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Acceptable Use of Internet & Public Computers link


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.