Computer and Internet Policy

The Library is an open environment.

The Anne Arundel County Public Library (the “Library”) supports customers’ informational, educational, and recreational interests by providing access to services, materials and information via the Internet.

The Internet is an important resource enabling library users to access information beyond the walls of the Library. The Internet is a free, open, and largely unregulated resource. Because not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete, or current information, the Library does not warrant the reliability or truthfulness of information obtained via the Internet.

Customers obtain, evaluate, and transmit information via the Internet at their own risk. Individual customers are responsible for determining the suitability of Internet content for themselves. The Library affirms the right and responsibility of parents and legal guardians to make decisions regarding what library resources, including those found on the Internet, are appropriate for their own minor children. The Library staff does not act in the place of parents (in loco parentis) to restrict what a child may access.

The Library obeys the law.

The Library provides computers and Internet access for legal purposes only. Any illegal activity on the Library’s Internet service or computers will be reported to law enforcement officials.[1]  The following activities are not permitted on the Library’s Internet service or computers:

  • Violation of copyright laws or software licensing agreements;
  • Activity which is unlawful, libelous, or slanderous;
  • Activity which violates another customer’s legally protected privacy rights;
  • Access and display of materials that are obscene or constitute child pornography as defined by Federal statutes, 18 U.S. Code, Sections 1460 and 2256, and Maryland Annotated Code, Criminal Law Article, Title 11, Subtitle 2.

The Library is a safe environment for children.

To promote a welcoming and child-friendly library experience, the Library prohibits the use of its Internet resources for the purpose of accessing visual depictions of sexually explicit conduct, as defined by 18 U.S. Code §2256.  Such prohibited images include, but are not limited to, visual depictions that are pornographic, contain child pornography and/or are harmful to minors.  Such images must not be accessed with the Library’s computers or Internet service.[2]

To be in compliance with the Federal Children's Internet Protection Act of 2000 and Maryland Law Article 23, Section 506.1, the Library has installed filtering software to block pornography on the Library’s computers and Internet service.  However, even with the filtering software in use, customers may still encounter Internet sites they find personally offensive. For this reason, customers assume responsibility for their own use of the Internet. Parents who are concerned about the contents of the Internet are strongly advised to closely supervise their children's use of this service on Library premises.

Appeal policy.

Customers may request access to a blocked site or depiction for bona fide research or other lawful purposes by presenting their request to the library branch manager. If a customer disagrees with the branch manager’s decision regarding access to blocked sites or depictions, an appeal may be made to the Chief of Public Services and Branch Management. Final appeal authority rests with the Chief Executive Officer.

 

Adopted June 16, 2016, by the Anne Arundel County Public Library Board of Trustees.

 

[1]   The Library uses public funds to provide computers and Internet access. To protect these services, the Library uses technology to monitor Internet traffic to prevent malware damage or illegal activity.

[2]   In this policy, the term “pornography” includes, but is not necessarily limited to, visual depictions of an actual or simulated human sexual act such as sexual intercourse, oral sex, or explicit sexual arousal. The terms “obscene”, “child pornography”, and “harmful to minors” are defined in the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (HR 4577 § 1701 et seq., printed in the Congressional Record 12/15/2000, page H12302).