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Hart County Library

Hart County Library, 150 Benson Street, Hartwell, GA 30643
Phone: 706-376-4655 Fax: 706-376-1157
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Computer/Internet Policies

(Effective 1 August 2001)

Internet Acceptable Use Policy


The Hart County Library provides unfiltered access to the Internet as a means of fulfilling its mission to “enrich the quality of life for all residents of Hartwell and Hart County through access to informational, educational, cultural, and recreational experiences” and to meet the changing needs of its patrons of all ages and cultural and economic backgrounds. The Hart County Library Board of Trustees supports the idea that all members of the community have free and equal access to the entire range of library resources, regardless of content, approach, format, or amount of detail. These rights extend to all users of the public library, including minors. The Board of Trustees is committed to making information available to its patrons in a variety of formats – from traditional print and audiovisual materials to the latest in electronically-accessed materials. The computers offered by the Hart County Library are intended to integrate electronic resources from information networks around the world with the library’s other resources, and, by doing so, enable the Hart County Library to provide information beyond the boundaries of its own collection.

Responsibility of Library

At present, the Internet is an unregulated and rapidly changing medium. It contains a wealth of diverse material that is personally, professionally, and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages, but it also contains materials that may be offensive, controversial, disturbing, illegal, harmful to minors, inaccurate, or incomplete. The Hart County Library does not monitor, control, or restrict anyone’s access to equipment or to the range of information available within the limits of State and/or Federal law. The Hart County Library, moreover, has no control over information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content. Provision of Internet access by the Hart County Library does not constitute an endorsement of any particular information contained on the Internet. Hart County Library, moreover, shall have no liability for direct, indirect, or consequential damages related to the use of information accessed on the Internet from Hart County Library equipment. Library patrons use the Internet at their own risk. Users, therefore, are encouraged to evaluate the validity of information obtained from the Internet.

  1. “Minor” is a person under 18 years of age. O.C.G.A. *16-12-102(3).
  2. “Harmful to minors” is defined as per current Georgia law, O.G.C.A. *16-12-102.
  3. “Inappropriate matter” for minors is material that is obscene as defined under Georgia law (O.G.C.A. *16-12-80), child pornography as defined under Federal and/or state law (18 U.S.C. *2256; O.C.G.A. *16-12-100), and material that is “harmful to minors” as defined in Georgia law (O.G.C.A. *16-12-102).
Responsibility of Patrons and Parents of Minors

Individuals must accept responsibility for determining what is or is not appropriate. The Hart County Library upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected materials and also affirms the right and responsibility of parents to determine and monitor their children’s use of library materials and resources.

  • In order to use library Internet computers, patrons must have an active, current PINES library card in good standing, must present a photographic identification card (or other approved means of age verification, such as a valid driver’s license, state identification card, military identification card, or birth certificate), and a completed Internet registration form.
  • Patrons under the age of 18 years must have a parent or legal guardian read and sign the Internet Registration form before they will be permitted to access the Internet. The parent or guardian must also verify the minor’s age. Library staff is available to provide assistance and to help identify age-appropriate websites for children accessing the Internet.

Parents and guardians who wish to limit or restrict the access of their own children must personally oversee their children’s use of the Internet and other forms of electronic information. Parents and guardians are encouraged to work closely with their children in the library and particularly on the Internet. Parents are expected to monitor and supervise their children’s use of the Internet in selecting material that is consistent with personal and family values and is appropriate for the age and understanding of their children. The Hart County Library does not and cannot provide this monitoring or supervision. Parents are encouraged to read “Librarian’s Guide to Cyberspace for Parents & Kids,” copies of which are available free at the circulation desk or on the World Wide Web at the following web address: www.ala.org/parentspage/greatsites/guide.html.

Minors who visit the library without a parent or guardian are responsible for their own decisions and behavior and may be denied access to the Internet.
Internet computers shall not be used for illegal activity, to access illegal materials, or to access materials which, by local standards, would be obscene. Library employees are authorized to take prompt and appropriate actions to enforce the Rules of Conduct, and/or to prohibit use by persons who fail to comply with the Internet Acceptable Use Policy.

