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Computer, Internet, and Wireless Use Policies
Rules for Computer and Internet Use | Wireless Use | Restrictions, Filtering, and Privacy | Downloading | Printing Charges and Refunds | Guidance for Use of the Internet |
The Library maintains access to the Internet
as an electronic tool for
customers and staff to locate information. As a
matter of policy grounded in the First Amendment
and existing law, the library affirms the right
of individuals to have access to constitutionally
Rules for Computer and Internet Use
To maximize the availability of limited resources
and to ensure fair access to all, customers are
expected to follow the library's rules. Violation
of these rules may result in loss of web access
or library privileges. Library
staff has full authority to enforce these policies
and procedures as well as policies related to general
behavior in the library. Please note that public computers in the libraries shut down ten minutes before closing.
- Customers whose library card accounts are blocked because they owe $25 or more in fines or fees will not be able to use the libraries' computers. Read more about paying fines.
- Customers whose library cards have expired will not be able to use the libraries' computers. To renew a library card account, all fines and fees must be paid. Read more about renewing library card accounts.
- The time limits on Internet/Word/Excel/PowerPoint computers are:
- 30 minutes per session and 60 minutes total per day on Children’s Room computers;
- 15 minutes on an Express computers; and
- 60 minutes per session and 120 minutes total per day on adult computers.
- Each individual may have up to 120 minutes per day. Even if that person has access to several cards, he or she may still only use up to 120 minutes per day.
- There is no time limit on the use of the catalog/database computers, unless a customer monopolizes the machine to the point where other customers are unable to access it.
- Customers must have their library card number
and PIN to use the Internet, Word, Excel, or PowerPoint or
to print from any PC. For cardholders who do not have their cards with them but have appropriate identification, staff will look up and provide their card numbers.
- If a staff member suspects that a computer user is using another customer’s card without permission, the staff member may approach the computer user and ask for the name of the person who granted permission to use the card. The card owner may be contacted to ensure permission has been granted.
- People who want to use MCPL computers but are ineligible for a library account can show proof of out-of-state residence (for example, a driverís license) to receive a guest card that expires at day's end.
- Customers using workstations should not interfere
with or disrupt other users. The equipment must
be shared and used in a manner that respects
the rights of others. Library staff has full
authority to manage the use of equipment to achieve
these ends. Users
must relinquish computers if a staff member asks them to do so.
- Equipment and software must be used as installed.
Customers must not reconfigure the workstations,
load new software, or run their own software.
- Customers use library computers at their own risk.
- Customers may bring their own headphones to use with library computers.
- Under State Law, it is a misdemeanor to damage
the equipment in any way: " ...
a person may not unlawfully take, detain, mutilate,
injure or disfigure books ... or any property
of any library." (Annotated Code of Maryland
- Customers are expected to be considerate of
others when viewing Internet materials. Staff
will intervene to ensure compliance with State
law: " ... a county library
shall ... Adopt and implement policies and procedures
to prevent minors from obtaining access through
the library, by means of the Internet, the World
Wide Web, Usenet, or any other interactive computer
service to materials that are obscene or constitute
child pornography ..." (Annotated Code
of Maryland, Education 23-506.1) Many children
are in the library, and may see materials on
computer screens being used by others. Under
some circumstances, so that the Library can comply with Maryland law, customers may be required
to use a privacy screen.
- If staff believes that a customer is printing,
downloading, e-mailing or otherwise distributing
child pornography, the police will be called
- Users are responsible for compliance with all
copyright notices and restrictions attached to
web content as well as all applicable state and
- Computers in children's areas are
for children's use only. No one over 12 years
may use these computers for any purpose unless
accompanying a child.
- Branch staff have full authority to designate
certain computers for specific purposes (for
ex. e-mail only, library catalog only, health
information only, etc.) in order to manage access
to limited resources. These designations may
change from day to day or even hour to hour depending
on user needs.
- To book specific workstations:
- Customers wishing to use the ADA PC should identify themselves to
the Information Desk staff. They will be placed first in the waiting list
for that specific machine, getting it after the customer using it is finished.
Customers with the special ADA sticker on the library card can be given
up to 30 minutes additional time on the PC.
- Children, ages 12 and under, will first be assigned to a PC in
the Children's Room by the session management software. If all PC's
in the Children's Room are in use, the child will be assigned to a
PC in the Adult area. If a child wishes to use a Children's Room computer instead of the assigned Adult one, the child must make this request
to an Information Desk staff member, who will place that child next
in the waiting list for a Children's Room PC.
