The Westerville Public Library provides access to the Internet and other electronic services to further our mission of selecting informational and educational resources of value to our community. These services are offered in conformity with the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read policy and the Freedom to View policy.
The Internet contains many different kinds of material, some of which may be deemed to be of a controversial or offensive nature. In offering Internet access, the library staff cannot control nor assume total responsibility for:
By using the Westerville Public Library’s network, customers agree to the following:
In order to comply with contemporary community standards regarding obscenity as defined in 2907.01 of the Ohio Revised Code, the Library deems as inappropriate the following uses and practices:
Parents must share with the Library the responsibility for their children’s use of the Internet. Access to material that is considered harmful to juveniles as described in the OBSCENITY section of the Ohio Revised Code 2907.31 is not permitted because those materials do not support the mission of the Library. For more information on child safety on the Internet, we recommend viewing the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s NetSmartz program.
Those persons having a concern about access to the Internet should ask at the reference desk in the Adult Services Department for the Statement of Concern Request. The completed statement should be returned to the reference desk for processing.
Customers violating any usage guideline will be asked to stop. If the violation continues, the customers will forfeit the right to use the computers at the Westerville Public Library.
The Internet is a worldwide network of computers that contains millions of pages of information. Users are cautioned that many of these pages include offensive, sexually explicit, and inappropriate material. In general, it is difficult to avoid at least some contact with this material while using the Internet. Even innocuous search requests may lead to sites with highly offensive content. Additionally, having an e-mail address on the Internet may lead to receipt of unsolicited e-mail containing offensive content. Users accessing the Internet do so at their own risk and the Westerville Public Library is not responsible for material viewed or downloaded by users from the Internet.
To minimize these risks, your use of the Internet at the Westerville Public Library is governed by the following policy:
Our Acceptable Use Policy notes the vast amount of information and opinions from varied points of view available on the Internet. The Internet is not monitored; users may encounter material they find offensive. Parents and guardians of minor children are encouraged to use available resources to guide their children's use of the Internet, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s NetSmartz program.
In order to comply with contemporary community standards regarding obscenity as defined in Section 2907.01 of the Ohio Revised Code, the library deems as inappropriate the following uses and practices:
ALA is an advocate for libraries, librarians and library trustees through publications, continuing education, legislative assistance, and promotion of libraries and reading. The Westerville Public Library is an institution member receiving subscriptions and member discounts on publications, workshops and conferences worth far more than the annual membership fee.
The American Library Association urges adoption of its recommended policies such as the ALA's Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View policies, but ALA also encourages libraries to provide service to meet the needs of their local community.
Several policies of the Westerville Public Library differ from ALA guidelines, such as Internet access, and confidentiality of customer records. Our selection policy refers to print and non-print materials but is also applicable to electronic resources. Westerville's policies hold parents and guardians responsible for their children's selections and materials checked out on minor's cards; we include an exception to confidentiality of customer records and will release information on a minor's card to parents or guardians.
The library uses a filter software application to screen all public computers having Internet access. This product is highly interactive, allowing library staff to quickly access, block or unblock sites and works well in our network environment.
The Westerville Public Library blocks sites, not words, so as to not block health, medical and other information which through key word searching might become inaccessible. This software has proven effective in enforcing the library's Appropriate Use Policies. However, no system is foolproof. Further monitoring or restrictions are the sole responsibility of the parent or guardian. The library encourages parents and guardians to educate themselves and their children of safety issues regarding Internet access. Again, we recommend viewing the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s NetSmartz program.
Customers who access pornographic sites, attempt to access password functions and otherwise violate the Acceptable Use Policy are abusing computer services and are subject to losing computer, Internet and perhaps library privileges. Library staff will intervene by following procedures to address policy violations, including securing name, address, library card, issuing a "cease and desist" warning, and up to termination of library card and/or use of the building.
If library staff find through their own searches or a customer questions sites which seem inappropriate, they are to call, email or send notes with the Web address to Computer Services Department, or appropriate selector to request the site be reviewed.
This written form is used for all formats including web sites and will be offered to customers who wish to register an official request to unblock a specific site. They may leave the form with staff for forwarding to the Computer Services Department.
As the important national debate in courts and Congress continues balancing intellectual freedom with protection of minors from pornographic and sexually explicit materials, we will revise our policies and practices to comply with those decisions.