Internet Safety Policy
The St. Mary’s County Library provides access to the internet at all of its library branches. To regulate the use of this resource, the Board of Trustees for the St. Mary’s County Library created and approved this Internet Safety Policy. All users of the internet in a St. Mary’s County Library branch must agree to follow this Internet Safety Policy before they are able to access the library’s internet connection. This policy applies to library computers, as well as personal devices using the library’s WiFi networks. This policy brings the library into compliance with the federal law CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act, 2000) and Maryland Law Article 23, Section 506.1.
The internet is an ungoverned and unregulated source of information. Library users must recognize their increased responsibility when using this resource. Librarians and filtering software cannot completely control what the user will see on the internet. Users must continually evaluate the information they retrieve, both the validity as well as the suitability of the information, according to their own standards. The library cannot guarantee the security of personal information transmitted over the internet. Users must use caution when entering sensitive information, such as social security numbers, on websites or forms. The library is not responsible for lost data due to hardware or software malfunctions on library or personal devices.
The St. Mary’s County Library’s Internet Safety Policy does not allow the following activity:
- Access and display of materials that are obscene or constitute child pornography as defined by federal statutes, 18 U. S. Code, Sections 1460 and 2256, and Maryland Annotated Code, Criminal Law Article, Title 11, subtitle 2, Obscene Matter.
- Violation of copyright laws or software licensing agreements.
- Making changes to the set-up or configuration of the software or hardware of the library’s public access computers.
- Activity which seeks unauthorized access to any computer system to damage or alter software components of any network database or to use computer resources for any other purpose deemed unacceptable by the library in consideration of the best interests of the public.
- Activity which is disruptive, offensive, libelous, or slanderous.
- Activity which violates another user’s privacy.
- Unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors.
Technology Protection Measure (TPM)
The St. Mary’s County Library provides a Technology Protection Measure (TPM), also referred to as filtering software, on all Internet access in all the library branches. Users of the internet, however, should be aware of the following:
- No TPM guarantees all obscene and pornographic sites will be blocked.
- TPMs might block some sites that might not be considered obscene or pornographic. If a customer believes a website should be unblocked, they can ask a librarian.
- Parents or guardians are the final authority and it is their responsibility to determine what is best for their children. No technological solution can match a family’s individual values and preferences.
Certain sites are blocked to meet the following requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA):
- ALL customers will have sites blocked which contain obscene and pornographic visual depictions as chosen by the filtering software vendor. Obscene or pornographic websites cannot be unblocked by library staff.
- Computers in the Children’s areas have additional sites blocked which contain visual images that are considered harmful to minors.
- Customers over 16 years old may request from a librarian that the TPM be disabled.
Termination or Prohibition of User Access
Library employees are authorized to terminate any user’s access session or take any other appropriate action to ensure compliance with this policy. Internet users whose session has been terminated may request a review of the action. Customers may submit the Internet Use Complaint Form to file a complaint regarding internet access.
Approved by St. Mary’s County Library Board of Trustees
July 7, 2004
Revised June 23, 2015