Wi-Fi is available at all branches except the Gaithersburg Interim Branch at Lakeforest Mall.
Wireless service is available during branch hours only and will end 15 minutes before the library closes. No special encryption
settings, user names, or passwords are required. You cannot access the library's printers from your wireless device. Use at your own risk.
You may experience fluctuating bandwidth on the libraries' public wireless, depending upon how many people are using the wireless connection and what they are downloading. Streaming video and some online games consume large amounts of bandwidth. Some areas of our library buildings may not be close enough to a wireless router and may have lower signals and slower speeds.
- The Library is not responsible for
the privacy of information you transfer over
our network. See tips for using public wi-fi networks safely from OnGuardOnline.gov.
- You are
responsible for ensuring that your computer has security protection against viruses and other malware. You use the library's wireless network
at your own risk.
- The Library assumes no responsibility for damage,
theft, or loss of a customer’s equipment,
software, data files or other personal property
brought into or used at the Library's facilities.
- Library staff is not able to provide technical
assistance. You are responsible
for your own equipment. The library does not take
responsibility for any changes you make to your
computer's settings and cannot make any guarantee
about the compatibility of your equipment with
the library's network.
- There is no guarantee that you will have wireless
access at any library branch at any specific
time or with any specific equipment. Service
disruptions may occur, and some equipment may
not be compatible.
- The Library does not guarantee that you will
have access to every Internet site using the
Restrictions, Filtering, and Privacy
MCPL reserves the right to block certain ports and protocols over the library network. Customers may receive a message that an activity is blocked and peer-to-peer applications will not work.
The following are restricted categories and protocols:
SMTP [Port 25]
P2P file sharing
Computers designated for children are filtered for adult content and are restricted to children 12 years old and under.
Customers who wish to filter their Internet searches may use search engines with filtering options, such as Google SafeSearch or Yahoo SafeSearch.
The library cannot
be responsible for passersby
seeing what websites are being
used in the library. Upon request, the library
offers privacy screens that limit the ability
of people passing by to see what is displayed
on workstation screens.
When customers logout
at the end of their computer sessions, nothing is saved on the computer's hard drive. The
cache of Internet sites visited is cleared automatically.
Customers who wish to may also clear the cache themselves
prior to logout. The Pharos automated Internet
sign-up system purges customer session sign-up
records within 36 hours.
For more information about the confidentiality of computer use records, see MCPL's Privacy Policies.
Users may save information
from the library computers to their personal flash drives or to free personal accounts on cloud-computing platforms, such as Google Docs or SkyDrive. Users may not save to the hard drives of library computers.
Printing Charges and Refunds
- Printing from all library computers is $.15 per page.
You will not be able to use library printers from your wireless device.
- Circulation records, information about customer
accounts, ILL information, and up to three pages
of information to answer customer information/reference questions
will be printed free
by staff at the service desks.
- Fifteen cents is the minimum that can be added
to a customer's session management printing account, and $15.00 is the recommended maximum
that can be added. Payments by check must be for at least $1.00. Unused money from a session management printing account will not
- MCPL will issue refunds
for photocopies or computer print-outs only if the machine produced a blurred, black, or
otherwise unreadable copy or if the paper leaves the machine torn or wrinkled.
- Customers should always use Print Preview
before sending a print job to make sure that the number of pages is
correct, that no blank pages show, and that the text on the page is complete.
Printing a blank page or a page with missing text does not constitute
a bad copy for refund purposes.
Guidance for Using the Internet
The Library cannot monitor
or control the content of any individual Internet
site and assumes responsibility only for the information
provided on its own website.
Links from the Library's web page to any product,
service, or information do not constitute an endorsement.
With this in mind, please note the following suggestions:
- Users should evalute the
accuracy, completeness, and currency of Internet
sites. See Evaluating
- Users are cautioned that the Internet is not
always secure and that the privacy of credit
card transactions and other communications is
are urged to work with their children in the
proper use of the Internet and its resources. Children's
Internet use is the responsibility of parents,
not of library staff. Internet computers in
the children's areas of the branches are equipped
with filtering software. Filters are an imperfect
technology and do not provide a guarantee of
complete content screening. MCPL's Kidsite has links selected for children.
For more information on children and the Internet, see Child
Safety on the Internet.
- Staff members are able to provide users with
limited assistance for getting started on the
Internet but cannot offer in-depth personal
instruction. MCPL offers computer classes and circulates many titles about computers and the Internet.
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