Computer and Internet Policies

Computer and Internet Policy

Internet Policy

The Somerville Public Library is dedicated to providing materials and services that meet the educational, cultural, recreational, and informational needs of all people in the community. In order to fulfill this mission, the Library makes information available in a variety of formats (including print, audiovisual, and electronic materials) and provides access to the information resources of the Internet via the Minuteman Library Network's computer system.

The Internet offers a wealth of material which enables libraries to enhance and supplement their existing collections. It allows access to ideas, information and commentary from around the globe. While much of the information on the Internet is professionally and culturally enriching, there may be material that is offensive or disturbing to some individuals, or material that may be illegal. There may also be information that is neither accurate nor current. The Somerville Public Library assumes no liability for inaccurate or out-of-date information.

As with access to all other materials in the Library's collections, patron access to the Internet is not limited in any way. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to help their children make the most of all that is available by spending time with them when they are online and by setting family guidelines for Internet use (including E-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications; and gaming) that address the information and recreational needs, as well as the safety and security of their children. Any restriction of a child's access to the Internet is the sole responsibility of the child's parent, guardian, or caregiver. For more information, see the ‘Children and Internet’ resources available through the United States Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/children-internet-safety; and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: http://origin.www.netsmartz.org/InternetSafety.

All users are required to abide by the following guidelines for Internet use:

Altering, removing, or damaging configurations, software, or hardware on library computers is not permitted.

It is also not acceptable to use library Internet access for illegal or abusive purposes, including but not limited to:

  • unauthorized copying of copyright-protected materials in any format
  • transmission of chain letters, broadcast letters, or any form of junk mail
  • transmission of threatening, obscene, or harassing materials
  • transmission of computer viruses
  • unauthorized access to local and remote computer systems, including hacking, and other unlawful activities
  • activities which interfere with or are disruptive to other users, services, or equipment
  • unauthorized disclosure of personal identification about a third party

All users are advised to exercise caution in providing personal identification information.

Viewing of certain text and/or images in the public library may infringe upon the rights of other patrons to a public space free from the display of materials that may constitute sexual harassment. Library staff reserves the right to prohibit the public display of images and/or text that meet the definition of sexual harassment as set forth in the City of Somerville's sexual harassment policy, even though those images and/or text may not be offensive to an individual patron.

In the interest of providing a safe and welcoming place for all, the library staff reserves the right to prohibit the public display of images or text of a violent nature that may be upsetting to other library users, even though those images and/or text may not be offensive to an individual patron.

The Somerville Public Library is pleased to provide wireless access to the Internet for patrons using their own Internet-accessible devices. Patrons using wireless technology to access the Internet on private devices are expected to comply with the Somerville Public Library’s Internet Policy.

The Library assumes no liability for any damage to user data or loss of user privacy sustained while using library equipment, including the Library’s wi-fi connection.

The Somerville Public Library is pleased to make the resources of the Internet available to all members of the community.

[Presented at Board of Trustees meeting March 3, 1999
approved at Board of Trustees meeting April 7, 1999]

Revised, approved by Somerville Public Library Board of Trustees, May 7, 2003

Revised, approved by Somerville Public Library Board of Trustees, February 8, 2017

Approved by City of Somerville Law Department March 22, 2017