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Computing Use Policy

In keeping with our mission to make accessible the broadest possible information in a variety of formats, the Port Arthur Public Library (PAPL) via the Houston Area Library Automated Network (HALAN) has adopted standards for computer use.

The Library and HALAN cannot control and are not responsible for the content, accuracy, or use of information accessed over the Internet. All patrons are encouraged to be cautious in their use of e-mail, chat rooms, message boards, and other forms of electronic communications, since information they provide can be misused compromising their safety and placing their security at risk.

The Library utilizes filtering or blocking technology that protects Internet users visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or (in the case of use by minors) harmful to minors. Users should be aware, however, that no filter is perfect and some information may be inappropriately blocked or unblocked. If you identify a site which you believe should be blocked or unblocked from our filter, you are encouraged to report this to the staff in the administration office and the matter will be reviewed.

Parents and guardians are responsible for ensuring that minors in their care are not involved in the unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding the minor. Any restriction of a minor's access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. We cannot ensure that unauthorized minors will not access the Library's Internet connection.

Users who fail to abide by the Computer Use Policy will be instructed to choose another Internet site or terminate their computing session. Failure to comply with these instructions may result in loss of computing use privileges.

Patron Use Restrictions
Patrons are expected to use the Internet in a responsible manner. Use restrictions include the following:

  • Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Use of the library's computing resources is available to individuals with a valid identification card. (E.g. driver's license, corporate/organization/state/school ID card, library card, etc.).
  • The computer access will be on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Internet use is limited to 1 hour per session. A longer session may be permitted if no other patron is waiting to use the computer. Patrons must relinquish the computer within 5 minutes of being informed by Library staff that another person is waiting.
  • Users may not view materials which are sexually explicit materials or otherwise inappropriate for use in a public setting.
  • Users may not attempt in any way to alter, damage, abuse, or sabotage computer equipment or software; alter configurations; or install any software.
  • Users are liable for costs (including legal fees) arising from their malicious damage or use of Library equipment and software.
  • Users may not use Library terminals for illegal purposes, or violate licensing agreements and Copyright Laws.
  • Users may not user Library terminals for any activity that is deliberately offensive or creates an intimidating or hostile environment.
  • Users are not permitted to access sites¬†which may be unsuitable for juveniles in the children's area.
  • Users may not use personal software. This restriction is in place to prevent viral infection of the Library's computers.
  • If patrons are experiencing problems with the computer or its programs, they should notify Library staff immediately.

If a patron is less than 18 years of age, the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) are financially responsible for any damage to Library equipment. Misusing the equipment or violating this policy will result in the loss of PAPL/Internet privileges, and may result in loss of Library privileges.

Assistance from Staff
Library staff can offer basic instruction to patrons in use of the Internet, but they may be unable to assist users in searching through the many sites available via the Internet. Internet users should have a minimal level of computer experience and be able to use the mouse. Users with disabilities should contact the Reference Staff for any special needs that the Library may be able to supply.

Printing and Downloading
Downloading files from the Internet is at the patron's own risk. Patrons should bring their own diskettes.

Printing and Downloading must be completed within posted time limits. Printing costs $.10 per page. The Library reserves the right to increase charges for printing or to charge for downloading in the future, as rising costs or excessive use of printing or downloading may force recovery of costs.

The Copyright Law of the United Sates (Title 17, U. S. Code) governs the reproduction of copyrighted material. Responsibility for any possible copyright infringement lies solely with the user. The Library assumes no responsibility of liability resulting from patrons' infringement of the copyright law.

Software downloaded from the Internet may contain viruses, worms, or trojans. Users are cautioned to use virus-checking software before opening files on their own computers. The Library is not responsible for damage to a user's diskette or computer, or for any loss of data, damage, or liability that may occur from a patron's use of the Library's computer services.

(Board Approved - 5/24/05)