Acceptable Internet Use Policy

Mission Statement / Rationale for Internet Access

The Mission of the Hampton Public Library is to "ensure that Hampton citizens have the intellectual tools for a lifetime of learning and civic participation". To this end the library has emphasized four areas of concentration: sound early childhood development; guidance to knowledge; collections and connections; and, the library as a community place to learn. The library has added focused Internet capability to its array of print and audio-visual resources in order to better fulfill its educational role in the community. Library policy is, therefore, formulated to make best use of the library's Internet capability in support of our educational mission and to allocate this limited resource equitably among library members.

Content Issues

Access to the Internet's World Wide Web enables the library to provide much valuable information beyond the confines of its own collection. The Internet is, however, an unregulated medium with no guarantee of accuracy, completeness, currency or even truthfulness. Individual web sites may also contain controversial, offensive and even illegal content. The library cannot be responsible for the content of Internet information and the user is cautioned to be aware of Internet limitations. The library may use software to focus use of our Internet terminals on sites and uses more in keeping with our educational mission and collection development policy. Users who find their searches blocked may ask for staff assistance with their information inquiry. Adult users may request unfiltered access or that blocking software be turned off for full access to Constitutionally protected speech, however all users should be aware that the accessing, display or printing of obscene or illegal content is prohibited. Chat room access is not supported on our equipment and e-mail functionality is not guaranteed.

Youth Access

Internet web sites may contain inaccurate or controversial content. Individual sites may also contain content considered by parents to be inappropriate or even harmful for their children. Sites containing materials deemed harmful to minors/juveniles, under applicable law, shall remain blocked to youth access within the limitations of library software. Parents should address the issues of their children's safety and security when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications. They should especially caution their children against the disclosure of personal information over the Internet. While the library does use software, which attempts to focus Internet use on sites more appropriate to our educational mission and charges employees to provide casual monitoring of patrons' Internet use, parents must assume ultimate responsibility for their children's use of the Internet. The library offers Internet access to all card-holding members, including children. Minors (children under the age of 18) must have written parental permission to obtain a library membership card. Parents are urged to take an active role in their children's exploration of the Internet and to seek staff assistance in the effective use of the Internet and other library resources.

Procedural & Policy Issues

  • The Internet is available to all library members free of charge. Juveniles must present a library card; adults must present a library card or picture ID.
  • One 60-minute reservation is allowed per day. (If no one is waiting additional time may be granted.)
  • Reservations may be made up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Staff assistance with the Internet may be limited by other demands for customer assistance.
  • Chat room access is not supported by library software. E-mail functionality is not guaranteed on library equipment.
  • Downloading to the computer's hard drive is not permitted.
  • The accessing, display or printing of obscene or illegal content, including child pornography, is prohibited. See Code of Virginia 18.2-372. ("Obscene" defined.)
  • Unauthorized access, including so-called "hacking" and other unlawful activities by both adults and minors is prohibited.
  • Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors is prohibited.
  • Adults may have access to the Internet without "Technology Protection Measures". All aspects of Hampton's Internet Acceptable Use Policy apply whether or not filtering software is in use.
  • Failure to comply with the Hampton Public Library's acceptable use policy may result in the loss of Internet use privilege.
Approved by Hampton City Council June 12, 2002.