computers and networks may not be used for any purpose that violates federal, state, or local laws. Prohibited use includes, but is not limited to, "hacking" or otherwise attempting unauthorized use of the Library, City or other networks; attempting to interfere with or disrupt other users; attempting to evade security measures; invading the privacy of other users; violating software license agreements; or sending harassing, threatening or libelous messages or material.
    • I will not harm or harass any City employee or members of the public.
    • I understand that my failure to comply with Library policies and procedures will result in Library penalties that range from being asked to leave for the day up to and including permanent denial of physical access to the library.
    • I understand that individual Library staff members are not authorized to modify or waive these policies.

  • I understand and agree to comply with all of the following conditions:

    • I may use the Library's public internet workstations up to 120 minutes per day.
    • I may have only one active logon ID registered in the user database.
    • I will not share my logon ID or use the logon ID of family, friends, or other users.
    • I will pay for all of the pages I print.
    • I understand and acknowledge that the internet contains information, both written and pictorial, which may be offensive or harmful to me or to others.
    • I will not obstruct other people's work by consuming large amounts of system resources or by deliberately crashing any Library computer system.
    • I must be 18 years of age or older and be able to provide my photo identification that includes my date of birth to the Library staff in order to use an unfiltered Austin Public Library public-use workstation.
    • I will not permit others to use or view an unfiltered public-use workstation during my session unless they have also provided Library staff with photo identification proving that they are 18 years of age or older.
    • I understand that I create, store, and use personal files at my own risk and that the Library is not responsible for the loss of personal electronic documents, storage devices, and/or files.
    • I understand that I cannot damage or alter computer equipment, software, or systems, and will be held responsible for any damage I may cause to the Library's computers including repair/replacement costs resulting from the use of damaged or virus-infected software.
    • I understand that the City of Austin reserves the right to change its public use workstation access policies and procedures.
    • I will comply with all state and federal laws and the Austin Public Library policies and procedures.
    • I release the City of Austin and the Library from all liabilities associated with my viewing of, use of, or exposure to any information, machine-readable file, picture, graphical representation, or illustration I may encounter while using any public-use workstation, whether or not such information appears or is or is delivered through the station I operate.
    • I will not violate any state or federal statute including those regarding obscenity, pornography, or delivery to minors material deemed harmful to them.
    • I understand that Library computers and networks may not be used for any purpose that violates federal, state, or local laws. Prohibited use includes, but is not limited to, "hacking" or otherwise attempting unauthorized use of the Library, City or other networks; attempting to interfere with or disrupt other users; attempting to evade security measures; invading the privacy of other users; violating software license agreements; or sending harassing, threatening or libelous messages or material.
    • I will not harm or harass any City employee or members of the public.
    • I understand and accept that my failure to comply with Library policies and procedures will result in Library penalties that range from being asked to leave for the day up to and including permanent denial of physical access to the library.
    • I understand that individual Library staff members are not authorized to modify these policies.

  • Use Policy

    Financial Responsibility

    1 hour = $5
    2 hours = $15
    3 hours = $25
    4 hours = $45
    5 hours = $65
    Total maximum fine = $65

    Data Security and Privacy

    • Customers must have an Austin Public Library Card in good standing to check out a Laptop or electronic device.
    • Use of the laptop or electronic device is restricted to the cardholder who checked out the device. No other person is allowed use the laptop or electronic device.
    • The cardholder checking out the laptop or electronic device is financially responsible for any damage or loss of the laptop or electronic device. The device must be returned in the same condition in which it was checked out.
    • All Library devices must be used inside the Library building.
    • A laptop or electronic device is checked out for 2 hours.
    • A laptop and electronic device not returned by the time the Library closes is regarded as lost.
    • Damaged, Lost, or Stolen Devices. The cardholder who checked out the laptop or electronic device will be charged the cost of the device plus a $150 recovery fee for damaged, lost, or stolen devices.
    • Overdue (Late) Fees. Customers returning laptops and electronic devices after the 2 hour checkout period (and before the Library closes) will be charged late fees at the following rate:
    • The Library is not responsible for any content left on laptops or electronic devices. The device must be fully powered off when returned. All work is deleted from the laptop and electronic devices when it is rebooted. Work may be saved to a personal storage device or cloud storage.
    • It is not possible to print to any of the Library's printers from the laptops or electronic devices.
    • All laptops and electronic devices filter out pornography, sexually explicit sites, and phishing sites. Any attempt to circumvent the filtering or violate Library computer or internet use policies will result in the loss of certain Library privileges and reporting to appropriate authorities.
    • I understand and acknowledge that the internet contains information, both written and pictorial, which may be offensive or harmful to me or to others.
    • I will not obstruct other people's work by consuming large amounts of system resources or by deliberately crashing any Library computer system.
    • I understand that the City of Austin reserves the right to change its public use workstation access policies and procedures.
    • I will comply with all state and federal laws and the Austin Public Library policies and procedures.
    • I release the City of Austin and the Library from all liabilities associated with my viewing of, use of, or exposure to any information, machine-readable file, picture, graphical representation, or illustration I may encounter while using any public-use workstation, whether or not such information appears or is or is delivered through the station I operate.
    • I will not violate any state or federal statute including those regarding obscenity, pornography, or delivery to minors material deemed harmful to them.
    • I understand that Library computers and networks may not be used for any purpose that violates federal, state, or local laws. Prohibited use includes, but is not limited to, "hacking" or otherwise attempting unauthorized use of the Library, City or other networks; attempting to interfere with or disrupt other users; attempting to evade security measures; invading the privacy of other users; violating software license agreements; or sending harassing, threatening or libelous messages or material.
    • I will not harm or harass any City employee or members of the public.
    • I understand and accept that my failure to comply with Library policies and procedures will result in Library penalties that range from suspension of internet through permanent eviction from the Library.

    I have read and understood the Use Agreement and Policy for Laptop and Electronic Devices. I agree to abide by this policy, and I understand that I am financially responsible for the laptop or electronic device while it is checked out to me.