Exercise Caution During Internet Use

Internet users are reminded that:
  1. Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete, or current information.
  2. Public library computer terminals are neither private nor secure.
  3. Users are financially responsible for any charges that they might incur from their use of the Internet.
  4. Users should exercise extreme caution about revealing any personal identification information (e.g., name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, social security number, age, or credit card number) over the Internet. Minors should NEVER disclose any personal identification information over the Internet.
  5. Minors are not permitted access to chat rooms.
  6. If you receive an e-mail message from a person unknown to you or from an unfamiliar e-mail address, the best and safest policy is to delete it before opening or reading it.
Rules of Conduct for Use of Library Computers

  1. “Minor” is a person under 18 years of age. O.C.G.A. *16-12-102(3).
  2. “Harmful to minors” is defined as per current Georgia law, O.G.C.A. *16-12-102.
  3. “Inappropriate matter” for minors is material that is obscene as defined under Georgia law (O.G.C.A. *16-12-80), child pornography as defined under Federal and/or state law (18 U.S.C. *2256; O.C.G.A. *16-12-100), and material that is “harmful to minors” as defined in Georgia law (O.G.C.A. *16-12-102).
  1. Internet computers shall not be used for illegal activity, to access illegal materials, to access child pornography, or to access materials which, by local community standards, would be obscene.
  2. Transmitting and/or receiving obscene materials and/or child pornography is a violation of law and is not permitted under any circumstances. Violation of this rule will subject a patron to criminal prosecution and result in immediate and permanent loss of library Internet access privileges.
  3. Minors, whether or not accompanied by a parent or guardian, shall not use computers for any illegal activity, or to access illegal materials, child pornography, obscene materials, or materials “harmful to minors” as currently defined by law. Violations of this rule may subject a patron to criminal prosecution and will result in immediate loss of library Internet access privileges.
  4. Installation, downloading, or modification of software is prohibited.
  5. Users shall respect copyright laws and licensing agreements.
  6. Users shall not make any attempt to gain unauthorized access to restricted computer files or networks, to damage or modify computer equipment or software.
  7. Prompt payment is required by users who incur charges for printing or other authorized fees.
  8. Users shall sign up in person to use the Internet on a “next available terminal” basis. Terminals may not be “reserved” for other persons and will not be held for persons who are not in the immediate vicinity when their name is called. Telephone reservations will not be taken. Latecomers forfeit their time if more than 10 minutes late.
  9. Internet access sessions shall be limited to 60 minutes, unless no one is waiting for that terminal.
  10. Users must end their session and leave the terminal when asked to do so by authorized Hart County Library staff.
  11. Upon completion of an Internet access session, depending upon current demand for terminals, a user may be required to wait 30 minutes before signing up for another session or may be limited to a certain number of time slots per day.
  12. The number of Internet access sessions available per day, per user, may be established by the Librarian in charge. Such limitations will be dependent on facility-specific demand in order to provide access for the majority of users.
  13. Users shall respect the privacy of others and shall refrain from attempting to view or read material being used by others, as well as to censor or comment on what others are viewing.
  14. The library’s computers are set up for optimal usage by a single individual. With the exception of a minor, who may be accompanied by a parent or guardian during Internet access, only one user per computer terminal is permitted.
  15. Computers may be used only for educational, informational, and recreational purposes.
  16. Misuse of library computers will result in the loss of computer privileges, potential loss of library privileges, and possible prosecution. Such misuse includes, but is not limited to, using the computer for illegal activities; hacking into the library computer system or any other computer system; damaging or attempting to damage computer equipment or software; interfering with systems operations, integrity, or security; gaining unauthorized access to another person’s files; sending harassing messages; altering or attempting to alter the library’s computer settings; and violating copyright laws and software licensing agreements.
  17. Violation of these Rules may result in the loss of computer privileges. Unless otherwise provided, a patron will receive a warning for the first offense; a second offense will result in a temporary loss of Internet access privileges for a period of two weeks; a third offense will result in permanent loss of Internet access privileges.
Termination or Prohibition of Access

Library employees are authorized to terminate any user’s access session, or to prohibit a user from subsequent access sessions for up to two weeks from the date of informing the user of that action, given cause to believe that the user has failed to comply with the Internet Acceptable Use Policy and/or Rules.

Right of Appeal

An Internet user whose access session has been terminated or whose Internet access has been prohibited shall have the right to appeal and/or request that Internet access privileges be reinstated. An appeal must be in writing and submitted to the Library Director within five days of the termination or prohibition. Within ten days of receipt of the appeal, the Library Director shall review the matter and notify the patron in writing of his/her decision. If the Library Director’s decision is adverse to the patron, the patron may appeal in writing within five days to the Library’s Board of Trustees, which shall thereafter consider the matter and issue its decision in writing within 30 days of receipt. No further appeals shall be considered. Temporary or permanent denial of Internet privileges at any Hart County Library facility will be effective at all Hart County Library facilities.

Modified/corrected 07/13/01

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