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Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Internet Safety and Use Policy

Philosophy

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) is committed to providing free and open access to informational, educational, recreational and cultural resources for library users of all ages and backgrounds. Throughout its history, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has made information available in a variety of formats, from print materials to audiovisual materials. The library's computer system provides the opportunity to integrate electronic resources from information networks around the world with the library's other resources.

Free wireless Internet access for customers who bring their own laptops with wireless cards is offered at all Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will provide its customers equal access to all formats of information. The same access to subjects and content that is provided to children in print and audio formats will be provided via the Internet when available.

Provision of access to the Internet does not mean or imply that the library endorses or sanctions the content or point of view of any of the information or commentary found on the Internet. The Internet is an unregulated medium. Library staff cannot control access points, which often change rapidly and unpredictably. Accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of information found on the Internet vary widely. The Internet does contain material of a controversial nature. Some information accessed electronically on the Internet may not meet the criteria in the library's Collection Development Policy. Users must use critical judgment in relying on information found on the Internet and to determine what information is appropriate to their needs.

 

Security

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's free wireless network is not a secure network. We recommend that customers do not use this network for the transfer of sensitive data, such as credit card numbers or bank account numbers, even while using the encryption built into customers' web browsers. This data would be vulnerable during transit on the network. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh accepts no liability for any loss of privacy or data customers may experience.

 

Illegal uses of Library computers

Misuse of the computer, including customers' laptops using CLP's wireless access, will result in the loss of computer privileges, potential loss of library privileges and possible prosecution. Such misuse includes, but is not limited to, viewing material which is obscene or "harmful to minors"; using the computer for illegal activities; sending spam; hacking into the library computer system or any other computer system; damaging or attempting to damage computer equipment or software; interfering with systems operations, integrity or security; gaining unauthorized access to another person's files; sending harassing messages to other computer users; altering or attempting to alter the library computer's settings; and violating copyright laws and software licensing agreements.

The U.S. Federal Courts and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Law have set forth definitions of "obscenity" and what is "harmful to minors".

"Obscenity" is limited to bestiality and child pornography.

"Harmful to Minors" involves materials or performances that involve explicit sexual materials that depict nudity, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse and appeal predominantly to prurient, shameful or morbid interest of minors, is offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community and taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value for minors. Pennsylvania Obscenity Statute - 18 Pa.C.S. 5903

The Pennsylvania Legislature has expressly exempted public libraries from prosecution for displaying or permitting the display of obscene materials to minors. Possession of or viewing child pornography is illegal and subject to federal and state prosecution.

 

Parents and Children

It is a parent's or guardian's responsibility to monitor and evaluate a child's selection of materials.

Parents and children are strongly encouraged to readSafeKids.com: Internet safety & civility for kids & parents and SafeTeens.Com: Internet safety for teens together. In particular, the sections Guidelines for Parents, My Rules for Internet Safety, and Basic Rules of Online Safety for Teens provide important assistance in helping minors to be safe while using the Internet.

Parents or legal guardians, and not the Library or its staff, however, are responsible for monitoring their children's use of the Internet and for the information selected and / or accessed by their children. The Library strongly encourages parents or legal guardians to supervise their children's Internet use and to provide them with guidelines about acceptable use. Library staff cannot monitor or supervise a child's use of the internet.

Members of the Library staff are available to assist parents with advice about their children's use of the Internet and to answer questions or concerns. The Library has created web pages for children that provide content and links to other Web sites that, in the professional opinion of the library staff, parents or legal guardians will find appropriate for their children.

 

CIPA and NCIPA Legislation

The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Children's Internet Protection Act (NCIPA) went into effect April 20, 2001. This law requires public libraries receiving certain federal funds to adopt Internet safety policies that address the safety of minors accessing the Internet in libraries. CIPA requires all computers in a public library to be filtered by July 1, 2004 if that library accepts any federal funds for Internet access or computers used for Internet access. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is complying with this law as a member of the eiNetwork consortium, which receives a significant amount of federal funding to provide Internet access to over 85 libraries around Allegheny County.

The Library provides access to Internet resources equally to all library users and upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected material.

Updated March 29, 2013

 

Further Information

See also Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's