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Internet Safety Policy

Policy Mission

The Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC), a non-profit organization, is pleased to make available to the citizens of Jefferson County and staff of member public libraries access to an interconnected computer network within Jefferson County, and to the Internet, the world-wide network that provides various means of accessing significant education, recreational materials and opportunities.

Internet Access

This is the Internet Safety Policy of the JCLC, the host site that provides Internet access to the nineteen member libraries of Jefferson County.

The Internet, a worldwide network of computer networks is an essential medium for obtaining and transmitting information of all types. Therefore, public access to the Internet is germane to the public Library’s mission.

However, the Internet is an unregulated medium. It also provides access to information that is inaccurate, illegal or that some may find offensive or disturbing. The JCLC will identify on its web site specific Internet sites that have potential interest for JCLC users. But the JCLC cannot control a user's access to other Internet resources.

I. Responsibilities of JCLC Users and Staff

JCLC member library staff will not monitor a user's Internet use, except for compliance with library policy and for length of use at a member library site, in order to ensure equal opportunity of access for everyone. The user, or the parent of a minor, is responsible for his or her Internet session at all times.

The JCLC member library, through local Internet policies, reserves the right to terminate an Internet session that disrupts JCLC services or that involves user behavior that violates the member library policies or JCLC's policies.

As with all JCLC resources, the JCLC affirms the right and responsibility of parents/guardians, NOT JCLC member library staff, to determine and monitor their minor children's use of the Internet. Parents are responsible for their minor children’s use of the JCLC’s resources and member library’s facilities. Parents who believe that their children cannot responsibly use the JCLC’s Internet access are requested to monitor their children’s Internet use.

II. Unacceptable Uses of Network and/or Computers

Among the uses that are considered unacceptable and which constitute a violation of this Policy are the following:

A. Uses that violate the law or encourage others to violate the law. Transmitting of offensive or harassing messages; offering for sale or use any substance the possession or use of which is prohibited by law; viewing, transmitting or downloading pornographic materials or materials that encourage others to violate the law; downloading or transmitting confidential, trade secret information, or copyrighted materials. Even if materials on the networks are not marked with the copyright symbol, users should assume that all materials are protected unless there is explicit permission on the materials to use them.

The term "harmful to minors" is defined by the Communications Act of 1934 (47 USC Section 254 [h][7]), as meaning:
  • any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion;

  • depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals;

  • taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.

Specific to Alabama:
  1. Dissemination or public display of obscene matter is a misdemeanor in Alabama. Code of Alabama 13A-12-200.3

  2. Dissemination or public display of obscene matter containing visual reproduction of person under 17 years of age involved in obscene acts is a Class B felony in Alabama. Code of Alabama 13A-12-191.

  3. Violation of the above ordinances 13A-12-200.3 and 13A-12-191 may subject you to loss of library privileges or criminal prosecution.

  4. Copies obtained from the Internet may be subject to copyright law. Violation of the law may subject you to an action for damages and/or an injunction

    .

B. Uses that cause harm to others or damage to their property. Engaging in defamation (harming another's reputation by lies); uploading a worm, virus, "Trojan horse," "time bomb" or other harmful form of programming or vandalism; participating in "hacking" activities or any form of unauthorized access to other computers, networks, or information systems.

C. Uses that jeopardize the security of the computer network or other networks on the Internet. Disclosing or sharing the user’s library card password with others; impersonating another user; using one’s own software programs on the JCLC member library’s computers; altering the JCLC’s member library computer settings; damaging or modifying computer equipment or software.

D. Uses that compromise the safety and security of minors when using e-mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications: Child less than 16 years of age: Giving others private information about one’s self or others, including credit card numbers and social security numbers; arranging a face-to-face meeting with someone one has "met" on the computer network or Internet without a parent’s permission.

III. INTERNET SAFETY

A. General Warning; Individual Responsibility of Parents and Users. All users and their parents/guardians are advised that access to the electronic network may include the potential for access to materials inappropriate for children. Every user must take responsibility for his or her use of the computer network and Internet and stay away from these sites. Parents of minors are the best guides to materials to shun. If a child finds that other users are visiting offensive or harmful sites, he or she should report such use to library staff.

B. Personal Safety. In using the computer network and Internet, do not reveal personal information such as your home address or telephone number. Do not use your real last name or any other information which might allow a person to locate you without first obtaining the permission of a parent. Do not arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone you "meet" on the computer network or Internet without your parent’s permission (child less than 16 years of age). Regardless of your age, you should never agree to meet a person you have only communicated with on the Internet in a secluded place or in a private setting.

C. "Hacking" and Other Illegal Activities. It is a violation of this Policy to use the public library computer network or the Internet to gain unauthorized access to other computers or computer systems, or to attempt to gain such unauthorized access. Any use which violates state or federal law relating to copyright, trade secrets, the distribution of obscene or pornographic materials, or which violates any other applicable law or municipal ordinance, is strictly prohibited.

D. Confidentiality of Library Records;

  • Code of Alabama 41-8-10. Registration, etc. records of public libraries to be confidential; right of parents to inspect records.

  • Code of Alabama 36-12-40. Inspection and Copying of Records.

Personally identifiable information concerning users may not be disclosed or used in any way on the Internet without the permission of a parent or guardian (of a minor child), or the permission of the user himself/herself. Users should never give out private or confidential information about themselves or others on the Internet, particularly credit card numbers and Social Security numbers. A member library director may authorize the release of directory information, as defined by the Code of Alabama, for internal administrative or planning purposes. Any disclosure of current patron information to legal authorities, as required by law with search warrant or subpoena, must be authorized by the Director of the member library where the search warrant or subpoena is served.

IV. Disclaimers

While the JCLC endeavors to provide access to information of the highest quality, the JCLC specifically disclaims any warrant as to the information's accuracy, timeliness, authoritativeness, usefulness or fitness for a particular purpose.

The JCLC will have no liability for direct, indirect or consequential damages related to the use of information accessed through the JCLC's Internet service.

Since software and information downloaded from any sources, including the Internet, may contain computer viruses, users are advised to utilize virus-checking software on their home computers. The JCLC is not responsible for damage to users' disks or computers or for any loss of data, damage or liability that may occur from use of the JCLC's member library’s computers.

V. Procedures

The JCLC member library will develop such rules, policies and procedures as are necessary to ensure the fair and reasonable use of Internet access at each local member library facility.

VI. Response to Violations

The user’s access to the JCLC’s computer network and Internet is a privilege, not a right. A user violates this Policy by his or her own action(s).

VII. Adoption

Adopted by the Board of Directors of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative June 27, 2002.