The Gloucester County Library provides excellent library service to the residents of its member communities. We accomplish this, in part, by offering residents of member municipalities and other Gloucester County Library users free access to the Internet.
The Internet, a worldwide network of computer networks, is an essential medium for obtaining and transmitting information of all types. Therefore, public access to the Internet is extremely important to the mission of the Gloucester County Library.
The Internet, however, is an unregulated medium. It also provides access to information that may be inaccurate, illegal, or that some may find offensive or disturbing. The Gloucester County Library has no control over the information found through the Internet and is not responsible for its content, timeliness, or accuracy.
Responsibilities of Library Staff and Users
Library staff will not monitor a user’s Internet use, except for length of use in order to ensure equal opportunity of access for everyone. The user, or the parent or guardian of a minor, is responsible for his or her Internet session at all times.
The Library reserves the right to terminate an Internet session that disrupts Library services or that involves user behavior that violates the Library’s policies.
As with all Library resources, the Library affirms the right and responsibility of parents/guardians, NOT Library staff, to determine and monitor their minor children’s use of the Internet. (Minors are defined in this policy as children and young people under the age of 17 years.) Parents are responsible for their minor children’s use of the Library’s resources and facilities. Parents who believe that their children cannot responsibly use the Library’s Internet access are requested to monitor their Internet use.
While the Library endeavors to provide access to information of the highest quality, the Library specifically disclaims any liability as to the information's accuracy, timeliness, authoritativeness, usefulness or fitness for a particular purpose. The Library will have no liability for direct, indirect or consequential damage related to the use of information accessed through the Library's Internet service.
The Library will make every effort to maintain Internet access for all hours the Library is open to the public. The Library will have no liability, however, if the service becomes temporarily unavailable for technical reasons.
The Library, having installed and enforced the operation of filtering software in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, will have no liability for damages related to the operation of, or failure of, the filtering software, or for its circumvention by users.
Since software and information downloaded from any sources, including the Internet, may contain computer viruses, users are advised to utilize virus-checking software on their home computers. The Library is not responsible for damage to users’ disks or computers or for any loss of data, damage or liability that may occur from use of the Library’s computers.
Unacceptable Uses of Computers
Among the uses that are considered unacceptable and which constitute a violation of this policy are:
- Uses that violate the law, promote violence, or encourage others to violate the law. Transmitting of offensive or harassing messages; offering for sale or use any substance the possession or use of which is prohibited by law; viewing, transmitting or downloading pornographic materials or materials that encourage others to violate the law; downloading or transmitting confidential, trade secret information, or copyrighted materials. Even if materials on the networks are not marked with the copyright symbol, users should assume that all materials are protected unless there is explicit permission on the materials to use them.
- Uses that cause harm to others or damage to their property. Engaging in defamation (harming another's reputation by lies); uploading a worm, virus, "trojan horse," "time bomb" or other harmful form of programming or vandalism; participating in "hacking" activities or any form of unauthorized access to other computers, networks, or information systems.
- Uses that jeopardize the security of access of the computer network or other networks on the Internet. Disclosing or sharing the user's password with others; impersonating another user; altering the Library's computer settings; damaging or modifying computer equipment or software.
- Uses that compromise the safety and security of minors when using e-mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications: Minors under age 17: Giving others private information about one's self or others, including credit card numbers and social security numbers; arranging a face-to-face meeting with someone one has "met" on the computer network or Internet without a parent's permission.
- Uses that Violate Confidentiality of Information: The New Jersey Confidentiality of Library Records Law (NJSA 18A:73-43.2) prohibits unauthorized disclosure, use, or dissemination of personal information regarding Library users, including minors. Personally identifiable information about users may not be disclosed or used in any way, except to law enforcement authorities as provided in the law. Users should be aware, however, that due to the technical difficulties involved in providing absolute security, transactions and files may become public.
The Library will install filtering software or other technologies on all library computers with Internet access, and will enforce the operation of same during any use of those computers, to prevent minors from accessing visual depictions that are (1) obscene, (2) child pornography, or (3) harmful to minors.
The term "harmful to minors" is defined by the Communications Act of 1934 (47 USC Section 254 [h]), as meaning 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 actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals;
- taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.
Filtering software is not foolproof. It diminishes the likelihood that searchers will inadvertently retrieve text or images that they may find offensive, but does not eliminate that possibility. Filters often block access to sites that users would consider both inoffensive and useful. If you do not find what you need, please do not hesitate to ask a librarian for help. Technology protection measures will be disabled by a library staff member, as necessary, for any lawful purposes by people aged 17 and older.
The Library staff will develop such rules and procedures as are necessary to ensure the fair and reasonable use of Internet access.
Response to Violations
The user's access to the Library's computer network and Internet is a privilege, not a right. A user violates this policy by his or her own action or by failing to report any violations by other users that come to the attention of the user. Further, a user violates this policy if he or she permits another to use his or her account or password to access the computer network and Internet. Failure to comply with this policy and its procedures will result in the forfeiture of the user's right to access these computers.
Adopted June 28, 2004