October 28, 2002

Policies · Internet Use/Safety

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County provides free public access to the Internet, a medium that offers a wealth of educational, recreational, and cultural information for Library users. Because the Internet is a vast, unregulated medium, the Library cannot control and is not responsible for the content or accuracy of information accessed over the Internet, including information contained in electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of electronic communication.

The Library uses filtering software to block access to some Internet sites. Since no filtering system is completely effective or efficient, further restriction of a minor’s access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. Adults (age 18 or older) may bypass the filter by requesting that a Library staff member override the filter at selected Library computer stations. Internet users in the children’s area of any Library location are not permitted to access Internet sites which may be unsuitable for minors. Users in all areas of Library locations may not use Internet sessions in a manner that is deliberately offensive or creates a hostile or intimidating environment.

To address issues of safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of electronic communication, parents and legal guardians should urge minors to follow basic safety guidelines: never give out personal information (name, address, phone number etc.), never arrange via a computer to meet someone and never respond to messages that are threatening or suggestive, remembering that people online may not be who they say they are.

While accessing the Internet at the Library, users must comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws. Users may not attempt in any way to alter, damage, or sabotage computer hardware or software (practices known as hacking) and will be financially responsible for any malicious damage to hardware or software. The Library is not liable for any damage to a customer’s disk or computer that may occur from use of the Internet at the Library; nor is the Library responsible for any liability that may occur as a result of the disclosure of financial or other personal information while accessing the Internet at the Library.

The Library does not release information on the use of the Internet by Library users except as required by law.

The Library may limit the amount of time of individual user sessions on the Internet and may charge a fee for printing from the Internet.

Failure to comply with this policy may result in loss of access. Illegal acts may be subject to prosecution by local, state, or federal authorities.