Use of the Internet Policy

The Sussex County Library’s mission is to provide the residents of Sussex County with the library resources and services that contribute towards the fulfillment of their educational, informational, and recreational needs.  The library provides access to information, regardless of format or technology.  In conjunction with the library’s mission, the library offers access to the Internet.

1.     The Internet is available to all patrons, including residents and non-residents, cardholders and non-cardholders, on selected computers in the Main Library and the branches.

2.     The Sussex County Library has filters (blocking software) installed and activated on all computers for patrons and staff.  The specific filter will be determined by the library’s professional staff, and the filter will fully comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).  The filters will make a good faith effort to protect against accessing Internet materials that are obscene, contain child pornography, or material that is harmful to individuals under the age of seventeen.  No filter can guarantee that all materials that should be blocked will be blocked.  Therefore, the library cannot be held responsible for the accessing of objectionable material that the filter fails to block, and the library will have no liability for damages related to the operation of, or failure of, the filtering software, or for its circumvention by users.

3.     Patrons will know they are using filtered computers, and for those individuals who are seventeen years of older, they will know they have the right to access blocked sites or have the filter disabled.  This will be done with signage and with staff education.  The unblocking of a site, or disabling the filter, will be done as quickly as possible and in the least intrusive manner.

4.     On those computers solely used by staff, the same procedures will be in place—i.e., filters will be installed on all computers.  The unblocking of sites, or the disabling of filters, will only be allowed for staff who are over the age of seventeen, and will only be for library-related purposes.

5.     The disabling of a filter, for individuals over the age of seventeen, will be done by staff.  The library will disable filters upon request by individuals seventeen or older, for any lawful purpose.  It’s fully understood that for individuals over the age of seventeen that these individuals have a constitutional right to view pornographic images.  For those individuals who want to have filters disabled, they may have to show proof-of-age (this will be done at the discretion of the library staff).

6.     Under all circumstances, individuals under the age of seventeen can only use a computer that has an activated filter.  The library will unblock erroneously blocked sites upon request by minors.

7.     In all libraries of the Sussex County Library System, the library has computers that are designated for minors (under the age of seventeen).  Whenever possible, these are the computers that minors will use.  The filters are intended to block access to inappropriate matter on the Internet.  The filters do not always block, or limit access, to all sites and information that they are designed to restrict, and they diminish the likelihood users will inadvertently retrieve text or images they may find offensive, but do not eliminate that possibility.

8.     The library has filters that are intended to prevent minors from accessing visual depictions that are (1) obscene, (2) child pornography, or (3) harmful to minors.  The term "harmful to minors" is defined by the Communications Act of 1934 (47 USC Section 254 [h][7]), as meaning any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals; taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.

9.     The library allows access, for minors, to chat rooms, electronic mail, and other functions of the Internet; filters will help regulate the use of these functions and will help adhere to the requirement that minors’ access to harmful materials will be restricted.

10.     Unauthorized access, by minors and other patrons, including hacking and other unlawful activities, is prohibited.

11.     The unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors is prohibited.

12.     All Internet computers will be regulated by the library and its staff.  This will include, but will not be limited to, the designation of specific computers to access the Internet, the method of signing up for use on a computer, the means of downloading a file, and the mechanics of printing material.

13.     Patrons using the Internet will be allowed access to all basic functions.  Email will be available through free web sites, such as Yahoo mail.

14.     The staff will try to help patrons, to the best of their knowledge, in using the Internet, but the library cannot guarantee that the staff will be  able to answer all questions on using the Internet or accessing all sites.  The use of any function or tool must be in compliance with CIPA.

15.     The library reserves the right to end any Internet session at any time.

16.     The library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from its connection to the Internet.

17.     The Internet computers cannot be used in violation of any Federal, State, or Local law.

18.     Any patron who does not abide by the Internet policy may be prohibited, temporarily or permanently, from using the Internet, and, if necessary, can be removed from the library.

Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders