Policies

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Internet and Public Computer Use

Policy Statement:

The Manhattan Public Library provides access to the Internet and productivity software for registered library users from public access computers in several areas of the library. The library also offers free wireless Internet access in several areas of the library to people who have their own portable wireless devices.. This policy also applies to wireless use of the library Internet connection. Time limits do not apply and Sign up Procedures vary. See the library’s Wireless Access FAQ for further details.

The Internet offers information of every kind through a vast global network. This resource fits into the mission of libraries as forums for information and ideas, and into this library's mission.

Filtering

The Library Board of Directors voted to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) effective January 26, 2004. All library computers are filtered with KANGUARD, a filtering service offered free of charge to individual libraries through the Kansas State Library. KANGUARD filters identified objectionable sites using a blocklist.

The Supreme Court ruled that under CIPA, an adult may choose to disable filtering  for his or her individual use with verification of age from his or her library card. Computers in the Children's room will always be filtered and may not be disabled since they are intended for the use of children only.

Whether a computer is filtered or unfiltered, the library's Internet and Computer Policy still prohibits access to objectionable material. Users must follow the guidelines outlined in the regulations of this policy.

Computer users should be aware that no filtering system is 100% effecting in blocking sites that may be objectionable to any individual. They can also block desired and inoffensive material.

Regulations:

Privacy and Confidentiality

The library does not monitor an individual's use of any sites except when material displayed on the screen is not appropriate in a public environment and User Responsibilities are violated. Customers use the Internet at their own discretion.

In general the library will treat information on computers as confidential. Requests for disclosure of information regarding an individual's use will be honored only if approved by the appropriate library administrator, when authorized by the owners of the information or when required by local, state or federal law.

Availability of Staff Assistance

Library staff will offer searching suggestions and answer questions, but cannot provide individual training concerning Internet use or computer skills.  Interested customers are encouraged to use manuals and guides available in the library, to attend library-sponsored programs about Internet use, or schedule time with a member of the reference staff or the Assistive Technology Center for individual help.

User Responsibilities

To use computers in the library, customers must:

  • Not access, create or display information that is obscene as defined by Kansas law (KSA 21 4301) (KSA 21 4301C)
  • Not disclose or disseminate personal information that could threaten or create vulnerability for any person or the library
  • Not use library computers for any illegal or criminal use
    Respect the legal protection provided by copyright and license to programs and data (US Code Title 17)
  • Not tamper with computer hardware and/or software or attempt to gain unauthorized access to any data or computer network
  • Respect other users' privacy and rights.

The library reserves the right to terminate a computer session at any time. Staff is authorized to take immediate action to protect the security of computers and the network and ensure the fair and reasonable use of Internet resources. This includes confiscating disks, requiring a user to leave the computer or the premises, and contacting law enforcement authorities. Use of personal laptop computers in the library is also subject to the same user responsibilities.

Wireless Internet users should be familiar with the library’s FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) about the service. The library's wireless network is NOT secure. The library is not responsible for the safety of personal equipment, device configurations, security or data files resulting from connection to the library's wireless access.

Downloading Files

Downloading of files to a flash drive is permissible. Flash drives may be purchased at the Circulation Desk. Data cannot be stored on the hard drive or the library's network.

Restrictions, Age Limits and Parental Supervision

There are no age restrictions for Internet use in the library. Cards issued to adults 18 years of age and older, allow the option for unfiltered Internet use. Cards issued to minors 17 years and younger restrict the user to filtered Internet use. Parents and guardians of minor children are responsible for their children's use of the Internet through the library. Parents are expected to monitor and supervise their children's access to the Internet; library staff cannot provide this supervision. Computers in the Children's Room are always filtered. Filters are not always 100% effective in blocking sites that may be offensive to any individual. They can also block desired and inoffensive material.

The Technology Center has one Internet workstation for the visually challenged. Customers with visual difficulties have first priority for the use of this machine.

Computers to accommodate persons with special needs are available by appointment (with staff assistance) in the Assistive Technology Center.

Computer Usage Procedures

To use computers in the library or access the Internet with a wireless device, customers must have a current Manhattan Public Library card and be in good standing, with no outstanding fines, fees or lost items. Customers may not use multiple cards to extend time limits. Doing so may result in the loss of computer privileges.

Customers who do not have a library card and wish to use a library computer may obtain a one-day Visitor Pass at the circulation desk. A Visitor Pass is intended for customers who are traveling through the area and who do not use Manhattan Public Library routinely. A Visitor Pass entitles the customer to use the library’s public access computers for up to 60 minutes a day. Visitor passes are not available for wireless access. To access the wireless network, customers must get a Manhattan Public Library card or a Wireless Guest Pass.

