413-623-5483 / info@bwlibrary.org

Becket and Washington's Community Library

The Becket Athenaeum

Becket Athenaeum Policy on Computer & Internet Usage

1. Purpose

The Becket Athenaeum provides public access to computers and the Internet based on its mission to inspire lifelong learning. Computers and access to the internet are part of how many library patrons access, use, and share information every day. Particularly in a small rural Hilltown community where internet access is spotty at best, access to computers and the Internet have become essential Library services. The library upholds the principles of intellectual freedom and the public's right to know by providing people of all ages with access and guidance to information and collections which reflect all points of view. The Becket Athenaeum reaffirms its support for the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom statements, including The Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, and Access to Electronic Information, Services and Networks: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, and Internet Access and User Responsibility.

2. Choosing and Evaluating Internet Resources

The Internet offers a wide variety of valuable resources. As an unregulated worldwide network of computers and computer users, it also includes material which is inaccurate or controversial, as well as material which may be offensive or harmful to some users. The Becket Athenaeum does not and cannot monitor or control information found on the Internet and is not responsible for its content. Library access to the Internet does not imply Library sponsorship or endorsement of any material found on the Internet. The Library provides links and pointers to useful and interesting sites, but the Library does not edit or restrict Internet content. Access to information is a fundamental right of citizenship in a democratic society. The Library upholds everyone's intellectual freedom and applies no restriction on the right to read, listen or view.  Only users and families/guardians have the right and responsibility to define what material or information is consistent with their personal and family beliefs.

A. Children and Families

The Library provides Web pages, links, databases, and other online resources to guide young users to useful, interesting, educational, appropriate, and fun sites selected by Library Staff. Library policy gives parents/guardians the right and responsibility to restrict their children's, and only their own children's, use of Library resources, including computers and the Internet. The Library respects the right of parents/guardians to determine what it is appropriate for their children to read, hear, and view, but the Library cannot enforce these rules, which may be different for each family in our community. Parents/guardians are encouraged to supervise and to participate actively in their children's computer and Internet use. It is not the responsibility of the library staff to monitor or restrict the child’s computer use. The Library does not act in loco parentis: It does not have the same role in supervising children that schools have, and it cannot substitute its judgment for that of parents/guardians or enforce their decisions about their children's Internet use.

B. Library Guidance and User Choice

The Becket Athenaeum is committed to assisting users of all ages in locating the information they need on the Internet, and to providing choices for users concerned about the content of material on the Internet. Individuals in any community have a wide variety of beliefs about what kind of material and information is appropriate for themselves and their families. Any restriction on access to Internet resources would exclude material valuable to many users and fail to exclude material some users may find offensive. Because the library computers are accessible to everyone we do not install parental control apps on any of the libraries’ public computers.

C. Privacy and Security

Library policies protect patron privacy in the use of library materials and reference service. However, the Library is a public place, and the Library cannot provide private computer workstations or seating areas. At the same time, passersby should respect the privacy of computer users, and computer users should not attempt to show displayed material to passersby.

Library staff will take appropriate actions to resolve problems which arise during use of the Library's computer and Internet services and to enforce Library policies and rules. The Library's wireless Internet service is not encrypted. Users should be aware that any information sent or received could potentially be intercepted by another wireless user and avoid entering sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords or any other personally identifying information on any wireless network. The Library recommends that users install and use virus protection software on any computers they bring into the library.

D. Staff Assistance

Staff members will attempt to identify and resolve problems with Library hardware, software, and Internet access. Staff cannot provide extended individual training or extensive technical support.

E. Appropriate Use of the Internet

In order to allow as many customers as possible to use Library computers in a limited space, in compliance with Library policies, and in keeping with the Library's mission, the following guidelines have been established:

1) Time limits on computer workstations and bandwidth limits on wireless access may be enforced to ensure that all customers have the opportunity to use computer and Internet resources.

2) Any activity which violates Federal, Massachusetts, or local laws is prohibited on both Library and customer computers. Examples of illegal activities include but are not limited to fraud, which includes disguising or falsifying sources of electronic mail and other electronic communications with the intent of misleading, defrauding or harassing others, displaying or distributing child pornography, libeling and slandering other persons, and sending “spam” e-mail.

3) Library computers and the Internet must be used in a responsible manner, consistent with appropriate behavior in the Library (see
Becket Athenaeum Behavior Policy).

4) All users must be quiet, courteous toward others, and respectful of Library equipment.

5) Users may not modify Library hardware or software, change configurations or attempt to intercept, monitor, disrupt, or impede other users' communications.

6) Users may not use personal software, download software, or bookmark sites on Library workstations. Users are encouraged to suggest software for Library computers and links for Library Web pages.

7) Users may not violate software license agreements or infringe on copyrighted material. United States Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials, except as permitted by the principle of "fair use". Users are responsible for any consequences of copyright infringement.

F. Suspension of Privileges

Failure to follow the guidelines laid out in this policy may result in suspension of Internet privileges, or possibly suspension from the Becket Athenaeum. Patrons whose privileges have been suspended may appeal the decision to the Board of Directors of the Becket Athenaeum.

May 2019