This electronic access policy governs the use of the library’s computer workstations and all that can be accessed through them, including the Internet, for educational and recreational use compatible with the library’s mission.  In order to offer this limited service in a consistent and equal manner to patrons, regardless of age, while protecting the interests of all users, the following guidelines have been established.

Access

TML provides unrestricted access to electronic resources in the adult library for use by all patrons regardless of age.  Filters are implemented in the children’s library and young adult room to direct children to sites appropriate for their use and to limit access to inappropriate matter. [This portion of our policy is out of date and is currently being revised.  Note that internet access on all public computers is filtered.  Library staff will disable the filters by request for adult library users. By federal law, library staff cannot remove filters for anyone below the age of 17.]

Caveat

The Internet is an unmoderated medium, produced by a diverse society.  Our library staff is unable to control or censor the material that is available to our patrons.  Users of our computers do so with an understanding that they may find some web sites objectionable.  When doing research on the Internet, patrons should be aware that information might be dated, incomplete, or inaccurate.  Consequently, the library advises researchers that all sources of information should be checked.  Despite the use of filters in the children’s library, the Internet remains unregulated.  Filters are not perfect.  They may restrict access to appropriate web sites, and may also allow access to inappropriate ones.   Therefore, parents should supervise their children’s use of the electronic media as they would any other library resource.  Parents and children are encouraged to read and discuss with each other the material contained within the pamphlets Child Safety on the Information Highway and Teen Safety on the Information Highway.  Copies of these brochures are available at our Reference Desks.

Staff Assistance

In order to assist patrons, the library staff have familiarized themselves with the use of electronic information, services and networks.  They will, time allowing, attempt to assist any patron requesting assistance.  Due to the vastness and ever-changing nature of electronic resources, however, patrons should recognize that the assistance provided to any individual will be limited.

User Information

While the privacy of patron circulation information can be safeguarded by the Thomas Memorial Library, technological limitations make it impossible for the library or its staff to guarantee the privacy of any patron’s use of the Internet.  Consequently, every workstation user must respect the privacy of others by not representing themselves as another and by not attempting to modify or gain access to files belonging to another. The library maintains the confidentiality of information relating to patrons’ use of its resources, in accordance with Maine statutes.  Parents should supervise their children to assure that no unauthorized disclosures of personal information are communicated. A maximum of two people at a time may use our workstations.  Parties with special needs who must have another person with them must see the librarian on duty for a relaxation of the two-person rule.

Time

Patrons may sign up to use a workstation for one 30-minute period at our Reference Desks.  Provided no one else is waiting to use a workstation, patrons may sign up to work for one additional 30 minute period only, after which time they will be asked to cease working or move to a different workstation.  Reservations may not be “booked” in advance, but patrons may call ahead to check on the availability of our machines. Workstations will be available for patron use during normal library hours.

Limits on the Use of the Technology

Due to space limitations, no information may be saved to a workstation’s hard drive.  Files or documents accessed through library workstations may only be saved to a formatted diskette purchased at our Reference Desks to reduce the risk of computer viruses migrating to library machines. Personal E-mail accounts are not available.  Computers in the children’s library may not be used for email, chat, or other direct communication. Users are expected to respect the rights of other patrons and to comply with laws, including laws governing copyrights, privacy, and the security of computer systems and networks.

Costs

Electronic resource users will not access fee-for-service information providers using library accounts.  Any costs accrued by accessing prohibited resources will be borne by the patron who signed up to use the workstation assessed such fees. A printing fee of fifteen cents per page will be assessed.

Access Responsibilities

Access to the Internet is a service offered by the Thomas Memorial Library.  Use of the system implies an understanding and acceptance of this policy.  The library may suspend or terminate patron access to the Internet due to abuse of any of the user guidelines.  Damage to equipment, software, databases, or other library property is unacceptable and will result in legal action.  Suspension of privileges to access technology at the library will be handled in the following manner:

  • First Offense – Two week suspension
  • Second Offense – Four week suspension
  • Third Offense – One year suspension