Internet SAFETY & ACCEPTABLE Use Policy
Internet Safety & Acceptable Use Policy
In support of the Library's Mission, "...to connect our community to the broadest range of information and thought..." the Dayton Metro Library provides access to on-line information resources for use by patrons and staff. In addition to locally created content and information purchased or leased from commercial providers, the Library promotes and supports access to the Internet by all. The Library supports access through computers it provides in the Library, through training classes and through staff assistance.
The Internet provides a wealth of unique and valuable content that meets the varied interests and needs of our community. The Internet also provides unique mechanisms for manipulating and sharing information and thought. The Internet is an essential tool for completing the Library's mission. However, this medium provides risks and challenges. The currency and accuracy of information obtained over the Internet may be suspect and all users need to use caution. In addition, some information on the Internet, particularly explicitly sexual imagery, is inappropriate for viewing in a public library.
Board Policy on the Use of Filters
Providing access to the Internet presents a dilemma for the Dayton Metro Library. On one hand, the Library has upheld a commitment to the free flow of ideas and support of First Amendment rights of library users by offering the widest range of information resources possible through a documented selection process. On the other hand, the Library's tradition of selection is voided by the openness of the Internet. The Dayton Metro Library Board has adopted a policy of filtering Library computers but with an understanding that the use of filters can only serve as an initial screen to alert users of material that may be inappropriate in a Library setting or for some library users. The Board recognizes that ultimately the appropriateness of online content needs to be determined locally.
The following guidelines are provided to assist all patrons of the Library. The Library provides access to the Internet, word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and other productivity software at no charge to the user from computers available at the Library. Patrons are encouraged to ask for assistance, however, staff trained on the use of the Internet service may not always be available during Library hours of operation.
In compliance with the requirements of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which requires public libraries to use a technology protection measure, the Board has authorized the use of content filtering software on all Library owned computers with direct access to the Internet. This policy's intent is to prohibit the intentional viewing of sexually explicit imagery, including "visual depictions that are (a) obscene; (b) child pornography; or (c) harmful to children" as defined by CIPA.
The Board recognizes that technology protection measures can only filter an approximation of the scope of content outlined by CIPA and this policy. Technology protection measures fail to block some visual depictions that could be deemed obscene, child pornography or harmful to children. In addition, all technology protection measures will block some materials that are appropriate for use within the Library and beyond the scope of filtering intended by CIPA and this policy.
In recognizing the deficiency of such technologies and in compliance with the United States Supreme Court requirement that filters may be employed in public libraries if there is a mechanism to disable the filter for adults without significant delay, a filter bypass feature is available to adult patrons. Any adult patron, 18 years of age and over, may elect to bypass the filter by entering his/her library card number. With the filter disabled the adult patron may assess the appropriateness of the blocked material. No record of patrons who disable the filter will be recorded or maintained. Minors may request to have a filter disabled for bona fide research or other lawful uses, but may not use the card number of an adult to directly disable the filter. No library patron, regardless of age, is to disable the filter with the intention of viewing visual depictions prohibited by this policy.
The Library Board understands that technology protection measures are not perfect. No filtering software product on the market today is 100% effective in blocking every sexually explicit Internet site since new ones are added every day from all over the world. The Board cannot guarantee that sexually explicit material will not get past the filter or that there will not be other sites to which another patron or a parent might object.
As with books and other materials available at the Library, guidance of a child's access to the Internet and the information available is the responsibility of the parent, legal guardian or caregiver. Parents are encouraged to work with their children to develop acceptable rules for Internet use in the Library and at home.
The Board has special concerns about the use of the Internet by children and cautions parents to take special steps to ensure the safety of their children when using the Internet in the Library and elsewhere:
- Filtering products are particularly unsuited for protecting the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications.
- Filtering products are less successful in restricting access to materials harmful to minors.
- All Internet users must take precautions to prevent the unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information, particularly of minors.
Incorporated into this Internet Safety Policy are the Dayton Metro Library's Guidelines for Use of Library Owned Computers that governs Internet access on Library computers, including restrictions regarding the use of email and chat.
Revised Policy Adopted by the Board September 15, 2004