Computer and Internet Usage Policies
As part of its ongoing mission, the Stowe Free Library seeks to serve as a center for information, learning, culture, and recreation for all members of the greater Stowe community.
The Library Board of Trustees and staff support the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and all of its interpretations, including Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks. The Library supports access to information on subjects that serve the needs or interests of each user.
Regarding children’s use of the Internet, it must be noted that all patrons of the Stowe Free Library, regardless of age, have equal access to the materials, information, and technology provided by the library. The Library assumes no responsibility for the use of the Internet by children and young adults under the age of 18. It is the responsibility of parents and/or legal guardians to determine what their children may read, use or access on the Internet.
Users of the Library’s Internet connection agree to obey all applicable federal, state, and local laws including, but not limited to, copyright, licensing, and content restrictions. The Library reserves the right to terminate the user’s computer privileges for abuse of these conditions or for unauthorized use of the Library’s Internet connection.
BASIC RULES FOR COMPUTER USE
- Public access computers are now equipped with the time management software, Envisionware. Patrons are limited to 30 minutes a session, 2 sessions available per day. The sessions may be consecutive if the computer has not been reserved for another patron.
- A valid library card is required to login to a public access computer. If a patron does not have one, a temporary card can be requested at the front desk. To log in, the patron must type in the library card number or scan it in using the individual scanner provided at each public access computer.
- A reservation may be made for a public access computer for that current day. The reservation will be forfeited if the patron is ten minutes late.
- Staff will provide reasonable assistance to patrons regarding technology.
- Computers will be turned off ten minutes prior to closing.
- Due to space constraints, computer use is limited to a maximum of two people per computer workstation.
- Use of the Internet for activities that violate local, state, or federal laws is prohibited.
- Display of sexually explicit graphics is inappropriate in a public environment. The Library reserves the right to ask users to refrain from displaying inappropriate computer images.
- The Library staff is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the computers. Users should report problems to staff immediately.
- Computers in the children’s area are reserved for use by children and young adults (through middle school age) only.
- Computers in the children’s area are to be used primarily for research including appropriate web sites and educational software. Librarians reserve the right to prohibit chat room use and/or any use that violates library policy.
- Computer use is limited to no more than two children per computer. Study groups may request an exception to this rule by speaking to the children’s librarian. Due to the size of the room, no more than four people may use the room at one time.
- Children may sign up for one half hour per day. If no one is waiting to use the computer, they may stay on for an additional half hour. If two children are on one computer, they will be considered one user.
- Children are expected to respect another person’s privacy and to observe the library’s rules of conduct. Failure to comply with these rules may result in loss of computer privileges.
- The library cannot be held responsible for any damage or loss of data incurred while using library technology.
- Unauthorized access to the Stowe Free Library computer system is strictly prohibited. Users will not engage in any such activity or attempt to access the SFL computer system for the purpose of altering or manipulating hardware or software.
- Patrons must not purposely alter, install, remove or damage computer software or hardware, including library files or settings.
- The cost to repair damage knowingly caused by any patron to library computers or their peripherals will be charged to that patron. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for the charges of patrons under the age of 18.
- Printing charges will be 10 cents per page.
- Use of the Internet and the World Wide Web cannot be considered secure. Therefore patrons should consider their Internet activity as public information and limit their activities accordingly.
- Non-library files on the computer hard drive, the contents of the temporary folders and the cache, as well as the location bar on the Internet browsers, will be deleted daily.
- The Stowe Free Library will treat information displayed on its computers and/or printers, including its patron and circulation records as confidential. Requests for disclosure of information will only be honored when required by local, state, or federal law.
Users who do not observe these rules may have their library privileges revoked. Appeals may be made to the Library Director who may refer the appeal to the Board of Trustees.
Approved by the Library Board of Trustees in March 2009, February 2012. Revised and approved January 2013; revised and approved Dec. 2014.
The Stowe Free Library provides wireless access to the library’s Internet service for properly equipped and configured laptops and hand held devices. When patrons use the Library's Internet service they are accepting the Library's Acceptable Use Policy. Patrons are asked to take the time to read the policy before accessing the network; copies of these policies are available at the front desk.
- No waiting for an available computer
- No enforced time limits – unlimited connection
- Library card is not required
- Work in a quieter area of the building
- Fast access
- Download files
- Save files permanently on a personal device
- A Wi-Fi network is less secure than a wired network (see "How Safe is Wi-Fi?" below)
- Signal strength varies within the library
Accessing the wireless signal
The wireless signal may be accessed throughout the Library, although the signal may be weaker (and therefore the connection not as fast) out on the front porch and towards the back of the Library.
How safe is Wi-Fi?
Using Wi-Fi poses the same risks to personal information that a wired network poses, but with the added vulnerability of having the network more open and less secure. This is the nature of Wi-Fi – the network is easily accessible to many people. Cautious Wi-Fi users may choose not to transmit their credit card information and passwords while using any Wi-Fi "hotspot", including the Library's. The Library cannot assure the safety of the user’s data when the library’s wired or wireless Internet is being accessed.
- Patrons are responsible for setting up their own equipment.
- Library staff cannot assist them with laptop cards or configuration.
- The library cannot accept the liability of handling patron-owned equipment.
Wireless Technical Information
- Wireless hardware and software varies as to the operating systems on laptops or personal devices, so the same instructions may not work for everyone. In many cases, clicking on the browser is all that is required.
- Most wireless software has an indicator that tells when a signal is being received. Make sure that both the link quality and the signal strength are "good." If not, move about the room to a location that has a stronger signal.
- Wireless printing is not available at this time.
The Library shall not be responsible for any loss of data or damage to personal equipment.
Reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees in March 2008; revised and approved May 2012; revised and approved January 2013.
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