Internet & Electronic Information Use Policy
The St. Helena Public Library provides public access to the Internet as part of its mission to deliver services and materials to meet the information needs of its patrons.
A. THE INTERNET
The Internet, as an electronic information resource, enables the Library to provide information beyond the confines of its own collection. It allows access to ideas, information and commentary from around the globe. It is an unregulated medium. As such, while it offers access to a vast array of tools and resources that are personally, professionally and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages, it also enables access to some material that may be offensive, disturbing, illegal, inaccurate or incomplete. Users are encouraged to evaluate the validity and appropriateness of informational accessed via the Internet.
The Library does not endorse the viewpoints or vouch for the accuracy of information obtained through the Internet. The Library cannot control or monitor material which may be accessible from Internet sources. The Library’s selection policies which serve to govern the Library’s purchase of materials are not applicable to material accessed electronically. Library patrons use the Internet and electronic databases at their own risk. The Library assumes no responsibility and shall have no liability for any direct, indirect or consequential damages arising from use of its connection to the Internet.
C. USER RESPONSIBILITY
Each individual user must accept responsibility for determining which electronic resources they will access and determining for themselves the relative value of the content. Computer users are cautioned that the Library is a public area that is shared by Library users of all ages, backgrounds, and sensibilities. Users of both their own devices and those provided by the Library are asked to respect the sensibilities of others when accessing potentially offensive information or images. The Library cannot censor access to material or protect users from offensive information. Since the Internet is not secure, each user accepts personal and financial responsibility for information transmitted and received.
All users of electronic information resources such as the Internet are expected to use these resources in a responsible manner, consistent with the educational and informational purposes for which they are provided. It is unacceptable to use the Library’s computer systems and Internet resources for any purposes which violate the law or Library policies.
D. UNACCEPTABLE USES OF THE INTERNET AND PUBLIC INTERNET WORKSTATIONS
The following is a list of unacceptable uses:
- Viewing material that violates federal, state or local laws or regulations, including those regarding accessing, viewing, printing and distributing obscenity or child pornography.
- Sending, receiving, or displaying text or graphics which contain extremes of sex or violence that are an end to themselves or which may reasonably be construed as obscene by contemporary statewide standards.
- Using computers to gain access to the Library’s network or computer systems or to any other restricted network or computer system.
- Using computer accounts, access codes, or network identification numbers without authorized permission.
- Violating copyright laws or licensing agreements pertaining to software, files, and other resources obtained electronically.
- Violating another user’s privacy.
- Attempting to alter software configurations or to cause degradation of system performance.
- Engaging in any activity which is deliberately and maliciously offensive, libelous, or slanderous.
- Installing or downloading any software.
- Disrupting or interfering with network users or services. Such interference or disruption includes but is not limited to: distribution of unsolicited advertising, harassment of others, propagation of computer worms or viruses, randomly initiating interactive electronic communications, and overuse of interactive network utilities.
- Tampering with, destroying or damaging equipment, software or data belonging to the Library.
Filtering software may help block access to objectionable Internet sites. However, the software cannot block out all objectionable sites and it may block sites that have useful information, including sites suitable for children, teens, and adults.
St. Helena Public Library does not filter its wireless router or adult Internet workstations but does use filtering software on Teen Room and Children’s Room computers. You may also enable filtering at adult machines if you choose to.
F. CHILDREN'S ACCESS AND USAGE
The Library does not have the right or responsibility to act in the place of the parent (in loco parentis). There will be some resources which parents or guardians may feel are inappropriate for their children. Parents or guardians should let their children know if there are materials which they do not want them to use. Parents or guardians are encouraged to work closely with their children in selecting and using materials and resources that are consistent with their own distinct family and personal viewpoints or values.
While children ages 17 and under have filtered access to the Internet, the Library encourages parents or guardians to supervise their children’s Internet sessions.
G. PRIVACY OF INFORMATION
The Library recommends against entering private or personal information on any public Internet workstation or wireless network. This includes entering such things as logins and passwords for bank accounts, stock brokerage accounts, commercial vendor accounts and the like. The Library does not, and cannot, guarantee the privacy of any such information entered on a public workstation or shared service. The Internet provided is meant to be used for research purposes and not as means of conducting personal or corporate business.
The Library has software that deletes information entered by a user on any public Internet workstation after each use. Once a computer is logged off, it is not possible for the Library to retrieve any information. Because the Library is a public place, users should be aware that information accessed on the Internet may be observed by other users.
The Library observes local, state and federal laws governing privacy of library records, including Internet usage. While the Library places a high value on user confidentiality, the Library will cooperate with law enforcement request for records under the provisions of the California Public Records Act. (California Government Code, Section 6267)
H. WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS
The Library assumes no responsibility for damage or loss of hardware, software or data resulting from use of the Library’s wireless service. Wireless users should be aware of the security risks and potential signal loss inherent to wireless Internet access
I. ENFORCEMENT OF RULES
The Library Director and his/her designated staff are authorized to interpret these rules in accordance with applicable law and to ensure appropriate behavior of all persons in the Library facilities. Persons found to be violating these rules will be asked to discontinue that activity. If they continue, they may be asked to leave the library facility. If they refuse, police assistance may be sought by Library staff.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees January 2006, updated August 9, 2023