The Thomas Memorial Library is pleased to provide public use computers, as well as free public internet access in order to ensure universal access to this vast and vital source of information and communication. This policy exists in order to ensure the fair and reasonable use of library computers and internet resources. By accessing the internet using library network connections, or by accessing the internet inside library facilities using other public or private wireless networks, visitors agree to all terms and conditions expressed in this policy.
The internet and online environment consists of information on a wide range of topics, provided by millions of individuals and organizations around the world. Library visitors are advised to exercise judgement and discrimination when evaluating the usefulness and reliability of material found on the internet. Not all information available on the internet is accurate, complete, up-to-date, lawful, or philosophically acceptable to all individuals. The library has no control over the information found on the internet, and cannot be held responsible for its content.
The library assumes no responsibility and shall have no liability for any direct, indirect or consequential damages arising from providing computer and internet access to the public.
In addition, visitors are responsible for:
- Any consequences that arise from unlawful or prohibited activities while using library equipment.
- Saving their own work on a mobile storage device such as a flash drive.
- Evaluating the accuracy of the material found on the internet.
- The library provides internet access in two ways: public computer stations and an unsecured wireless network available to visitors with their own wireless devices. This policy applies to the use of each of these services.
- Computers are available from the time the library opens until 15 minutes before closing.
- Computers include USB ports for using flash drives. visitors may bring their own flash drives to save their files. Files saved to a library computer’s desktop are automatically deleted when the computer is restarted.
- Security measures have been taken to prevent the unintentional or intentional changing of operating system or software settings.
- Computer use is limited to 2 sessions of 60 minutes per day. Sessions may be extended by permission should the computers be available; if there is a queue for use, visitors will be expected to relinquish their computer when their time limit is reached.
- Should visitors wish to use sound on any computer or wireless device, headphones are required.
- Black & white printing is available for a fee. The library does not offer color printing services.
- Limited scanning services are free; but library staff cannot assist with extensive scanning needs.
- All copying and scanning using library equipment must comply with copyright laws.
- Library staff’s availability to help visitors with basic computer use is limited. Additionally, library staff may not have knowledge of all library computer programs, nor will they be familiar with how to use all websites. Library staff can assist as time and staffing permits, but visitors must have basic computer skills and are encouraged to attend one of the library’s instructional technology programs to further their technology literacy skills.
- Basic word processing software is available on each public desktop computer. Staff can offer a visitor general help with word processing, but cannot help compose personal documents or research papers.
Children (minors under the age of 13)
Children under the age of 13 are allowed to use the computers located in the Children’s Room. As with other library materials, access or restriction of a child on the internet is the parent or guardian’s responsibility. It is recommended that parents and guardians both supervise their children’s use of the internet and discuss safe internet practices with their children. The library does not act in loco parentis (in the place or role of a parent or guardian) regarding the supervision or restriction of children’s use of the computers or the internet.
- Parents or caregivers of minor children are expected to supervise their child’s computer and internet sessions. Library computers in the Children’s Room are solely for use by children up to and including age 12.
- Parents or guardians are solely responsible for what their children access via the internet.
- Parents are cautioned that unsupervised children may see things that the parent finds objectionable.
- Children should be accompanied by a parent or caregiver or should be provided with parental guidelines for internet use.
- Library staff are not responsible for determining what is acceptable for children, but may intervene if a child violates general policies or procedures.
Teens (minors 13 – 18 years old)
Teens may use the computers in the Adult Department, with the understanding that library employees do not assume the role of a parent or caregiver in determining what is and is not acceptable to view. Again, staff may intervene if a minor violates general policies or procedures.
The computer and internet resources offered by the library are to be used in accordance with principles of respect for other visitors of the network and equipment. Therefore, visitors may not:
- Attempt to access or tamper with settings or files on the hard disk by modifying, deleting or in any way altering them.
- Unplug, remove, or otherwise modify library equipment.
- Use software other than that provided and installed by the library.
