Computer & Internet USE Policy


The purpose of this policy is to define appropriate use of the technology resources at the Etowah Carnegie Library by library technology users and includes technology and resources accessed with equipment in the library, loaned by the library, and/or via the library’s wireless internet connection. This policy is to be used in conjunction with the library’s Rules and Regulations for Conduct in the Library Policy, other library policies, and all Federal, State and local laws and regulations concerning use of property and computing resources. Use of the library’s technology resources (public computers, laptops, tablets, etc.) or wireless connection constitutes acceptance of this Computer and Internet Use Policy.


The Etowah Carnegie Library provides internet resources accessible through the library equally to all library users. Parents or guardians, not the library or its staff, are responsible for the internet information selected and/or accessed by their children. The public computers and wireless internet access are equipped with filtering software but that does not guarantee 100% blocking capabilities of inappropriate sites.

The Etowah Carnegie Library is not responsible for the information or content accessed through the internet or for monitoring or protecting you from material you may find offensive. The internet may contain explicit material and other information resources which you may personally find controversial or inappropriate. The internet is a global entity with a highly diverse user population and it is the library patron’s responsibility to use this resource wisely. Not all sources on the internet provide accurate, complete, or current information. It is up to individuals and parents or guardians to ensure there is no access to information that has been decided upon in advance as inappropriate.


Technology available for library patron and visitor use may include public access computers, laptops, and tablets.

Public access computers are normally available, subject to periodic maintenance, during regular library hours. The wireless internet is normally available 24 hours a day. Public computers are checked out on a first come, first serve basis for one hour. If no one is waiting you may continue longer than one hour. Laptops and tablets are available upon request for in-house use only.


To use the public computers, patrons must check in at the Circulation Desk to receive a PIN number. Library staff may conduct site checks. Misuse or abuse of computer and/or internet access will result in suspension of public computer and internet access privileges. The Computer and Internet Use Policy will be enforced by the staff and may be subject to change at the discretion of the Library Director and Library Board.

All users of public computers or wireless internet agree to:

  • Sign up for only one public computer at a time.

  • Observe posted time limits and regulations.

  • Accept full responsibility of learning to use the computers and software on their own.

  • Understand that library staff can not provide extensive one-on-one on-demand technology assistance. Library staff are available to get a patron started on a computer but are not permitted to perform whatever task is needed on a computer due to a patron not knowing how to. Patrons are encouraged to make an appointment for one-on-one technology assistance or to bring someone with them who can assist them. Library staff are not permitted to input sensitive information into web forms (name, address, phone number, social security number, etc.).

  • Respect the rights of other users, the library’s equipment and all applicable and contractual agreements related to paid resources.

  • Respect the privacy of others by not misrepresenting themselves as another user, and not attempt to modify or gain access to files, passwords, or data belonging to others.

  • Observe the legal protections provided by copyright and license law, and computer abuse laws. The user agrees not to use these resources for unauthorized, illegal, or unethical purposes, which includes, but not limited to, making unauthorized copies of copyrighted or licensed software or data.

  • Take proper care of all hardware, software, documentation and all equipment that are the property of the library. At no time will the user change software settings, Window setups, and move or delete icons or attempt access to the setup or configuration of any software or hardware.

  • Report any difficulty or problem to a staff member and not try to "fix" any problem.

  • Avoid the installation of software programs on the library computers and use only the software applications provided by the library.

  • Refrain from uses that cause harm to others or damage to their property including defamation (harming another's reputation by lies).

  • Refrain from uploading a worm, virus, "Trojan horse," "time bomb" or other harmful form of program or vandalism; participate in "hacking" activities or any form of unauthorized access to other computers, networks, or information systems.

  • Refrain from violating the law or encourage others to violate the law; transmit offensive or harassing messages; offer for sale or use any substance the possession or use of which is prohibited by law; view, transmit or download pornographic materials or materials that encourage others to violate the law; download or transmit confidential, trade secret information, or copyrighted materials and/or transmit messages which threaten, harass and/or verbally assault others. Even if materials on the networks are not marked with the copyright symbol, users should assume that all materials are protected unless there is explicit permission on the materials to use them.

  • Refrain from jeopardizing the security of access of the computer network or other networks on the internet; disclose or share the user's password with others; impersonate another user; use one's own software programs on the library's computers; alter the library's computer settings; damage or modify computer equipment or software.

