Policy on Public Internet Access, Use, and Safety

Public Internet Access

The Holdrege Area Public Library provides access to the Internet for our customers based on our mission to empower customers with free access to information of all types. We strive to help our customers become better-informed “consumers” of information and services delivered via computers. As the Internet and other computer technologies become a greater part of our daily lives, the Holdrege Area Public Library will seek to help its customers take advantage of new opportunities created for learning, for communicating, and for being connected with the wider world. 

Responsibilities of Users

The information available via the Internet is diverse (any topic may be represented from just about any point of view), and growing explosively. In choosing resources to link to from our Library website, we follow our materials selection guidelines. However, given the dynamic nature of Internet pages, we cannot be responsible for changes in content of the sources to which we link or for the content of sources available through secondary links from those pages. Our customers must judge the validity, reliability, accuracy, and currency of any information obtained from the Internet for themselves.


As required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), the Library has installed filtering software on its public access Internet computers. The software present on all public access Internet workstations is intended to protect against access to visual depictions of obscenity or child pornography. However, the presence of a filtering program should not create a false sense of security.  The size and dynamic nature of the Internet prevents any filtering program from offering a 100% guarantee that no unwanted Internet resources will be displayed.  In addition, no computer program has yet been created that can block access to obscene, harmful or illegal information without also blocking access to “useful” information.  An Internet filtering program cannot substitute for parents teaching their children their own family standards for the types of materials they do not wish them to read or view.

Any adult who believes that he or she is being prevented from using a legal Internet resource may contact a Library Staff member to request that the site be added to the “whitelist” of allowed sites.

Computer Use Guidelines

Each person who wishes to access the Internet at the Library must agree to accept the Library’s computer use guidelines.  These guidelines set out the procedures for using Library computers, including but not limited to such issues as time limits, reservations, printing charges, and downloading files from the Internet.  The computer use guidelines are displayed at logon on all public access Internet workstations.

Access by Minors

Parents or legal guardians, not the Holdrege Area Public Library or its staff, must assume responsibility for deciding what Library resources are appropriate for their children. Supervision of a child’s access to the internet is ultimately the responsibility of the parent or guardian; the Library does not have the right or responsibility to act in loco parentis (on behalf of parent or guardian). It is strongly suggested that parents guide their children in their use of the Internet, inform them about materials they should not use and accompany their children when they use the internet at the library.

The Children’s Internet computer is intended for use by people age 11 and younger.  When using the Children’s Internet or the Children’s computers, children who are 8 years old or younger often need assistance reading screens and following instructions.  We strongly recommend that children age 8 or younger be accompanied by an adult or by another student who is at least 12 years old when using these computer services.

Young adults (age 12 to 16) may use the Adult Computers.

Adults (people age 17 or over) may not use any Children’s computers unless accompanying a child or legal ward who is under age 17, nor may minors use the Adult computers. Laptops are available for anyone to use.

To address the issue of safety and security of minors when using e-mail or other direct electronic communications, the following guidelines should be kept in mind:

  • Never reveal identifying information online such as last name, home address, school name, or phone number
  • Let parents or guardians decide whether personal information such as age, marital status or financial information should be revealed
  • Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone via the computer without parent or guardian approval
  • Never respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, threatening or which make one uncomfortable
  • Should one become aware of any transmission of child pornography, have parents or guardians report the incident to the NationalCenter for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678
  • Remember that people online may not be who they say they are
  • Remember that not everything one reads is necessarily true

Self-Reservation System
(added 10/10/06)

The Library encourages each customer to carry his or her library card as it is needed to log on to the library self-reservation system for Internet access. Access will be denied if a library card is expired, but renewal of the library card can be completed easily at the Front Desk by confirming the contact information on Library records. Should a customer forget to bring their library card, if he or she can correctly state his or her street address or phone number of record, the Library staff member will proceed to check his or her record for permission to use the Internet. If a visitor wishes to use one of the Internet access workstations, a temporary card may be issued for purposes of logging on to the self-reservation system. The card is not enabled to check out materials and must be returned to the Front Desk when the Internet session is completed.  The self-reservation system is in place solely to streamline customer access to the workstations, and no records are kept of online activity. The computers will notify customers of the approaching end of their session with messages to conclude their research and log out of systems at 5 minutes, 3 minutes and one minute before the end of the session. When the allotted time is up, the logon screen will again appear. After 10 minutes of inactivity, sessions will automatically be ended.

