Internet and Wireless Use Policy

Internet and Wireless Use Policy

June 2013

Policy Statement

The District of Columbia Library offers library computers for customer Internet access and wireless Internet access for customers using their personal devices. The Library provides Internet access as an information resource to enhance its existing collections in size and depth. Customers are responsible for their appropriate use of the Internet in a public space shared by people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs.

As the Internet is a vast, unregulated medium, users should know that not all information found on the Internet is accurate, complete or current, and some information may be considered inaccurate, incomplete, outdated, offensive, disturbing, or illegal. The District of Columbia Public Library neither has control of, nor is responsible for the accuracy of information accessed over the Internet.

The Library makes every effort to make the public Internet computers at all library locations available to as many customers as possible. To accomplish this, the District of Columbia Public Library sets the amount of time and/or sessions any customer can use the public computers with Internet access on a given day.

The District of Columbia Public Library also provides online public catalogs that are exclusively for accessing the library’s holdings, including selected electronic resources.

Library staff and volunteers will assist customers with computer use as time permits.  However, staff may not be available at all times and cannot be considered “experts” in any particular software application or service. Free computer classes are provided at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and other library locations.  The class schedule is available on the DCPL website, or customers can ask a staff member for assistance in finding the appropriate class.

Public access to the Internet for users inside the library or on library premises are subject to applicable rules listed in the library’s Computer Use Guidelines. Wireless users who do not follow the rules for wireless Internet use may be asked to stop using the wireless connection inside the library, be excluded from all library locations and/or be prosecuted.

The library may provide or limit access to all computers and/or library areas for programmatic and other reasons throughout the day.

Internet Filtering

The District of Columbia Public Library complies with the Children’s Internet Protection Act. CIPA requires that public libraries receiving certain federal funds use Internet filters on public computers to block materials deemed to be visually obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors. Internet filtering software cannot block out all objectionable sites, and it does sometimes block useful material, including sites that are suitable for children, teen and adults. The Library has an appeal process in place to unblock a site deemed to be useful to the customer. The Department or Neighborhood Library Manager and/or designee will provide the directions for use of this process, upon request.

Internet Access by Children and Teens

The District of Columbia Public Library provides a limited number of public computers with Internet access especially for children.  All computers in children’s areas are designated for use by children age 12 and younger and for parents or caregivers assisting children. All computers in the designated teen areas are for use by teens ages 13 to 19 and for parents or caregivers assisting teens.  Parents and legal guardians are responsible for their minor child’s or teen’s use of all library materials, including the Internet.

The Library provides filtering software on computers located in designated children’s and teen’s areas with the intent to provide access to age-appropriate Internet sites by minor children.  However, the Library does not guarantee that filtering software will successfully block all inappropriate sites.  Any restrictions of a child’s or teen’s access to the Internet remains the sole responsibility of the parent or legal guardian.

The library may provide or limit access to all computers for programmatic and other reasons throughout the day.

Wireless Access (Wi-Fi)

By providing wireless network (Wi-Fi) access to the Internet, the District of Columbia Public Library expands its ability to provide information resources to the public. Free public wireless Internet access is provided at all library locations for use with the Library’s computers configured for wireless access and for use by library customers using their personal computing equipment. 

The library provides filtered Internet access on the wireless network.