Internet access helps fulfill the mission of Pierce County Library System to “connect the people of our communities to a world of information and imagination through…diverse resources.” The Library System provides access to the Internet because the Internet provides unprecedented opportunities for giving library users access to information beyond the library’s physical books and other materials. However, because the Internet is a vast and diverse information network whose content may be inaccurate, incomplete or offensive to some individuals, some of the ideas, information, images and commentary on the Internet are beyond the scope of the Library’s mission and selection criteria. But the Pierce County Library System Board of Trustees considers that all materials selected or accessed by adults are protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution until such time as they are determined unprotected by judicial action. Consequently, except as set forth in this Policy, the Library System does not monitor, filter or endorse materials on the Internet.
Congress has adopted the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which among other things requires that libraries seeking to obtain federal funds through e-rate and/or LSTA funds filter material available on the Internet. Pierce County Library System has chosen to comply with CIPA and has adopted this Internet Policy to implement the policies of CIPA.
CIPA, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court, calls for library computers to be filtered but that adults be given the right to remove the filtering device. Under CIPA, an adult is an individual 17 years of age and older. Consequently, the Pierce County Library System’s computers that have access to the Internet will be filtered to the extent required by CIPA, but that persons 17 years of age or older will have the right to remove that filter for their use.
In compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, Pierce County Library System will provide a filter on all Library computers available to minors. A child is defined as a minor if he or she is under the age of 17. The Library will offer tools to assist parents, guardians and caregivers in their work with their own minor children. The tools include but are not limited to filters or technological means to structure access to the Internet, skilled staff, handouts and recommended Web sites and search engines. Internet filtering or blocking software is an imperfect technology and can filter material that is not harmful to children and can fail to filter other material that may be harmful. Even with these limitations, it is a tool to assist library users in limiting access to the full spectrum of Internet interactions. PierceCounty Library has selected a filter which is intended to block access to the following:
The Library will maintain a description of filter criteria used and will provide the description upon request. Pierce County Library will also continue to monitor and evaluate technological changes related to Internet blocking tools.
Pierce County Library staff will develop such guidelines and procedures as are appropriate to provide the fair, reasonable, and legal use of Pierce County Library Internet resources. Internet users may not view, printout or download any material considered illegal or obscene by federal, state, or local statutes, such as child pornography or visual depictions of the sexual exploitation of children. Internet users must abide by copyright laws protecting material on the Internet, and by software license laws. Internet users will refrain from altering or damaging library computer equipment or software. Internet users will refrain from using library computers to intentionally alter stored data, information, software or hardware in any computer system. Disciplinary actions can be taken for behavior, which is illegal or which either consciously or unconsciously violates or restricts the rights of others to use the library.
The Library is not able to guarantee privacy for individuals using electronic or other library resources, as inadvertent viewing of library materials can occur in a public facility and because the Internet and World Wide Web are not secure.
Although the Library has adopted these policies, it disclaims any warranties on the effectiveness of any filter and disclaims any liabilities if the filter is inadvertently not implemented upon request. The Library further assumes no responsibility for damages, direct or indirect, arising from any use of the Library’s connections to the Internet.
Pierce County Library System reserves the right to suspend or restrict Internet access privileges for those persons who access, use, or disseminate constitutionally unprotected speech (legally obscene), or otherwise misuse their Internet privileges.
Board Policy 2.11
Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Pierce County Library System, January 14, 2004.
Tel: 253-548-3300 Fax: 253-537-4600 Washington Relay TTY: 711
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