Rules Governing Use of Public Internet Computers

  • One or more sessions totaling 90 minutes or less are allowed each day.
  • The computers may be used on a first-come, first-served basis, or may be reserved up to three days in advance. Reservations will be held for 10 minutes.
  • The Library may schedule use of any or all computers for such activities as instruction or maintenance. Library use of computers will take precedence over use by individual customers.
  • There is a $.15 charge for each sheet of paper printed. Printouts may be paid for and picked up at the front desk. Users are encouraged to use the Print Preview function to avoid unwanted pages. A staff member will be happy to give instruction in previewing prints.
  • No more than two customers should be seated at the computer station at any time. Please see a Library staff member to make special arrangements for study groups.
  • Two warnings will be given for disruptive behavior. If the behavior continues, the user will forfeit the rest of his or her reserved time and may be asked to leave the library.
  • Customers are responsible for setting up their own e-mail accounts through services such as Hotmail or Yahoo Mail. Library staff will assist in setting up a free account and will provide a short demonstration of how to use such an account. Users with POP3 accounts such as Outlook, Eudora or Netscape Messenger may be able to use www.mail2web.com. Mail2web is a free service that allows individuals to interact with their e-mail accounts after entering their account username and password.
  • Computers may be used until 30 minutes before the library closes, and will be automatically shut down at that time.
  • Activities that violate local, state, or federal laws are prohibited.  Such activities include but are not limited to the following:
    • Violation of any federal or state law that makes it illegal to download or purvey child pornography, to purvey pornography to children, or to commit fraudulent acts using the Internet.
    • Violation of any federal or state law that makes it illegal to gain unauthorized access to a computer belonging to another person, commercial or non-profit organization, or governmental entity.
    • Violation of U.S. copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code), which prohibits the unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted materials, except as permitted by the principles of “fair use.”
    • Files passing the virus protection software may be uploaded from or downloaded to the floppy (A) drive, burned to a CD in the D drive, or saved to a USB flash drive. Formatted floppy disks may be purchased at the Front Desk for $1.00.
    • Customers wishing to purchase goods or services using a Library computer should be aware that the Library cannot guarantee the confidentiality or appropriateness of giving credit card or other personal information to others on the Internet.
    • The Library has installed filtering software on all public access computers, designed to block access to obscene, illegal or harmful information. Any adult may request that a blocked site which is legal be added to the “whitelist” of allowed sites.
    • Customers using Internet access workstations may not:
      • Use Library computers to make unauthorized entry into other computational, informational or communication services or resources.
      • Distribute unsolicited advertising.
      • Invade the privacy of others.
      • Make any attempt to change settings or damage computer equipment or software.
      • Engage in any behavior that is harassing or defamatory.
      • Use the Internet in a manner that is inconsistent with the Library’s tax-exempt status or interferes with its proper operation.
      • Any violation of this policy or of the computer use procedures may result in restriction of Library services up to and including termination of Library access.  Unlawful activities will be dealt with in an appropriate manner. Library staff on duty will determine whether a violation has taken place and the need for any immediate restriction of Library services.  The Library Director will determine any need for longer term or more severe restrictions of Library services.

Responsibilities of Library staff

Library staff members are available by appointment to provide basic instruction in the use of the Internet.  Library staff cannot provide in-depth computer training or home technical support.  However, Library staff will attempt to answer basic questions and to help users locate resources on the Internet.  The Library will publicize Internet sites of excellent quality and create opportunities for its customers to learn more about such resources.

The Library will provide access to Internet resources delivered using the World Wide Web (http) Internet protocol.  Many software accessories (plug-ins) are available that allow users to take advantage of sound files, video files, and other multimedia Internet resources.  The Library reserves the right to select the browser plug-ins most consistent with both excellent service and computer security.

The Library enables access to those Internet protocols handled by the installed web browser.   The Library does not presently support the following Internet protocols: Electronic mail (SMTP), Usenet newsgroups, File Transfer Protocol (ftp), chat or Instant Messaging.

Wireless Access Policy
(added 10/10/06)

You will need a notebook/laptop computer or other wireless device with 802.11b or 802.11g wireless networking. If you are not sure if your notebook/laptop computer or other device has this functionality, please check with the manufacturer or supplier of your equipment.  If your notebook/laptop computer or other device does not include wireless networking, you may be able to purchase a variety of external notebook/laptop pc cards and USB devices. The manufacturer or supplier of your equipment, or local technology merchants can help you find the right product for your notebook/laptop computer or other device.

Limitations and Disclaimers: We have tried to make wireless access as available as possible in our library, but you may encounter some “dead” spots in a library where wireless reception may be limited. If you have trouble accessing the Internet or staying online please move to a different location within the library.

The wireless internet access we offer is filtered. By choosing to use this free service, you also agree to abide by the rules of this Policy.
The Library District’s wireless network is not secure. Information sent to and from your notebook/laptop computer or other wireless device may be captured by anyone else with a wireless device and the appropriate software.

Library staff has limited ability to provide technical assistance and no guarantee can be made that you will be able to make a wireless connection.

The Library District assumes no responsibility for the safety of equipment or for notebook/laptop computer or other wireless device configurations, security, or data files resulting from connection to the Library District’s wireless access.


(Revised October 2, 2007)

(Revised 10/10/06)

(Revised 06/02/15)

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