Public access to the Internet

1.   Introduction

Gwynedd Libraries provide internet access and access to technology in order to support educational, cultural and recreational needs within the community.

The Internet

The internet offers a multi-formatted access to information resources.  Gwynedd Library Services do not deny legitimate access to any members of the public; however we do recognise that the resource can be open to misuse.  This policy has been created in order to protect the interests of the service. 

This policy is revised regularly in order to ensure its relativity.

2.   The internet and your responsibilities

Whilst the Internet contains a wealth of valuable and interesting information, some of this information may be inaccurate, out of date, controversial, offensive and/or illegal.

Gwynedd Library Service accepts no responsibility for the quality, accuracy or availability of information accessed through the Internet, although the Service will try to signpost sites that appear to be authoritative.

As a user, therefore, it is your personal responsibility to ensure the accuracy of information you discover.

Gwynedd Library Service assumes no liability for any loss, damage or injury, direct or indirect, suffered as a result of using these computer resources.

3.   Conditions of access

Membership

Access to computers is available to all. Those users who are not library members must produce adequate identification (driving licence, passport, ID card).

All users will be required to complete a declaration form stating that they have read and understood the library service policy on acceptable computer use and agree to abide by its terms and conditions.

Children and Young People

Children aged under 8 will be allowed Internet access only if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Children and young people between 8 and 17 will be allowed Internet access provided that a parent or legal guardian has agreed to this whilst endorsing the child’s application for library membership.

Late items/fines

We withhold the right to refuse internet access to any member that has a late item or a fine.  Access will be granted once the late items are returned or the fine is paid.  For under 18s, it will be the responsibility of the parent/guardian to ensure that there are no late items or fines on the accounts.

Cost

All computer access will be free of charge to people who live, work or study in Wales; who are members of a library in the UK, but a fee of £2.00 per session will be levied on others.  There will be a reasonable tariff for printing items.  These prices will be clearly displayed by the Library Service.

Booking a Computer Session

Sessions may be booked in advance, up to 7 days ahead, by telephone, online via e-mail or in person.

Sessions may be booked in half-hourly/hourly slots with a maximum of 2 consecutive sessions. If the demand for computers is not high at the time, a session may be extended.

Neither Gwynedd Council nor Gwynedd Library Service will be liable if, for whatever reason, the link to the network is interrupted or breaks down.
Depending on availability, some computers are available without the need for pre-booking.

4.   Your Session

Library staff will try wherever possible to help users in the proper use of the computers. However, as demand for computer access rises, staff may not always be available to give dedicated access.

Gwynedd Library Service can monitor access to Internet sites, and any public access of illegal, offensive, or controversial material may be the subject of further action.

Local authorities reserve the right to monitor and log all types of network activity including e-mail. Monitoring of computer usage may be performed electronically or manually.

Self-service

Members will need their membership number and pin number in order to log in to any self-service computer.  Every session is limited to an hour.  If the demand for computers is not high at the time, a session may be extended.

Children and young people under the age of 18 have the right to use the self-service system with the exception of the self-service computers in Bangor and Caernarfon Libraries due to the position of the computers and lack of supervision by members of staff.  Please note that the filtering software on the self-service computers are appropriate for adults and as a result, close monitoring is needed to ensure that information available on-line is appropriate.

Self-service is not available on any computer that has been designated for children and young people.

Self-service systems are available at the following libraries: Barmouth, Bangor, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Caernarfon, Dolgellau, Porthmadog, Pwllheli and Tywyn.

5.   Security

Filtering

Filtering software will be used in an attempt to screen out offensive and potentially illegal Internet material.

Disallowed Websites:

  • Adult/Sexually Explicit
  • Chat 
  • Drugs, Alcohol & Tobacco 
  • Gambling
  • Hacking 
  • Hate Speech 
  • Remote Proxies
  • Violence 
  • Weapons 

However, filtering mechanisms may, on occasion, eliminate material that is perfectly acceptable.

The library service is willing to consider releasing any such site after careful checking. Conversely, filtering software might on occasion fail to eliminate unacceptable material; neither Gwynedd Council nor the Gwynedd Library Service will accept liability for any distress caused in this way.

A greater degree of filtering is applied to those computers which have been designated for use by children. However, children may be allowed - under certain circumstances - to use computers designated for adults. We will take suitable precautions in these situations by careful monitoring.

Virus-checking software will run on all computers.

Disk-cleaning software will run on all computers; consequently, documents cannot be stored on the hard disk of the PCs.

Users may not load their own software or connect their own computer equipment to library computer equipment. 

6.   Prohibited Uses

Certain uses of the computers are prohibited. These are:-

  • Obtaining, displaying or distributing material which could be considered obscene, offensive or abusive.
  • Conducting a business online.
  • Distribution of unsolicited advertising.
  • Attempting to make unauthorised access to other computers or networks.
  • Alterations of the set up of the computers or to the software running on them.

Users should also be aware that risks are attached to some online activities:-

  • Broadcasting personal or private details over the network may lead to the receiving of unwanted mail or attention.
  • Online financial transactions are often conducted safely over secure connections. However, Gwynedd Library Service cannot be held responsible for any losses resulting from sending confidential financial information via the Internet.

7.   Prohibited use of computers on the basis of security

In some instances, access to public computer will be prohibited.

  • Following information from the Police or any respective establishment that an individual has official restriction for the use of computer, the library will refuse access to public computers and block a members account.
  • If an individual is residing in an establishment for sex offenders, the individual must have an official letter from the establishment permitting the individual to gain access to public computers.

8.   Punishment for misuse

Library staff will direct computer users to remove inappropriate images or text from the screen, if, in the staff member’s judgement, the image or text is displayed in such a way that other library users cannot reasonably avoid viewing it.

Gwynedd Library Service reserves the right to refuse further computer access to any individuals accessing or distributing materials which are deemed to be illegal or unacceptable, or have the potential to offend or disturb others. 

Library staff on site will determine whether any computer activity is unacceptable, and this determination will be subject to confirmation by a senior officer of the library service.

As well as the loss of computer privileges, other local authority disciplinary options may be applied, including criminal prosecution.

In the case of a child or young person who violates this Acceptable Use Policy, the parent or guardian who signed the consent form will be notified.

In the result of any suspicious behaviour, or following a request from the police, Gwynedd Libraries has the right to investigate the nature of any individual’s’ computer sessions.

If any misuse of the internet is discovered, the Library Services Manager will decide on the length of the prohibition, and this may lead to further investigation by the Police.