internet acceptable use

The Auburn Public Library offers a broad range of materials in a variety of formats to satisfy the informational, recreational and educational needs of the public it serves. It provides safe and equal access to all constitutionally protected materials on the Internet within the Library’s means and the boundaries of its policies and the law.

The Auburn Public Library takes necessary steps to ensure the safe use of its Internet resources by complying in good faith with the Children’s Internet Protection Act; providing help to children and parents on how to safely, efficiently and effectively use the Internet; and prohibiting inappropriate use of Library computer equipment and resources.

Access to Inappropriate Materials

The Library shall use Internet filters, also referred to as technology protection measures, on staff and public Internet access computers. These filters, with settings as applied by APL staff, are deemed by APL to appropriately meet CIPA requirements. Filters shall be used to protect users against access to visual depictions that: 1) are obscene, 2) contain child pornography, and 3) are harmful to minors.

In compliance with CIPA, filters shall be conveniently and easily disabled without question for users at any computer who are 18 years and older and wish to access constitutionally protected information.

Children 17 years and younger may have filters disabled with parental consent. Staff may refuse to disable a filter if it is judged that doing so may place the Library at risk of legal action.

The Library shall select filtering software based on vendor statements along with recommendations and reports that are issued by authoritative sources such as the Maine State Library and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Despite this good faith effort to provide CIPA-compliant filtering, it is universally understood that no filter is one hundred percent effective in preventing access to material deemed objectionable and/or materials considered constitutionally protected.

Because of this unreliability, individuals should be aware that it may still be possible to access personally objectionable material from the Internet. The Library and its staff do not act in place of parents or guardians and are not responsible for monitoring their children’s safety and security using the Internet, including electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct communication.

Disabling of Blocking Software

One of the criteria for selecting appropriate blocking software is the Library’s ability to efficiently and effectively manage this software on a day-to-day basis. This includes the ability of library staff to easily and quickly disable filters upon request. Regarding internet filters, it is the Library’s policy that:

  • Information in the form of signs and fliers, etc. informing patrons of the process to get filters disabled will be made readily available to users.
  • Authorized library personnel will be trained and able to quickly disable filters upon request so as not to inconvenience users.
  • Individuals 18 years and older can request filters to be disabled without question.
  • For individuals 17 years and younger:
    • A parent or guardian may sign a parental consent form authorizing library staff to disable the internet filter upon their  child’s request
    • Staff members must confirm that parental permission has been granted by checking the consent form when a minor requests that the filter be disabled
    • Internet filters will not be disabled for patrons 17 years and younger without parental permission on file
  • Staff may have unfettered Internet access. Because staff members need open access to accomplish their work, they will have the explicit right to disable the technology protection measure on their machines as they deem appropriate.

In accordance with the Library’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policy, no records are kept of patron Internet sessions.

Internet Help for Parents

While the library cannot replace parents in monitoring their children’s access and use of the Internet, it does offer them assistance. In addition to providing filtered access to the Internet, the Library:

  • Provides guidelines for parents to use with children using the Internet
  • Recommends sites for children, teens, and parents
  • Limits Internet sites that are accessible in our children’s room to sites selected by library staff
  • Offers one-on-one help in using the Internet
  • Requires users to read and accept our Internet Use and Internet Safety policies before using a Library Internet access computer

For individuals younger than 14 years old:

A parent or guardian must sign a parental consent form that authorizes their child’s use of the Internet; this form is kept on file

Staff members must confirm that parental permission has been granted by checking the consent form when the above individual requests use of the Internet

Inappropriate Use of Resources and Equipment

Users shall not misuse library computer resources and equipment, including equipment associated with wireless Internet access. Misuse may lead to suspension of computer privileges.

Misuse includes, but is not limited to, using library computers for:

  • Conducting illegal activities, including retrieving and viewing of obscene materials
  • Disclosing, using, and disseminating personal identification information
  • Gaining unauthorized access to or “hacking” into the Auburn Public Library or any other computer system
  • Damaging or attempting to damage computer equipment or software
  • Interfering with the Library’s computer systems operations, integrity or security
  • Gaining unauthorized access to another person’s files
  • Sending harassing messages to other computer users
  • Altering or attempting to alter the Library’s computer settings
  • Violating copyright laws and software licensing agreements, and
  • Transmitting inappropriate materials via the Internet, electronic mail, or other forms of direct electronic communication

CIPA Definitions of Terms

“Technology Protection Measures” are specific technology that blocks or filters Internet access to visual depictions that are:

  • Obscene – defined in section 1460 of title 18, United State Code;
  • Child pornography – defined in section 2256 of title 18, United States Code;
  • Harmful to minors – any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that
    • Taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion;
    • Depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an act or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated, or a lewd exhibition of genitals; and
    • Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.

(Sexual Act; Sexual Contact – defined in section 2245 of title 18, United States Code)