Computer & Internet Policy

Policy

The Henrico County Public Library provides access to a wide range of services and materials through the use of computer workstations and public network resources. In order to provide fair and equitable public access to computer-based resources, the Library employs time sessions, printing, and management of computer equipment through the use of a computer software program.

Computer users are bound by local, state, and federal laws relating to copyright, security, obscenity, materials harmful to juveniles and other laws regarding electronic media. Specifically, the Code of Virginia prohibits the use of library computers to: access child pornography (Va. Code section 18.2-374.1:1); communicate threats (Va. Code section 18.2-60); inappropriately display material harmful to juveniles (Va. Code section 18.2-391); produce, publish, sell or possess obscene items (Va. Code section 18.2-374, 18.2-374.1); or, to facilitate certain offenses involving children (Va. Code section 18.2-374.3). Federal law requires enforcement of a policy that protects against all access to obscenity and child pornography and that protects against access by minors to materials harmful to them (47 U.S.C. sections 254(h)(6)(B)(i) and (C)(i)). Violations of law will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

Customers may not use the Library's computer network for any illegal activity, such as violating the rights of third parties, or in a manner inconsistent with the Library's tax-exempt status or its proper operation. Unauthorized entry into other computational, informational or communication services or other resources is not allowed. Customers may not distribute unsolicited advertising or invade the privacy of others using Library computers or networking resources.

Public "wi-fi" access is provided in all branches except for the Mobile Library Services. Wi-fi connections are filtered at the Intermediate level.

The library reserves the right to limit or revoke library privileges including computer privileges and access to its computer and network resources. Misuse or unauthorized use of library computers and information resources may result in revocation of library privileges. If such action is taken, the customer will be informed by letter from the Library Director. The Henrico County Public Library complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code). Unauthorized copying of computer software, whether by staff or customers, is an infringement of that law and is not allowed on Library computers.

The Library is not responsible for any damages that may occur as a result of conditions beyond our control such as computer viruses, electrical malfunctions, power surges, etc.

Guidelines for Use

Use of Computer Workstations

  1. Computers are available for public use on a first-come, first-served basis. Henrico County Public Library customers with valid library cards can log in on public computers using their library card numbers and PINs.
  2. A Visitor Card is available to those individuals who are visiting the Richmond area for a very short period of time. A visitor's permanent address must be outside the Richmond area, i.e., the user is not living in Henrico County, Chesterfield County, City of Richmond, or any of the Pamunkey Regional Library Counties (Goochland, Hanover, King William and King & Queen).
  3. Users transferred to the area on business for a number of months must apply for an $13.00 Temporary Library Card or a $25.00 Non-Resident Library Card. A Temporary or Non-Resident Card allows for the options of unfiltered access to the Internet, a daily 2-hour limit on the PCs, and checkout privileges. If a user has a permanent job in the area, lives outside the Richmond area, and plans to use the Library on a regular basis he/she would not be considered a visitor.
  4. Use of computer workstations is limited to a total of two hours per day to ensure that the maximum number of customers will have fair and equitable access to the computers. Visitor Card use of computer workstations is limited to a total of one hour per day.
  5. Users must not attempt to damage any computer equipment or software (Va. Code section. 18.2 – 138).
  6. Customers must send materials to the printer before the Library closes or before their session ends. Warnings are provided on the computer screen at 30 minutes, 15 minutes and 5 minutes before the session ends.
  7. Work can be saved to the customer's removable media, e.g., diskette, writeable CD, or USB storage device. When a customer's session has ended, their work is no longer available on the PC.
  8. Customers cannot use sounds or visuals that disrupt other Library customers.

Public Use of the Internet

Henrico County Public Library provides access to Internet resources. The Library does not monitor and has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and assumes responsibility only for the information provided on its home pages.

Parents are responsible for monitoring their children's use of the internet.

In choosing sources to link to its home pages, the Library follows its materials selection guidelines. However, the Library cannot be responsible for changes in content of the sources to which its home pages link, or for the content of sources accessed through secondary links.

The Internet offers access to many valuable local, national, and international sources of information. However, some information found on the Internet may be inaccurate, incomplete, dated, or offensive to some individuals. An informed information consumer must evaluate the validity and appropriateness of any information found.

  1. Filtering: Pursuant to § 42.1-36.1 of the Code of Virginia, on those computers that are accessible to the public and have Internet access, filtering technology has been implemented to block Internet access through such computers to child pornography as defined in § 18.2-374.1:1, obscenity as defined in § 18.2-372, and, with respect to minors, materials deemed harmful to juveniles as defined in § 18.2-390. In order to block access to materials that may be inappropriate for juveniles, public computers in Children's areas are always filtered. At customer log-in, all public PCs default to this same level of filtering regardless of age.
  2. Teens 14 to 17 have the option of choosing an Intermediate filter that will allow social networking sites.
  3. Adults (18 and older) have the option of choosing intermediate or unfiltered access at non-children's-designated computers for bona fide research or other lawful purpose.
  4. Because no filtering solution is 100% effective, parents or legal guardians are responsible for deciding which library resources are appropriate for their own children. You may inquire at either the Children's or Adult Information Desks for information on children and the Internet.
  5. Internet Functions Supported: Customers may use the Library's Internet connection to access accounts such as email as long as they do not require any alteration of the computer's resources or files.
  6. Public Internet User's Security: Users should be aware that the Internet is not a secure medium and that third parties may be able to obtain information regarding users' activities. However, the Henrico County Public Library will not release information on the use of specific Internet resources by members of the public except as required by law or necessary for the proper operation of the Library.

Public Use of WI-FI Access Points

  1. Patrons may use their personal laptop computers to access the HCPL public access wi-fi network. Library cards are not required to access the wi-fi network, but patrons will be required to accept the HCPL Computer Use Policy upon connection to the network.
  2. Patrons are required to use headphones to listen to audio/video files while inside the library.
  3. Printing from personal laptop computers is not available.
  4. Wi-fi access is filtered at the Intermediate level. Filtering of public wireless access cannot be changed by patrons regardless of age.

Charges and Supplies

  1. Customers are charged for printing on the Library's paper as follows:
    • Black and white (laser) printouts: 10¢ per sheet
    • Color (where available): $1.00 per sheet
  2. Payment is made by deducting the cost of printing from a balance carried in the customer's account. Money/value may be added to a customer's account at the Circulation Desk or at an Account Payment Machine (APM), where available. Visitors may pay for their copies at the Circulation Desk.
  3. Customers can use their own paper in Library printers if they need other than white paper. The charge is the same as for printing on the Library's paper.
  4. Flash drives are available for purchase at Library Circulation Desks for $10.00 each.
  5. Earbuds are available for purchase at Library Circulation Desks for $2.00 each.

Staff Assistance

Library staff provides limited assistance for basic start-up procedures, but cannot offer in-depth personal instruction in the use of a personal computer or software applications other than the Library's own automation software and electronic databases. Instructional materials are available to users who have never used computers or have specific questions about software or online resources. Online tutorials and help are also available on some software applications. In general, the role of Library staff is that of helper, facilitator, guide, or coach. Any customer who needs more than basic assistance and guidance is encouraged to attend scheduled Library supported classes or to enroll in professionally provided computer education programs.

Henrico Library Policy & Procedures Manual 5.11-5 Updated: 11-27-07, 1-31-2011