Internet Use Policy
To develop the Waco-McLennan County Library as a cultural and informational center for the community, in order to promote and provide access to a wide range of library services and materials, in response to the needs of the citizens of the City of Waco and McLennan County.
To fulfill its mission, the Waco-McLennan County Library provides access to a broad range of informational sources, including those available through the Internet.
The Internet is a nonstandardized global system of linked networks that facilitate data transfer and communication services, such as remote login, file transfer, electronic mail, chat lines, and the World Wide Web. As an informational resource, the Internet enables the library to provide information far beyond the limitations of its own collection. It is, however, an unregulated medium, and not all sources on the Internet will provide accurate, complete, or current information. Since the library cannot control or monitor the vast amount of material accessible from computers and networks via the Internet, the individual user must accept responsibility for determining and evaluating the content.
The Library has prepared a World Wide Web home page to assist users in accessing materials on the Internet. Because the Internet is unregulated, the Library and the City of Waco cannot assure complete confidentiality of personal information entered on the network.
In order to help users unfamiliar with the Internet, the Library offers free user classes to the public at all locations. While users are encouraged to access the web page, more traditional information sources may be faster and more accurate.
Library staff will assist users in locating these materials also. Library staff is glad to assist users in accessing the Internet with the understanding that each user is nevertheless responsible for his or her own search and for what appears on the screen as a result of that search.
Children and the Internet
While the Internet holds great opportunities for educational exploration, parents and legal guardians should be aware that it is an unregulated medium. Some of the material found on the Internet may not be considered suitable for children. This includes chat lines and email, among other interactive communications.
As with the Library's materials collection, it is the right and responsibility of the parent or legal guardian to guide their children in the selection of Internet resources that are compatible with the values and the beliefs of their family. The library staff does not act in loco parentis (in the place of a parent) and does not regulate the content of Internet sources accessed by any patron, regardless of age.
The Library Director is given the authority to establish procedures for the use of computers and Internet resources. These procedures will ensure equitable access to computers and Internet resources and will include penalties for the violation of the Library's Internet policy or procedures.
The following activities are prohibited when using the Library's computers and Internet resources. Violation of any of these may lead to the suspension from using the library's computers and Internet resources.
Any activity covered by the Texas Computer Crime Statute V.T.C.A. § Penal Code 33 et seq
To modify or gain access to files, passwords or data belonging to others
To disclose, use, or disseminate personal identification information
To seek unauthorized access to any computer system
Harassment of others
To libel or slander other users
To destroy or damage equipment, software, or data belonging to the library or other users
To disrupt or monitor any electronic communication
Violation of United States Copyright statutes
Misuse or abuse directed toward library staff, patrons, materials, or equipment
To set up and conduct a business from library computers
Impeding system use through the monopolization or unreasonable consumption of system resources or any attempt to delay or halt system operations
The Library reserves the right to terminate an Internet session at any time based on the guidelines in the Patron Behavior Policy.
While library staff does not regulate what the public views on the Internet, the following state and federal laws will be enforced:
•§43.22 of the Texas Penal Code prohibits the intentional or knowing display of an obscene photograph, drawing, or visual representation, while being reckless about whether a person is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display.
•§43.24 of the Texas Penal Code prohibits the display of harmful material, defined in the law similarly to indecent material under federal law, if the displayer is reckless about whether a minor is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display.
•Abiding with the Child Internet Protection Act, P.L. 106-554 and United States Supreme Court decision No. 02-281, Internet computers are filtered to, "…block access to obscene and pornographic images and prevent minors from accessing materials harmful to them." Further adults may request that Library staff disable the filtering software so they may conduct "bona fide research".
Approved by the Waco-McLennan County Library Advisory Commission September 24, 2003