Customers enter their library card number and PIN or Visitor Card barcode at the first available computer. If all computers are in use, customers sign up at one of three sign-up stations, located in the Children’s Room, Reference Department, or Technology Center, to be put on a waiting list. The monitor at the sign up station will assign a computer station or put customers on a waiting list. Customers on a waiting list will be notified of an available computer on the display panel next to the sign-up station.

Once the system assigns a computer, customers have 5 minutes to log-on to that computer before the computer is released for another waiting customer.

Time Limits

Computer sessions are limited to 60 minutes when other customers are waiting. Users may log on for additional 60-minute sessions up to their daily limit of four hours if no other customer is waiting. In the Children’s Room, sessions are limited to 30 minutes.

Express computer stations are available in the Technology Center for 15 minutes of use once a day per customer. One express station is available in the Children’s Room for 15 minutes of use once a day per customer. This computer may not be used for games.  A library card or visitor card is not required to use express stations.

The library does not reserve computers. They are available on a first-come first-serve basis.

Customers using wireless devices on the library’s network do not have time limits.

Printing

Customers with library cards may print up to 2 free pages a day. Additional printouts from library computers are 10 cents per page for black and white, and 25 cents per page for color. Color printing is only available in the Technology Center. The library cannot accommodate requests to print on special paper and printing is only available on the paper supplied by the library.

Customers with Visitors’ Passes must pay 10 cents a page for copies.

All printing is prepaid using the required library card. Prepayment is made by charging the cost of printing to your account using one of two Automatic Payment Machines and your library card. APM’s are located on the first and second floors of the library.

Printers are not part of the wireless network in the library. If you need to print at the library, you will need to save your work to a disk or thumb drive, then log on to a public PC and send your print job(s) to a library printer.

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Unattended Children

A primary mission of the library is to provide a safe, secure, comfortable and convenient facility for patrons and staff. This is especially true for children who visit the library. Although staff are available to assist and provide general guidance, the library does not provide childcare services. Attaining the desired and appropriate environment for children requires the communication and cooperation of both staff and parents.

Definitions:
Unattended Child
An unattended child is any young person unaccompanied by a responsible adult and who is unable to care for his or her self, or use the library responsibly.

Inappropriate Behavior
Examples of inappropriate behavior may include but are not limited to:
Disruptive behavior, such as running, shouting, climbing, rude actions, horseplay, etc.
Verbal or physical abuse of staff or other people in the library, such as cursing, demeaning comments, talking back, rude comments, hitting, biting, kicking, punching, teasing other children, hiding property etc.
Damage to property of the library or others, such as breaking or ruining supplies, improper use of furniture or equipment, theft, etc.

Regulations:
1. Parents or adult caregivers are legally responsible for the welfare and behavior of their children. The library is not responsible for unattended children. Library staff may refer children who are left unattended in the library to appropriate authorities including the police or child welfare agencies.

2. Young children may not be left unattended. Any child, seven years old or less must be accompanied by an adult at all times. An exception exists for children attending a planned, scheduled library program without a parent or caregiver in the room. However, the parent or caregiver is expected to remain in the library building and immediately join the child at the end of the program.

3. Older children, ages eight and up, may need adult supervision to ensure their safety and to maintain appropriate behavior and responsible library use. Staff members will use their judgment and discretion in determining whether or not an unattended child needs a parent or caregiver to provide supervision.

4. Inapproriate behavior will not be tolerated. Staff will ask children to comply with library rules or instructions. Children whose behavior is disruptive to library rules and instructions will be asked to leave the library grounds. If a child is not able to leave the library without an adult, he/she should not be in the library alone. Children will be given the opportunity to make a phone call to a parent or guardian to inform them of the circumstances. A parent or the police may be called to pick up the child.

5. Children should know how to reach an adult at all times. They may use the library business phone in case of an emergency.

6. At closing time or in the event of an emergency (closing for weather or a power outage), staff will assist unattended children in calling a parent or responsible adult to pick them up. If someone cannot be contacted within 30 minutes of a child being left alone or at the library's closing time, reference staff will call the police who will assume responsibility for the child.

7. Parents should be aware of circumstances for unexpected closings of the library (storms, power outages, etc.). Library hours of operation are posted on signs and handouts. Emergency closings are announced on KMAN (1350 AM) radio station as soon as possible. (see policy MNG 13 - Inclement Weather and Closing)


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