- Make unauthorized entry into other networks or systems, or in any other way violate computer system security.
- Violate the privacy of others, harass other visitors, or send harassing or threatening messages
- Display sexually or violently graphic material on the computer screen; this is considered offensive behavior, and is a violation of Thomas Memorial Library’s General Use Policy.
- Refuse to leave a computer after being suspended or asked to leave.
- Disrupt or obstruct the work of others.
- Use a cell phone for extended conversations while at the public computers.
- Play audio without headphones while at the public computers.
- Bring food or drink near the public computers or the public computing desks.
Safety and Privacy
Library visitors are warned that the internet is not a secure medium and that privacy of email and other communications is not guaranteed. Though the library employs antivirus software, it cannot guarantee that its server or any web site accessed by internet visitors is free of viruses or other harmful components. Visitors should assume that their information may not be private. The library is not liable for the loss or compromise of confidential or sensitive information or for any and all damages resulting from that loss or compromise.
It is solely the responsibility of the wireless device owner/visitor to provide antivirus protection, and to configure personal equipment with appropriate security settings to control access from other wireless devices within library facilities and the internet itself. Wireless visitors assume all risks in this regard.
Freedom of Access
The library adheres to the American Library Association’s policy statement Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks: An Interpretation of the library Bill of Rights, which supports the right of individuals to choose Library materials for themselves, including those in electronic formats. As such, the library does not monitor and has no control over or responsibility for the information accessed through the internet.
The library must balance the goal of supporting intellectual access with that of maintaining a welcoming environment. Unless a visitor is viewing material that is harmful or obscene, staff will not interfere with a visitor’s right to privacy. Equally, in the case that a visitor’s use of the internet, computers, and/or devices interferes with the ability of the library to provide a welcoming environment for the public, they may be asked to change their behavior.
Thomas Memorial Library provides Internet access through our affiliation with the Maine School and Library Network (MSLN).
To continue to receive funding for Internet access through the Federal E-rate program as administered by Network Maine for the Maine School and Library Network (MSLN) the library is required to: (a) prevent visitor access over its computer network to, or transmission of, inappropriate material via Internet, electronic mail, or other forms of direct electronic communications; (b) prevent unauthorized access and other unlawful online activity; (c) prevent unauthorized online disclosure, use, or dissemination of personal identification information of minors; and (d) comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act [Pub. L. No. 106-554 and 47 USC 254(h)].
Key terms are as defined in the Children’s Internet Protection Act (see Appendix B.)
Access to Inappropriate Material
To the extent practical, technology protection measures (or “internet filters”) shall be used to block or filter Internet, or other forms of electronic communications, access to inappropriate information.
Specifically, as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, blocking shall be applied to visual depictions of material deemed obscene or child pornography, or to any material deemed harmful to minors.
Subject to staff supervision, technology protection measures may be disabled for adults or, in the case of minors, minimized only for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.
Inappropriate Network Usage
To the extent practical, steps shall be taken to promote the safety and security of visitors of the Thomas Memorial Library online computer network when using electronic mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, and other forms of direct electronic communications.
Specifically, as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, prevention of inappropriate network usage includes: (a) unauthorized access, including so-called ‘hacking,’ and other unlawful activities; and (b) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors.
Use of the library’s internet and equipment for transmission, dissemination, and/or duplication of information is regulated under various state and federal laws. The library expects all visitors to comply with such laws, including but not limited to those related to copyright, computer hacking, and child pornography. Laws governing the use of the library’s public internet computers and networks include, but are not limited to the following (see Appendix B complete text:)
- Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
- Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
Violation of this policy or the library Use Guidelines Policy may result in suspension or revocation of library privileges. Use of the computers for illegal activity may also be subject to prosecution by the appropriate authorities.
Revised: March, 2021
Adopted by TML Committee on: April 29, 2021
Adopted byTown Council Effective Date: July 12, 2021
Review Schedule: This policy shall be reviewed at least every 2 years