Internet Use Policy

Section: Library Resources


Approved: 6/19/1996

Reviewed: 11/21/2002, 7/21/2005

Revised: 2/17/2000, 11/16/2006, 9/20/2007, 1/21/2010, 719//2012, 9/17/2015, 8/20/2018


 

Ames Public Library provides free, unsecured access to the Internet to connect the public to the world of ideas and information, and to provide equal access to that information for all individuals in the community. This policy applies to all use of Ames Public Library’s Internet service, whether privately-owned or Library-provided devices are operated.

Libraries are a traditional forum for the open exchange of information. Providing access to information available on the Internet does not constitute endorsement of the content by the Library. Ames Public Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility arising from use of the Internet or information obtained through the Internet.

 

Library Practices

The Library retains some information about checkout of Library devices and use of Library computers,  but does not retain browser history or personal information.  The Library will not reveal the information sources or services individual users access unless required by law or court order.

In its Statement on Library Use of Filtering Software, the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee has stated that “…the use in libraries of software filters to block constitutionally protected speech is inconsistent with the United States Constitution and federal law and (…) violates the “Library Bill of Rights.” Ames Public Library will not impose blocking or filtering software to limit access to Internet sites. However, patrons may choose to use filtered search engines.

Iowa law places no prohibition on the use of appropriate material for educational purposes in any public library. It does, however, place limitations on those who knowingly disseminate or exhibit obscene material so that it can be observed by a minor.  Library staff members may request that individuals cease to view or listen to works that threaten the safe and comfortable environment of the library or interfere with the conduct of library business, in accordance with Ames Public Library’s Conduct in the Library Policy.

 

Customer Responsibilities

As with other library materials, individuals must accept responsibility for evaluating the content of resources they view, read, or listen to. Monitoring and any restriction of a child’s access is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian.

Customers are urged to respect the sensibilities of others when accessing images that may reasonably be offensive to someone else. Privacy while using the Internet in the library cannot be guaranteed. There exists a possibility of inadvertent viewing by others.

Customers handling financial transactions or other activities that require confidentiality do so at their own risk. The Internet is not a private environment and security of electronic communication cannot be guaranteed. 

Each user is responsible for complying with copyright law and adhering to software licensing agreements, as well as all local, state, and federal laws including, but not limited to, those concerning fraud, privacy, or obscenity. Use of the Library’s Internet connection in an illegal, disruptive, or destructive manner may result in the loss of Internet or Library privileges.

Security for personal devices rests solely with the owner. Library staff members may provide guidance for accessing library materials and services, but they do not provide technical support.

 

Social Networking Sites

Ames Public Library utilizes online social networks and maintains a website to inform the public about Library resources and activities, and provide additional communications with members of the public. Please refer to Ames Public Library’s Social Networking Policy.

 

Expressions of Concern

The Ames Public Library Director and the Board of Trustees welcome feedback from customers. Any customer concerns will be handled promptly and courteously as detailed in the Expressions of Concern Policy.

 

References

American Library Association Documents:

Library Bill of Rights

Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights

Statement on Library Use of Filtering Software

 

Ames Public Library Policies:

Circulation and Customer Accounts

Conduct in the Library

Confidentiality and Library User Records

Social Networking

 

State Code of Iowa, Section 728