Internet Use Policy

Internet Use Guidelines and Policy

As part of Howard County Library’s mission of delivering equal opportunity in education for everyone, we offer high-speed access to the 21st Century’s invaluable research tool: the Internet.

Not all sources available through the Internet are accurate, complete, current, or legal. Neither are they always philosophically acceptable to every individual.
Board Policy prohibits the viewing of obscene or pornographic materials on Library computers.
Library staff members will actively intervene if they observe anyone accessing sites that appear to be obscene or pornographic, or if others report such behavior to them. Customers will be asked to exit such web sites immediately; further action may be taken.
The Library respects the right of parents to decide which materials are appropriate for their children. As with all Library resources, parents or guardians are responsible for monitoring their children’s use of the Internet.
The Library offers a variety of free classes for new and experienced Internet users, including families and seniors. Current offerings are listed on the Library’s online calendar and in its classes and events publication, source.
Visit the Students‘ page to find homework assistance and other educational resources.
The following sites offer more tips for safe and effective Internet use:

While customers may download information onto USB flash drives, no software may be loaded onto the Library’s computers.
A time limit for computer use may be enforced when others are waiting. Time limits may be more strictly enforced at times when a branch is busy.
Library card and PIN (personal identification number) may be required before a customer can access the Internet.

Howard County Library Board of Trustees has adopted the following policy:

The Internet is an essential component of Howard County Library’s commitment to equal opportunity in education.
The Library is an Internet access provider, providing access to Internet-based resources consistent with its mission with respect to print resources and audio/visual resources.
The Library acknowledges its obligation under Section 23-506.1 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland to adopt and implement policies and procedures to prevent minors from obtaining access through the Internet or any other interactive computer service to materials that are obscene or constitute child pornography. Further, the Library’s Internet use policy prohibits the viewing of pornographic images. Procedures should encourage access to sites consistent with the Library’s purpose. The Library, however, is not and cannot be responsible for what people may find when using Internet-based resources. As with print resources and audio/visual resources, the customer must ultimately control his/her own access to the information available. In particular, parents and guardians must supervise their children’s use of the Internet. Library staff will actively intervene if they observe any customer accessing materials that are obscene or constitute pornography. Library staff will ask such customers to exit any sites that are reasonably determined by Library staff to display materials that are obscene or constitute pornography. If a customer refuses to exit such a site, Library staff will take such action as is reasonably necessary, including requesting police presence, to assure the Library’s compliance with the aforesaid Section 23-506.1 and Board policy.
Customers using the Library’s computers may be asked by Library staff to limit their time on equipment when another customer is waiting to use a Library computer and none is available.
The Library emphasizes that customers using the Internet must be prudent consumers of Internet information, intelligently skeptical of the validity of the information they find because not all of the information on the Internet is accurate, complete or current information. Staff will assist Library customers in identifying the range of Internet-accessible resources to answer an information query.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Library shall assure that effective procedures are in existence to implement this Internet Use Policy of the Library.

Adopted by Howard County Library Board of Trustees March 20, 2013