Parking garage walkway at Akron Main Library

Internet Access & Safety Policy

The Akron-Summit County Public Library (The Library) offers access to the Internet and other electronic resources as part of our mission to provide resources for learning and leisure that support, improve, and enrich individual, family, and community life. The Internet, as a global electronic network, enables individuals to search for ideas and information beyond the confines of the Library collection.

In providing the information resources of the Internet on computers in our Library buildings, the Akron-Summit County Public Library faces a challenging situation. First, we must continue to make our facilities welcoming and comfortable places for children and families. Secondly, we need to respect the First Amendment rights of adults to view content on the Internet. These two sometimes conflicting objectives shape our approach to Internet access.

The Library has implemented the following measures to address these issues:

  • The Library has always been concerned with juvenile access to the Internet, having required a parental signature for a child's Internet access from the very beginning of this service. Available through the Library's borrower's card, Internet access for any person under the age of 18 must be authorized by a parent or guardian's signature on the card registration.
  • As required by the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), Internet filtering software that blocks access to sexual imagery is installed on all Library computers in our facilities. If an adult requests access to an unfiltered computer, staff will direct the customer to a computer which will be unfiltered while that individual is using it.
  • Library Internet users are prohibited from displaying sexually explicit images to others in the Library. Anyone violating this prohibition will be asked to cease, and may be excluded from the Library.

The Library does not guarantee the accuracy or suitability of the information available on the Internet. Not all information found on the Internet is accurate, current, legal, or acceptable to all individuals. Users are encouraged to be good information consumers by evaluating the validity and appropriateness of information accessed via the Internet. Library staff is available to assist users in their research. In addition, The Library offers scheduled classes on using the Internet.

The Library does not guarantee that the functions of the Library computers or the Internet meet any user's requirements or that the service will be error-free or uninterrupted. The Library is not liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, or consequential damages (including lost profits or data or theft of personal information) sustained or incurred in connection with the use, operation, or inability to use or operate the Library's computers or the Internet.

To provide the opportunity for the maximum number of people to access Library Internet workstations, the Akron-Summit County Public Library has established daily time limits for computer and Internet access.

A valid Akron-Summit County Public Library card is required to access the Internet in the Library.

User Responsibilities

Because security in an electronic environment such as the Internet cannot be guaranteed, users are cautioned that all transactions, files, and communications are vulnerable to unauthorized access and use. Users are advised to use caution when sending personal information over the Internet.

While accessing the Internet at The Library, users must comply with the Library's Patron Behavior Guidelines and all applicable federal, state, and local laws. Illegal or abusive use of Library computers and the internet is prohibited. Such use includes, but is not limited to

  • Using the Internet to harass or threaten other persons
  • Tampering with, vandalizing, degrading, or disrupting the Library computers or another system
  • Gaining unauthorized access to computer systems and networks
  • Logging off, turning off, unplugging, or rebooting the equipment
  • Unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material
  • Installing application software on Library computers

Filtering

As required by the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), and in order to remain eligible for certain federal funding, the Library has implemented software filtering on all of its computers with Internet access. The Library has attempted to select filtering software that best complies with CIPA while providing Library users with the broadest possible access to constitutionally protected speech and information. The Library cannot and does not guarantee that the filtering software will block all obscenity, child pornography, or materials that are harmful to minors. Nor can The Library guarantee that the filtering software will always permit access to sites that may have legitimate research or other value.

Access by Minors

Internet filtering software should not substitute for individual judgment and/or parental involvement and oversight. Numerous websites are available that offer tips and suggestions for safe Internet usage by kids and teens, such as: www.safekids.com or www.netsmartz.org.

Wireless Network Access

The Library offers wireless (WiFi) access at all of its locations. Wireless users are bound by the same guidelines stated in this policy. Library staff can provide general information or handouts for connecting a device to the wireless network, but cannot troubleshoot problems related to a wireless device or assist in making changes to a device's network settings and/or hardware configuration. The Library cannot guarantee that a device will work with the Library's wireless access points.

Use of the Akron-Summit County Public Library's wireless network is entirely at the risk of the user. The Library disclaims all liability for loss of confidential information or damages resulting from that loss. The Library will not be responsible for any damage caused to a user's hardware or software caused by electrical surges, security breaches, viruses or hacking. All wireless access users are advised have up-to-date virus protection on their laptop computers or wireless devices.

Approved by the Board of Trustees on December 9, 2010