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Public Internet & Computer Use Policy


September 1, 2009

Integral to public library service is the provision of diverse information in multiple formats to meet the information needs of the entire community. Every public library endeavors to develop collections, resources and services to meet such needs. That goal is emphasized in the mission of Westlake Porter Public Library: Through diverse resources and services and easy access to "educate, empower, engage, enlighten, and excite the public." It is within this context that Westlake Porter Public Library offers free access to the Internet via the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN). OPLIN services are provided and funded by the State of Ohio.

Providing access to the Internet and other electronic resources enhances the library's collection through the Internet's immediate access to a variety of up-to-date information.

The same standards of intellectual freedom, privacy, and confidentiality endorsed by the library for traditional resources and services will also be applied to electronic media, including usage of the Internet. The library is mindful of its commitment to the principles of freedom of access but sensitive to the fact that the library's computers are in a public location subject to view by a wide audience. Staff members reserve the right to prohibit material that, in their judgment, is inappropriate for viewing in a public area, particularly as it relates to Ohio's "harmful to minors" law.

Finally, the library cannot be held responsible for the technical reliability of the OPLIN or the Internet, or any loss or inconvenience users may suffer as a result of a system disruption. Although the library makes every effort to maintain reliable equipment and procedures, some "down time" is unavoidable and can occur at any time. Specific sites on the World Wide Web may be unavailable because that system may, for example, have failed, is too "busy," may have "moved," may only be available to certain institutions or members, or may no longer exist.


The library has a policy of open access. The user need not have a library card. Usage is not restricted by age (supervision is the parent's responsibility), is not prioritized by information need (everyone's information need is important to him or her), and is not restricted by residency.

Our Youth Services web page features links to websites of special interest to children. Informational programs for parents on this topic are scheduled, as needed. Information about the library's policy is on the registration form for children's borrower's cards.

The number of individuals using a single computer workstation is limited by the discretion of staff. The size of the group may not encroach on neighboring workstations. Group work can be a valuable learning and sharing experience. However, if the group creates a disturbance to others' effective use of the library, they will be asked to correct their behaviors, disband, and/or to leave the building. Large groups interested in reserving computers for teaching purposes are encouraged to ask at the Group Services Desk about reserving the Computer Training Lab.

To ensure equal access to the library's computer resources our automated computer scheduling system may impose a maximum daily time or login limit.

There are electrical outlets in the Study Rooms, on the curved wall near the Large Print and nonfiction stacks, and in other public areas of the building. Customers using their own laptop computers may use these outlets, provided that no cord is left lying across carpeting. Outlets in columns cannot be safely used for this purpose.

The library has installed data jacks and phone jacks so that customers with laptop computers can access the Internet. To use a data jack (orange and labeled D) a customer must have an installed network interface card on his computer and a category 5 patch cord. Customers who prefer to use a phone jack hook up need a phone cord. Both category 5 patch cords and phone cords are available at the Reference Desk. A form of ID is required to borrow the cords and is kept at the Reference desk while cords are being used.

As with other equipment in the library, library staff may reserve certain times in order to provide library tours or to conduct classes for staff, public, or other organizations.


July 18, 2018

Adult Services

In the Adult Electronic Services Area, computer workstations are currently limited to a guaranteed 60 minutes of usage by any one individual at a time. Patrons may extend their session in 15-minute increments as long as there is no one waiting. There is no limit on the number of sessions allowed.

Laptop computers are available for checkout and use within the building.

Youth Services

In the Youth Services area, computer workstations are limited to a guaranteed 60 minutes. Children under the age of 14 and adults accompanying small children are encouraged to use these stations. Adults without children accompanying them should use the workstations in the adult areas of the building.

Unacceptable and Illegal Use of Computers

The library's computers are for educational and informational purposes, not unauthorized, illegal, or unethical purposes. A user may not send, receive, or display text or graphics that may reasonably be construed as obscene.

Consideration for the integrity of the library's and other automated systems is paramount: Malicious use, which is determined at the library's discretion, is totally unacceptable. Use of the computer systems in a manner that precludes or significantly hampers use by others is not allowed. This includes purposefully violating library procedures concerning time limits, providing fraudulent computer user registration information, or using someone else's card, etc. It also includes physical abuse of library equipment. In the case of misuse or physical abuse of PCs by children, it is the responsibility of parents to monitor their child's use of the equipment and to make restitution for any damage.

It is not acceptable to use library Internet access or other library software or hardware for any purposes which violate U.S. or Ohio law; to transmit or receive any obscene or illegal materials as defined in the Ohio Revised Code; to disseminate matter harmful to juveniles (O.R.C. 2907.31); to display matter harmful to juveniles (O.R.C. 2907.311); or to interfere with or disrupt network users, services or equipment.

Users who intentionally execute or transmit programs that: 1) harass others, or 2) infiltrate a computer or computing system, or 3) gain access to files, passwords or data belonging to others, or 4) damage or alter (or attempt to damage or alter) the software components of this library's or any other computing systems, or 5) represent themselves as another person, will not only forfeit Westlake Porter Public Library usage rights, but will also be prosecuted, as legally appropriate.

The Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) prohibits commercial use of any type or kind of its systems and OPLIN-provided Internet connections.

Internet Access

June 16, 2021

The library has a policy of open access. Frequent computer users must have an updated library card. A frequent user is defined as one who uses a computer more than once a month. Juveniles under age 18 without library cards may apply for a Digital Access Library card. A digital access card provides computer access and access to online library resources.

