The Elgin County Library (ECL) provides space within its branches for public access computers, wireless connectivity and use of personal devices to access online resources as part of its mission to provide “a welcoming, inclusive and supportive environment that fosters lifelong learning, creative expression, community engagement and cultural vitality in harmony with a rural way of life.” An online service refers to any information or service that is provided through a data network. The library makes available these online services within its branches to allow users to connect to resources for educational, informational and recreational purposes. Nevertheless, there are risks associated with such usage that do require the establishment of appropriate safeguards. This policy establishes these safeguards and makes user responsibilities and obligations clear.
This policy applies to members of the public accessing online services using all types of devices in library spaces. This includes:
ECL will generally be guided by its Collection Development Policy when providing access to online resources. This means that the library supports the individual’s right to access ideas and information representing all points of view with reasonable expectations of privacy and confidentiality while doing so. Staff do not monitor or censor content.
Data networks offer material that is inappropriate for viewing by the general public, particularly children. The County’s Information Technology Department subscribes to a filtering service in order to block access to inappropriate sites. Such filtering encompasses online access provided by the library through public computer stations and wireless networks. Such filtering cannot encompass personal devices connected to a network that is not controlled by the library. Nevertheless, the terms of this policy shall apply to all devices. Access to inappropriate resources, including those that contain profanity, pornography, sedition, the incitement of hate or the promotion of illegal activity shall not be tolerated, regardless of the device being used and regardless of the network to which it is connected.
Online filtering does not guarantee that all inappropriate material will be blocked. Parents or guardians are expected to monitor and supervise their children’s use of online resources. Patrons may request that library staff unblock a site if it is deemed appropriate by staff. Patron confidentiality will be respected when such requests are made.
To maximize availability of online resources and to ensure fair accessibility for all, patrons must follow these rules and procedures:
All users of online services provided at library branches, whether these services are accessed through public computer stations, wireless connections or use of personal devices and networks, are expected to use these resources in a responsible and ethical manner. Such uses include educational, informational and recreational purposes.
Unacceptable and inappropriate use of online resources includes, but is not limited to:
Unacceptable or inappropriate use of online resources at ECL branches will result in the temporary or permanent suspension of library privileges.