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Internet & Computer Use

Date Issued: 06/20/2001

Date Revised: 10/17/2007, 05/18/201, 12/13/2023

Attachments: None

1. Overview

Essential digital public services provided by Mary Riley Styles Public Library (MRSPL) include access to computers, the Internet, and basic software. In addition, MRSPL provides an unsecured wireless network for patrons’ use with their personal devices.

Patrons are permitted to use computers to access the Internet. In accordance with Virginia Code §42.1-36.1, MRSPL employs commercial filtering software and/or parental controls on MRSPL computers and mobile devices to block the display of illegal material and material that is potentially harmful to children. However, no filtering software or control is completely effective. It may inadvertently allow access to content intended to be blocked and, conversely, it may block unobjectionable content. Patrons 18 years of age or older may request unfiltered Internet access for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.

Parents and guardians ─ not MRSPL staff ─ are responsible for the information selected and the sites visited on the Internet by the children in their care and for supervising their Internet use on MRSPL-owned computers and devices, as well as on personal devices used in the library. This policy supports the ALA’s Intellectual Freedom statements, including The Library Bill of Rights, and Access to Digital Resources and Services.

The library reserves the right to set rules as needed to promote equitable computer and wireless network use and revise these rules as needed. MRSPL also reserves the right to terminate a computer session should computer use result in disruption of library service or the machine needs to be serviced by City IT staff.

2. Acceptable Use

The following guidelines have been established for acceptable use of MRSPL owned computers and equipment, as well as personal devices used on MRSPL property:

  1. Time limits on the use of computers and equipment, as well as bandwidth limits on wireless access, may be enforced to ensure that all patrons have an opportunity to use those resources.
  2. Any activity that violates Federal, state, or local laws is prohibited on both MRSPL and patron devices. Examples of illegal activities include, but are not limited to, fraud (which includes disguising or falsifying sources of electronic mail or other electronic communications with the intent of misleading, defrauding, or harassing others); libeling and slandering other persons; displaying or distributing child pornography: Virginia Code §18.2-374.1:1 or other obscene materials: Virginia Code §18.2-372, or materials deemed harmful to juveniles Virginia Code §18.2-390. MRSPL must comply with all proper judicial processes.
  3. Patrons may not violate software license agreements or infringe on copyrighted material. United States Copyright Law: U.S. Code, Title 17 prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials, except as permitted by the principle of “fair use.” This includes most electronic information sources. Users may not copy or distribute electronic materials without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Patrons are responsible for consequences of copyright infringement.
  4. Patrons may not attempt to or modify MRSPL hardware, software or any configurations via workstations or any wireless network. This includes, but is not limited to, attempts or succeeding to evade or disable MRSPL’s Internet filtering software; the intentional propagation of computer viruses or worms; and “hacking” of any kind. Patrons may not interfere with the activities of MRSPL or its network in any way. Patrons may not attempt to intercept, monitor, disrupt, or impede other patron’s communications or to access or alter other patrons’ data or software.

Failure to follow this policy or MRSPL Behavioral Guidelines may result in suspension of Internet or library privileges.

MRSPL will cooperate with legal authorities in the investigation of alleged crimes or civil wrongs in accordance with library policy and procedure.

3. User Responsibility

MRSPL computers are in public areas and information viewed on the screen may be visible to patrons of all ages. Patrons are asked to view content appropriate to a public space and respect the privacy of others. Staff may ask patrons to take action to address the situation if other patrons express concern about the nature of their web browsing.

Patrons accept that MRSPL makes no representation or guarantee that computer or Internet services, including wireless service, will be uninterrupted, error-free, virus-free, timely, or secure, nor that any Internet content is accurate, reliable, or safe in any manner for download or any other purpose.

Use of MRSPL’s hardware, software, Internet service, wireless network, and electronic information resources is entirely at the risk of the patron. MRSPL will not be liable for any damage that may occur to any computer, peripheral equipment, device, or storage media; loss of data or confidential information; unauthorized access to or alteration of data transmission; and/or any other direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential, or exemplary damages resulting from or arising out of use of MRSPL’s Internet service, equipment, or other devices; wireless network, and/or electronic information resources or inability to use these services; or any other matter relating to these services. Patrons agree to hold MRSPL harmless from any claims, losses, damages, obligations, or liabilities relating to the use of MRSPL computers, network, or other equipment, or related to the use of information obtained from MRSPL’s electronic information system.

4. Library Website & Online Resources

MRSPL maintains a website,, highlighting information about its collections, programs, and services. The website is separate from the City’s main website and is maintained by MRSPL staff.

Content – including links to third party resources - provided on the MRPSL site are evaluated using the same criteria listed in the MRPSL Collection Management policy.

MRSPL website users are responsible for investigating the privacy practices of any linked resource on the MRSPL site before providing any personal information.

All text, graphics, and other material on the MRSPL website are property of MRSPL unless otherwise noted. MRSPL retains the rights to all content on the website. The material on the website may be viewed, copied, or printed for personal use provided that it is used for non-commercial purposes. Use of material on the website for any other purpose, without the written permission of MRSPL, is strictly prohibited.  When using material from the MRSPL website, a copyright notice must be included and proper credit to MRSPL must appear in close proximity to the material used. Individuals are responsible for determining intellectual property rights, obtaining permission, and paying fees associated with using material.

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