Visitor cards will be issued with valid photo identification to non-Ohio residents and other infrequent users without library cards. Minors without photo identification will be issued visitor cards at the discretion of library staff. Usage is not restricted by age (supervision is a parent’s responsibility), is not prioritized by information need (everyone’s information need is important), and is not restricted by residency.

Users signing up for the last block of time for the day on any machines need to be aware that the computers shut down promptly at closing time. Users should plan ahead for any time-consuming printing or downloading by completing any lengthy projects 15 minutes in advance of closing. Users will not be permitted to remain past closing time: Staff must have adequate time to shut down the systems and secure the building.

Internet Content

September 18, 2019

Accuracy of Information

The Internet offers global access to information. However, not all sources on the Internet provide information that is accurate, complete, current, or legal. Westlake Porter Public Library is not able to monitor or control and cannot be held responsible for the content of materials on the Internet (which change rapidly and unpredictably). However, Westlake Porter Public Library does provide guidance and recommended sites through links on our Web site, through public programs on locating and evaluating Internet sites, and through printed information for concerned parents.


Some resources and destinations definitely contain material that some patrons will find offensive, as well as sites that are inappropriate for children. Westlake Porter Public Library does not filter Internet access at the library, however, because doing so would block access to legitimate sites and needed information. Nor would the library be able to filter according to the individual preferences or sensibilities of the diverse public it serves.


Neither the library nor OPLIN provides email accounts. Customers may access their own web-based email accounts from library terminals, however.


Internet users may download information from the Internet to their own portable devices or have it sent to their own email accounts. Users should not expect library staff, however, to do this for them or to know the specifics of how individual, particular Web sites or email Web sites work. Under no circumstances may a user download or save anything to the hard drive of any library PC or to a network drive.


Customers may print from computer workstations or the wireless network provided by the library. Customers are given a daily allowance of $1.00 to use for printing only. The cost is $0.10 per page (black toner only). The cost is $0.15 per page for color. The library uses an automated print management system. Any unused daily allowance does not carry over. Staff cannot refund any unused amounts deposited on the automated print management system.


The library cannot guarantee the privacy or confidentiality of information or files that are entered into or accessed via its public Internet-connected computers. While security is our goal, electronic communications can be intercepted and can become public. The sending of any information, including name, address, and credit card numbers, is at the sole risk of the user.

On October 26, 2001, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act. Under the provisions of this act, if a search warrant pertaining to patron records is issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (USA PATRIOT Act amendment), library staff must comply by providing requested information. Furthermore, a search warrant under FISA contains a "gag" order that prohibits a person or institution served with this warrant to disclose that the warrant has been served or that records have been produced pursuant to the warrant.

Private information saved to any storage device, or printed out to paper copies, and left behind after a computer session, or printouts discarded to public waste cans may be seen or confiscated by third parties. The physical security of these media is the responsibility of the individual computer user.

Wireless Internet Access

March 19, 2008

The library has installed data jacks so that users with laptop computers may enjoy high-speed Internet access through the library's network, free-of-charge.

Phone jacks are also available for users who prefer to use modem hookups and access the Internet through their own Internet Service Provider. The phone connections are set up to permit only local and toll-free calls.

Even though users are operating their own equipment, the Internet access itself is provided to the library through OPLIN, and users are subject to the rules and regulations of OPLIN, Westlake Porter Public Library, and all applicable local, state, and federal laws. Use of network access for any illegal purpose is strictly prohibited, and violators may be prosecuted. Laptop users must follow the guidelines set up for users of the library's Internet stations, as explained in this policy.

All laptop users are reminded that they have chosen to use their equipment in a public building. Westlake Porter Public Library is not responsible for the safekeeping of equipment left unattended, and the library does not provide any anti-virus protection, content filtering, and only minimal firewall shielding via its public connections. OPLIN and this library are not responsible for any loss or inconvenience suffered by the user due to his own actions or the actions of others while he is connected to the library's network. Library staff may not provide technical support or repair service for personally owned computers and/or software.

Printing, both black and white and color, from a wireless laptop or notebook, is available through the library's print management system.

Third-Party Software

To help assure the security and reliability of the library's systems, patrons may not use their own software or install any programs on any of the library's computers, including circulating software from the library's collection.


The library assumes no responsibility for viruses that may be received by patrons causing their own documents, software, or hardware to be infected or damaged. Virus scanning of personal disks is not permitted as it exposes the library's systems to undue risk.


Individual users are responsible for monitoring and adhering to copyright laws and their own usage of information or publications.

Food and Beverages

October 18, 2017

Food is prohibited at all computer workstations. See also Food and Beverage Policy.


Providing instruction in using and evaluating informational resources is part of the library's role. However, staff can only devote a reasonable amount of time to assisting individual users with the Internet. Members of the public service staff handle many information requests and cannot devote extensive time to each new user. Users unfamiliar with computer use, the Internet, or any browser software, should sign up for one of the library's hands-on computer training sessions.

Westlake Porter Public Library's Board of Trustees is empowered, through the Ohio Revised Code, Article 3375.4Q, to make and publish rules for the proper operation and management of Porter Public Library. The Board of Trustees may, from time to time, unilaterally, at its discretion, amend, supplement, modify, or eliminate one or more aspects of this or any other library policy.