GRRL Technology Policies

Introduction
Chapter 1. Downloading
Chapter 2. Internet Access to Information
Chapter 3. Internet Acceptable Use
Chapter 4. Public Access Computers (for youth and adults)
 

Introduction

The mission of the Information Technology Department is to make available an appropriate information technology environment that provides to each patron, staff member, and visitor the information technology access, resources, and support that the Library establishes as necessary to meet its mission. This environment must be managed in a way that assures high levels of reliability and usefulness in as cost-effective a manner as possible. While providing open access to information, the department must maintain suitable protection of personal and other confidential information.

The department must constantly be aware of changing information needs of library patrons and staff, adapting the information environment as necessary to meet new priorities. The IT Department provides leadership to assist policy- and priority-making groups with the identification of planning issues and recommends possible strategies. The Department is committed to providing continuous improvement in service.

Chapter 1. Downloading

No files may be saved or downloaded to the library computers' hard drives. Unauthorized software must not be installed or executed on library computers.

Downloading is possible on removable media. Users should not expect library staff to do this for them nor to know the specifics of how particular web services work. The library is not responsible for the removable media or for the correct downloading of files.

Patrons may use their own removable media to download files. If patrons do not have a removable disk it may be possible to purchase one from the library.

The downloading of viruses, "worms", or similar destructive agents, is not permitted for any reason. Data downloaded from the Internet may contain viruses. Every user is responsible for maintaining virus-checking software on their home computer. The library assumes no responsibility for damage to removable media or non-library computers that may result from downloading files from the Internet.

Chapter 2. Internet Access to Information

As a part of its Mission and Vision Statements, GRRL works to provide users with access to global information resources and high technology applications. GRRL develops, organizes and makes available to the public a useful collection of information resources. GRRL provides free access to community focused services for a diverse population, assistance and guidance in utilizing those services and materials, and lifelong learning opportunities.

Through advances in technology, many of the library resources that residents require have been made available through automated, electronic networks. Both the library and the public rightly see these resources as important supplements to the print and audiovisual resources in the library's collections. Electronic access to data has the ability to expand significantly the resources available to the public for meeting legitimate inquiries.

Chapter 3. Internet Acceptable Use

All library users are expected to abide by their local library’s Rules of Behavior. Illegal use of the library Internet services and computer stations is prohibited. By using library computers and/or Internet services, library users agree that staff has the authority to make final determinations regarding rule infractions. The use of the library's computer workstations and Internet services is a privilege.

The following activities could be considered cause for suspension of computer and/or Internet privileges or cause for trespass:

  • using equipment and/or Internet service in the library to access, disseminate or exhibit material that is obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors as defined by Minnesota state law (see statutes below);
  • placing or viewing unlawful information or images on the system;
  • altering or placing files or programs on the library's computers;
  • sending any files or portions of files likely to result in damage to the recipient's databases or networks or the library's databases or networks;
  • sending unsolicited spam, "chain letters" or "broadcast" messages;
  • violating copyright or licensing agreements;
  • using another’s library card or fraudulently using duplicate library cards or guest passes for computer access;
  • circumventing computer management software or security measures;
  • causing excessive congestion of the network or interfering with the computer use of other library users;
  • vandalizing or damaging library equipment.

In compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), software filters have been placed on all computer stations with Internet access. Internet users 17 or older may request that staff remove the filter when using the computer stations to provide access for bona fide research or other lawful purposes. Library users who obtain unfiltered Internet access are not excused from any provisions or restrictions of this policy.

It is essential that each user of Internet and computer services recognize the responsibilities that stem from having access to vast services, sites, people and quantities of uncensored information. Users are reminded to be considerate of others when viewing material. GRRL cannot fully protect library users from encountering images or ideas that may be considered controversial. Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete or current information. Users need to analyze information on the Internet with the same or greater scrutiny that they apply to other sources of information.

GRRL recognizes and affirms the rights and responsibilities of parents/guardians/caregivers to control the use of library materials and resources by their own children. The Internet is an unregulated medium. GRRL cannot guarantee restriction of access to sites by minors. It is up to the parent/guardian/caregiver to monitor their own children regarding their Internet and computer use. The library is committed to making reasonable efforts within constitutional limits to prevent minors from viewing materials that could be deemed harmful.

GRRL recognizes library users’ rights to privacy and confidentiality in accordance with the Minnesota Data Practices Act. GRRL avoids maintaining records that could compromise user privacy. Library users must be aware, however, that personal identification information should only be shared with caution. Parents/guardians/caregivers should discuss with minors the dangers of relaying personal facts over the Internet.

The USA PATRIOT ACT (US Statute 50 U.S.C. Sec 206, 214-220) overrides state law related to privacy and library use. If GRRL receives a valid order or warrant under these provisions, staff must provide anything requested by that order. This may include computer use records. Section 215 requires that the library not inform library users about these specific warrants.

Chapter 4. Public Access Computers (for youth and adults)

GRRL will see workstations designated for use by children are equipped with references to Internet sites and selected software designed to meet the special needs and interests of children. Given the nature of the Internet as described above, however, GRRL recommends that parents, guardians and caregivers work closely with children in selecting Internet resources consistent with personal and family values. Since these values may vary significantly from individual to individual and family to family, any restriction on usage by children must be initiated by the parents, guardian or caregiver. The library, however, reserves the right to restrict access based upon an individual's violation(s) of the Internet Acceptable Use Policy. Parents, guardians or caregivers, once they have decided to restrict children in their care from access to the Internet, should communicate that decision to the child.