The Racine Public Library provides Internet access for Library users as a way to enhance public access to ideas and information that are not available in print sources, consistent with its mission of providing easy and open access to information for all segments of the community.
In order to provide this service in an orderly and equitable manner to all users, while complying with the legal and financial restrictions applicable, the Racine Public Library adopts the policies stated in this document.
Although users using Internet workstations in the Adult Services Department are free to access any site with content that is protected under the free speech provisions of the Constitution, it is unacceptable to use the Library’s Internet equipment to send, receive, or display text or graphics which may reasonably be construed as obscene by community standards. The determination that content of a web site is “obscene by community standards” is not made by the Library staff or the Racine Public Library Board of Trustees. That determination is made through legislation and interpreted by the courts.
It is the Library’s policy that parents or legal guardians must assume responsibility for deciding what Library resources are appropriate for their children. Therefore, parents or guardians, NOT the Library’s staff, are responsible for the information selected and/or accessed by their children on the Internet. Parental supervision of children searching the Internet is advised.
It is assumed that children and young adults from age eight through seventeen who are unattended in the Library have parental permission to use all Library resources, including the unfiltered Internet workstations.
Use of the Internet is a privilege, not a right, and inappropriate use will result in a suspension of Library privileges. All users of the Internet are expected to use this resource in a responsible manner, consistent with the educational and informational purposes for which it is provided. It is unacceptable to use the Library’s Internet equipment for any of the following:
• Any purposes which violate applicable local, state, and federal laws, including without limitation:
o To view, send, receive, print, distribute, or display visual depictions that are child pornography. (Wis. Stat. Sec. 948.12)
o To view, send, receive, print, distribute, or display visual depictions that are harmful to minors if you are a minor, are in the presence of minor/s, or are communicating with minors. (Wis. Stat. sec. 948.11)
• Destruction of or damage to equipment, software, or data belonging to the Library. Users may not add information to, delete information from, or modify the equipment in any way.
• Disruption or interference of network users or services. Such interference includes, but is not limited to, distribution of unsolicited advertising, fraud, harassment, libeling or slandering of others, propagation of computer worms or viruses, violations of the privacy of others.
• Sending, receiving, or displaying text or graphics which may reasonably be construed as obscene by community standards.
• To read or “hack” into the Library’s computer system or other external system, or other people’s files, or “crack” passwords, or breach computer or network security measures, or monitor electronic files or communications of other users or third parties.
• Knowingly transmitting, receiving or storing of any communications of an unlawfully discriminatory or harassing nature, or which are obscene or are of a defamatory or threatening nature, or any other purpose which is illegal.
• Sending e-mail or any other electronic communications which attempt to hide the identity of the sender, or represent the sender as someone else. Any messages or information sent by a user to one or more individuals via an electronic network are statements identifiable and attributable to the Racine Public Library, and network services and Worldwide Web sites can and do monitor access and usage and can identify the user even if the user merely reviews or downloads material and does not post any message.
Users found not to be in compliance with this policy while using the Library’s facilities or equipment will have their Library privileges suspended, according to the Policy on Patron Behavior.
Illegal conduct will be reported immediately to the police and will result in a permanent suspension of Library privileges, according to the Policy on Patron Behavior. Illegal acts involving Library computing resources may also be subject to prosecution by local, state or federal authorities.
Neither the Racine Public Library nor the City of Racine, its officers, directors, or employees shall be liable for any damages (direct or consequential), including lost profits, for any information obtained or provided on the Internet.
U. S. copyright law (Title 17, U. S. Code) prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials, except as permitted by the principles of “fair use.” Users may not copy or distribute electronic materials (including electronic mail, text, images, programs or data) without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. All responsibility for any consequences of copyright infringement lies with the user; the Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such violations.
Rules and Regulations Governing Use of the Internet Workstations
The Library Director shall be responsible for developing and implementing procedures governing use of the Library’s Internet workstations. These procedures shall be consistent with the principles outlined in this policy. The Library may establish restrictions such as time limits to encourage equitable access to Internet terminals.
Due to the emerging nature of these services, this policy is subject to change.
Approved by the Racine Public Library Board of Trustees July 16, 1998. Revised October 15, 1998; December 17, 1998; May 18, 2000; June 21, 2001; June 16, 2005; November 17, 2005; June 15, 2006; February 21, 2008; August 19, 2010