Internet Use and Safety Policy and Procedures

General

Consistent with its mission to serve the community by offering a wide array of informational and recreational resources, the Dickinson Memorial Library provides patrons with access to the Internet from computer terminals in several areas of the Library.

The Internet offers an immense amount of information through a vast global network. Because it is so massive there is no local control or organization of its content. Patrons who access the Internet are advised to use discretion in evaluating the validity and accuracy of any website information, seek the assistance of library staff when doing research, and take advantage of computer workshops held at the Library.

The Trustees of the Dickinson Memorial Library subscribe to the principles of intellectual freedom expressed in the American Library Association's (ALA) Bill of Right. The Trustees are also in agreement with the ALA's position that the use of filtering software on library Internet computers blocks Constitutionally-protected speech and is inconsistent with the United States Constitution and federal law.

Acceptable Use

Library computer use is a privilege, and should be done so in a responsible manner. Misuse of computers includes, but is not limited to:

Violating any applicable federal, state or local laws, ordinances, rules or regulations including, but not limited to Massachusetts General Law 272 Section 31, the Harmful to Minors Statute, which prohibits dissemination of material which is harmful to minors or which is obscene; or dissemination or possession of child pornography.

  • Disclosing, using or disseminating personal identity information about minors.
  • Harassing, libeling or slandering other persons or parties.
  • Violating copyright laws and software licensing agreements.
  • Hacking into the library computer system or any other computer system.
  • Damaging or attempting to damage computer equipment or software.

While Constitutionally-protected speech and information is available for access by all library patrons, the library must also be mindful and respectful of the rights of other patrons not to be inadvertently exposed to material and images they find personally unsuitable. The library's computers are in full view of the public and to that end Internet users are expected to respect the sensibilities of others when accessing potentially offensive information or images.

Misuse Penalties

Violators of the Library's policies, including the Internet Use and Safety Policy and Procedures may lose library privileges for up to 2 months.

Access by Minors

As with other library materials, parents or legal guardians must assume responsibility for guiding their children in the use of the Internet. Parents or legal guardians must:

  • Decide whether material accessed by their minor children is or is not appropriate.
  • Assume responsibility for ensuring their own minor children's safety and security when using e-mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications.

The Library urges parents, legal guardians, and minors to keep in mind the following recommendations:

  • Never give out identifying information such as home address, school name, or telephone number.
  • Decide whether you want personal information such as age, marital status, or financial information revealed.
  • Never allow your child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone via the computer without your approval.
  • Never respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, threatening, or make you or your child uncomfortable.
  • If you or your child become aware of the transmission of child pornography, report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited children at 1-800-843-5678.
  • Remember that people online may not be who they say they are.
  • Remember everything you read may not be true.1

Waiver of Responsibility

The Dickinson Memorial Library does not actively monitor and has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content, authority, reliability, currency, or use. Neither the Board of Trustees of the Dickinson Memorial Library, the Library staff, nor the Town of Northfield is liable for any negative consequences that may occur as a result of using the library's Internet connection.

1A Safety Net for the Internet: A Parent's Guide. New York Public Library. 21 May 2002. http://www.nypl.org/Branch/safety.html.