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Public Internet and Computer Usage Policy

Introduction

The Vancouver Public Library (VPL) has developed our Internet and Computer Usage policy within the framework of our Vision Statement, which states:

An informed, engaged, and connected city.

Vancouver Public Library considers Internet information resources an extension of our material collections for library users and one of the richest information resources available to the public.

VPL is not responsible for the content or quality of information retrieved on Library Internet workstations.

Users should be aware that the Internet is not a secure medium and that third parties may be able to obtain information about users' activities.

Physical Access:

  1. The library will make workstations available for Internet access, word processing, and other public information needs. We will make decisions regarding the number of workstations according to space availability, branch priorities, telecommunications capability, and system-wide resources.
  2. Patron use of Internet workstations will be limited by time per day. Branches with few Internet workstations may impose shorter time limits. The library will use booking software to track the total amount of time used at each session and throughout the day. No information is kept on the content of the session. We may implement additional administrative mechanisms such as sign-up sheets if required. Public service librarians may make exceptions on specific workstations as needed.
  3. The library will make wireless Internet accessible to the public.

Content Access:

  1. VPL endorses the Canadian Library Association's Statement on Intellectual Freedom and believes that the freedom of access to information is essential to the health and development of a democratic society. (ref: Canadian Library Association Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom Approved by Executive Council -June 27, 1973; Amended November 17, 1983 and November 18, 1985)
  2. Internet workstations in adult areas will not have any content limitations except as outlined below.
  3. Internet workstations in children's areas will have a commercial content filter. In those branches which do not have Internet stations in the children’s area, at least one terminal with a filter will be made available elsewhere in the branch. The Library will not alter the commercial content filter. This policy is consistent with our book and materials collection policy, which stresses that children’s collections be appropriate for the ages and interests of children.
  4. Monitoring of a child's (up to 14 years of age) use of the Library and the Internet is the responsibility of the parents/guardians.
  5. All members of the public, including children, will have access to workstations with no content limitations.

Acceptable Use of the Internet and Public Workstations:

  1. Users of the Internet must respect copyright law and licensing of programs and data.
  2. Library workstations are located in public areas shared by library users of all ages, backgrounds, and sensibilities; individuals are asked to consider other patrons when accessing the Internet or electronic resources from the public workstations or through personal devices.
  3. Users must not violate the privacy of another library patron.
  4. Users must not install software or run any programs on VPL computer equipment that has not been installed by VPL staff. Users should not develop or use programs that infiltrate a computer or computer system and/or damage or alter the software components of a local or remote computer or computing system. No alteration, damage or destruction of the library’s computer hardware is permitted.
  5. Users must have only one library card, use only their own library card and must not use other individuals' cards.
  6. Users must not use any workstation or the public wireless network for illegal, actionable, or criminal purpose, or seek access into any unauthorized areas, and must not harass other users locally or remotely.
  7. Users must not use any workstation or the public wireless network to display explicit sexual images.
  8. Users must not seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, other data, or passwords belonging to other users. Users should not represent themselves as other users.
  9. The library is not responsible for any fees incurred by use of the Internet.
  10. The library cannot guarantee the security and confidentiality of any transaction, particularly ecommerce transactions.
  11. The library is not responsible for any damage to patron disks or external devices that may be connected to or inserted into a library workstation or connected to VPL power supplies.
  12. Staff will advise users of inappropriate conduct as required and will ask that any behaviour deemed to be inappropriate cease immediately. Violations may result in loss of privileges for both th euser and the card(s) used.

Library Patrons’ Rights:

  1. Library patrons have the right to confidentiality and privacy in the use of electronic information networks to the extent possible given certain constraints such as proximity of other patrons and staff in public access settings. For legal reasons complaints from patrons that a user is accessing legally prohibited material may result in a VPL staff member intervening.
  2. The same confidentiality standards and procedures that apply to other library/public transactions will apply to the use of Internet resources. VPL will make a best effort not to store any individual information on patron Internet use or other VPL electronic information sources. VPL may store cumulative, generic statistics to assure equitable access or measure service utilization and direct information subscription purchases.
  3. Library patrons have the right to equitable access to electronic information networks.

Approved by Library Board: August 23, 2000
Revised:  May 26, 2010; March 2, 2011, July 23, 2014

james.bond@vpl.ca