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Internet Access Policy

The Library’s Internet Access Policy is in compliance with federal and state laws.

1. Philosophy – The Genesee District Library (“GDL”) provides the Internet to the public as an informational, educational, and recreational resource.

2. Internet Content – The Internet, as an information resource, enables libraries to provide information beyond the confines of their own collections. It allows access to ideas, information, and commentary.

a. The Internet is an unregulated medium. As such, while it offers access to a wealth of material that is personally, professionally and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages, it also enables access to some material that may be out of date, inaccurate and offensive.

b. GDL is not responsible for the content of information accessed or selected.

c. GDL strives to maintain a computing environment that promotes access to a wide variety of electronic information in an array of formats; however, GDL makes no guarantee that all Internet content and services will function on its equipment.

3. Relevant Statutes – The following state and federal statutes are relevant to the obligations of GDL in providing internet access to its patrons:

a. Michigan Library Privacy Act, MCL 397.601 et seq (the “MLPA”).

b. Children's Internet Protection Act, 47 USC § 254 and 20 USC § 9134 (the (“CIPA”).

c. USA Patriot Act, as reauthorized in March of 2006.

4. Privacy – It is the policy of the Genesee District Library to preserve the confidentiality of library usage records of its patrons to the extent allowed by law.

a. Except as provided below regarding the Patriot Act, unless ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction, the library shall not release or disclose a library record or portion of a library record to a person without the written consent of the person identified in that library record or that person's parent or legal guardian.

b. The Genesee District Library makes no representations regarding the privacy of information sent over the GDL network (including Wireless Access) accessing the Internet including e–mail, chat, or instant messenger. Those transmissions are not guaranteed to be secure against interception and may be monitored by a third party.

c. The Patriot Act contains provisions which may require GDL to disclose a library record or portion of a library record.

5. Internet Filtering Guidelines – Genesee District Library uses a technology protection measure (or “Internet Filter”) to restrict access to Internet sites to comply with MLPA and CIPA.

a. Content prohibited under MLPA and CIPA, and the court cases interpreting those statutes, is “Prohibited Content”. This specifically includes “obscene matter” and “sexually explicit matter” as those terms are used in MLPA, and “harmful to minors”, “obscene”, “sexual act; sexual contact” and “child pornography”, as those terms are used in CIPA. GDL uses the least restrictive blocking categories provided by the filter vendor that by their definitions appear to include Prohibited Content. GDL relies on the filter vendors and the Internet Filter to accurately identify and filter prohibited Content.

b. Presently GDL uses a filter vendor to provide its Internet Filter. GDL reserves the right to change filter vendors.

c. All public computers are filtered.

d. If an adult wants unfiltered access to the Internet, the adult must make a request to staff to have the filtering software turned off. At least one computer in each location may become unfiltered.

6. Parental Guidance – Parents and guardians need to be actively interested in and are responsible for supervision of their children's use of the Internet and other electronic resources.  Parents and guardians are encouraged to discuss the use of the Internet and family values with their children.

a. Parents and guardians need to be aware that the filter is not totally effective and GDL cannot assure that a child will not purposefully or inadvertently access inappropriate materials.

b. The GDL does not filter the content of e-mail, chat rooms, or other forms of direct electronic communication and cannot therefore assure the safety and security of minors using these functions.

c. The GDL cannot protect against their children's unauthorized access to computer resources, including “hacking,” and other unlawful online activities.

d. The GDL cannot protect against unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding their children if their children provide it while using the Internet.

7. Wireless Access – Authorized and approved wireless access to the Internet is supported by GDL within the libraries during library hours.

a. The GDL network is an open network and is not secure.

b. Most WiFi equipment will be compatible. However, GDL can make no guarantee to compatibility of equipment with GDL’s network.

c. The GDL cannot guarantee wireless connectivity.

d. GDL staff cannot assist with a patron’s computer, wireless network card, or configuration.

e. GDL assumes no responsibility for any loss or damages done directly or indirectly to personal data or equipment, or for any damage or injury arising from loss of privacy arising from use of its World Wide Web server, wireless connection, or connection to other Internet services.

f. GDL staff is not responsible for any changes made to a patron’s computer settings.

g. Wireless users must comply with the GDL Computer and Internet Use Policies. Users are expected to use the GDL’s wireless access in a legal and responsible manner.

8. Complaints and Penalties – If a user feels that a web site is being blocked or allowed inappropriately by the filter, the user may request that it be reviewed by library staff.

9. Compliance – Failure to comply with this policy or with library staff directions may result in restriction or termination of the user's library privileges and may result in prosecution under local, state, or federal laws. Any person denied access to the Library or its services may appeal the denial to the Library Director. If the appeal is not resolved by the Director, it may be submitted in writing to the Library Board. The Library Board will provide the person with an opportunity to be heard before deciding the appeal.

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