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Internet Access Policy

PURPOSE: To establish guidelines for library staff and library users in the use and dissemination of electronic information through the Internet and to inform the public of the Library’s policy on Internet access.

PBCLS CLO 1107, Electronic Access to Information Authority: The Library Mission Statement PPM #CLO-001; Guidelines Governing Use of the Library PPM #CLO-101; the Collection Development Policy PPM #CLO-1100; Guidelines Governing the Use of the Children’s Area PPM #CLO-707; Florida Statutes, Chapter 815; Florida Statutes, Chapter 847; the American Library Association’s Access to Digital Information, Services, and Networks: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (see Attachment A); Federal Public Law 106-554, Title XVII, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) (see Attachment B); Countywide PPM #CW-R008, Internet Use Policy (see attachment C).

POLICY: The Library provides access to the Internet, in accordance with the Library’s Mission Statement. The Internet however, is an unregulated medium and is not the same as selecting and purchasing materials for the Library’s collection. Some information provided through the Internet may not meet the Library’s selection criteria or guidelines based on its lack of reliability, currency, or accuracy.

The Library cannot monitor or control the vast amount of material accessible through the Internet including that which may contain material of a controversial nature. It is the responsibility of users to determine what information is appropriate for their own use. It is the responsibility of parents and legal guardians to determine what information is appropriate for their children. As with other library materials, parents and legal guardians are encouraged to monitor and supervise their children’s Internet use. The Library also suggests that parents and legal guardians read information available through the Library website and on the Internet at

Internet access is available at Library locations through designated public computers and free wireless access.

An adult, teen or child needs a current Palm Beach County Library System (PBCLS) library card to use a computer in the adult section of the library at all locations and the Main Library’s Computer Center.

Children and teens may use a computer in the children’s area/room and the teen area/room at all locations without a library card.

An adult not accompanied by a child or teen is not allowed to use computers in the children’s or teen area/room.

At least one guest computer is available at each branch for those without PBCLS library cards. For these computers there is a 15 minute time limit.

In accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, the Library’s computers and wireless connection are filtered to block internet access to visual depictions that are obscene, contain child pornography, or are harmful to minors. Websites that contain material categorized by the filter as pornographic, or software that may be harmful to the Library’s network are also blocked. These filters are not foolproof. Parents or legal guardians retain the right and responsibility to determine what use is appropriate for their child. If requested by the patron, a filter may be removed for bona fide research or other lawful purposes. Staff can require a patron to use a particular computer or a particular computer area when the filter is being removed.

Responsibility of Users

The Library encourages users to be responsible and considerate of others when using computers in a public setting shared by people of all ages. Parents and legal guardians are responsible for determining what information is appropriate for themselves and their children. Disregarding the following guidelines may result in loss of computer privileges, potential loss of library privileges, and possible prosecution:

  1. The Library’s computer equipment and software must be used as installed. Users are not allowed to delete, add to, or change the installed hardware and software.
  2. Users may not use the Library’s computers or wireless connection to obtain unauthorized access, including hacking into any other computer or network, or participate in other unlawful online activities.
  3. Users may not disrupt or interfere with other computer or network users, services, or equipment. Intentional disruption of the operation of computer systems and networks is a violation of Florida Statutes, Chapter 815, as may be amended, and users may be held responsible.
  4. Users may not represent themselves as another person or use Internet access to transmit obscene, threatening, or harassing materials.
  5. Users may not send or display pornographic or obscene materials, or materials harmful to minors in accordance with Florida Statutes, Chapter 847, as may be amended. If a complaint is received or if a staff member observes a person accessing pornographic or obscene materials or sites harmful to minors, the staff member will immediately ask him or her to close the site. If the person complies with the staff request, he or she may continue to use the computer. If the person refuses to close the site, the session will be ended remotely and the person will be told to leave the Library.
  6. Users must respect the legal protection of data and software provided by copyright and license law.
  7. Users should be aware of computer viruses and other destructive computer programs, and take steps to avoid being a victim or unwitting distributor of these problems. All wireless access users should have up-to-date virus protection on their laptop computers or wireless devices. The Library will not be responsible for any information that is compromised, or for any damage caused to hardware or software due to electric surges, security issues or consequences caused by viruses or hacking. The Library cannot guarantee that a device will work with the Library’s wireless access points.
  8. Users of electronic mail (e-mail) systems or other forms of direct electronic communications should be aware that these communications may not be secured and are extremely vulnerable to unauthorized access and modification. Parents/guardians should instruct children on using these types of communication safely and to refrain from disclosing personal information online.
  9. The unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal identification information of others is prohibited.
  10. For reasons of equipment security, users may not install or download any program on the hard drive of a Library computer.
  11. Printing is not available via the wireless connection. Work may be saved to an external device or e-mailed to a patron’s account. The users may then use a Library computer to access the file and send a print job to the public printer.
  12. Absolute privacy cannot be guaranteed but users should respect others. The library does not routinely monitor public computers but reserves the right to do so when a violation of this policy or illegal activity is suspected. Staff is authorized to take immediate action to protect the security of the computers and the networks and to enforce Library policies.

Due to the high demand for electronic resources, the Library may establish time limits in order to accommodate people who are waiting.

The Library has established identification requirements for using computers within the Library. People under the age of eighteen are restricted to the use of filtered Internet computers. Persons who provide a photo identification showing that they are eighteen years of age or older may request the use of unfiltered public computers for bona fide research or other lawful purposes. The filter is never lifted on wireless access; guest computers; computers in the children’s area, the teen area, the Main Library Computer Center and the Serials area at the Main Library.

Ultimate responsibility for problems related to the invasion of the user’s privacy or loss of data rests with the user. The Library assumes no liability for loss or damage to the user’s computer, software, data, or for any damage or injury arising from the use of the Library’s Internet connection.

As with most public wireless “hot spots," the Library’s wireless connection is not secure. Any information being transmitted could potentially be intercepted by another wireless user. Cautious and informed wireless users should choose not to transmit personal information or confidential data while using any wireless connection. Users should take appropriate precautions when using this service.

The Library and its staff are not liable for any damage to personal equipment and files resulting from use of library computer stations.

Internet Training

The Library may recommend interesting and useful Internet destinations and resources for library users to explore. Library staff, however, cannot provide in-depth individual instruction on the Internet or personal computer use, nor can they troubleshoot problems related to wireless devices, device network settings and/or hardware configurations. The Library offers classes and formal training on access to the Internet at designated times and places and provides general information and handouts for connecting devices to the Library’s wireless connection.


This is a working document. Changes in state or federal law, usage, or available technology may require frequent revisions.