  • Pay for all printed materials: 25 cents per page for black and white, 50 cents per page for color.

  • Refrain from sending, receiving, or displaying text or graphics which may be reasonably construed as obscene.

  • Be responsible for any hardware or software damage or internet costs related to their actions.


Users of the library’s public computers and/or the wireless internet are prohibited from engaging in activity that compromises the safety and security of minors when using e-mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications as listed below:

  • Minors under age 17: Giving others private information about one's self or others, including credit card numbers, social security numbers, names and/or addresses; entering chat rooms and/or social networking sites and/or engaging in communications on such sites without a parent or guardian’s express permission; arranging a face-to-face meeting with someone one has "met" on the computer network or Internet without a parent's permission; viewing materials that are obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit and/or adult oriented.

  • Adults at or over the age of 18: Viewing materials that are obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit and/or adult oriented and/or permitting a minor to view such; accessing, viewing, importing, sharing and/or obtaining child pornography. Use of Library computers for anything whatsoever related to child pornography will be immediately reported to law enforcement authorities and shall subject the user to arrest, detention and conviction of a State and/or Federal crime. In addition, the user’s computer privileges will be suspended indefinitely. The term "harmful to minors" is defined by the Communications Act of 1934 (47 USC Section 254 [h][7]), as meaning any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals; taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.

All users shall specifically refrain from the following activities:

  • Using sounds and visuals which might disrupt the ability of other library patrons to use the library and its resources.

  • Sharing computer account numbers, passwords and other types of authorization that are assigned to individual users without consent.

  • Downloading and/or installing executable files from any source.

  • Changing the configuration files of any hardware or software on the library’s workstations or attempting to disable the library’s security software.

  • Misrepresenting themselves on the internet with the intention to commit harm, fraud or as a source of an electronic communication.

  • Connecting any personal devices to the library’s wired “Ethernet” network.


The library may place limitations on time and manner of computer use in order to allocate computer and internet access as equitably as possible.


The library reserves the right to suspend the use of its computers and/or the library by anyone who uses library computing equipment, electronic devices or a network for an illegal purpose or for a purpose in violation of the standards outlined in this and other library policies.


Library staff cannot provide in-depth on-demand technology training (i.e. public and/or personal computer use, cell phones, tablets, laptops, eReaders, digital cameras, etc.). Using available resources, library staff may assist to the best of their abilities and use whatever resources available to aid in staff and patron understanding. Library staff are available to get a patron started on a computer but are not permitted to perform whatever task is needed on a computer due to a patron not knowing how to. Patrons are encouraged to make an appointment for one-on-one technology assistance or to bring someone with them who can assist them. Library staff are not permitted to input sensitive information into web forms (name, address, phone number, social security number, etc.).


Use of any of the library’s computing equipment and networks is at the sole risk and discretion of the user. This means that it is the user, and not the library, who would be responsible for any damage to the user’s own computers, devices, or equipment while connected to the library’s wired or wireless networks or while connected to any of the library’s equipment. The library takes reasonable steps to secure its networks from unauthorized access. In using a public computer however, an individual must be aware that the security of information or transactions while using the library’s equipment or networks is not guaranteed. Internet users are responsible for the web sites they access and use the Internet at their own risk. The Library does not guarantee privacy of any Internet sessions, nor is it responsible for the security of information transmitted and received during any Internet sessions. Any injury or damages incurred by users of Library internet stations or the Library’s connection to the Internet are the sole responsibility of the user.


Personally identifiable information about users may not be disclosed or used in any way, except to law enforcement authorities as provided in the Confidentiality of Library Records Law (see below). Users should be aware, however, that due to the technical difficulties involved in providing absolute security, transactions and files may become public and the user expressly assumes this risk. Users should be aware that there is no right to privacy with respect to use of library computers. When websites and/or other materials are accessed, internet addresses are recorded and/or stored. Messages, comments and/or communications are not anonymous and any electronic information and/or communications sent or received may be stored, maintained and/or retrieved by other users. Users should be aware that library computers are accessible to other users and the library cannot and shall not guarantee the privacy of any information and/or communications.

Confidentiality of Library Records

TCA 10-8-101—10-8-103

10-8-101. Explanation.

10-8-102. Dispensing confidential information prohibited; Exceptions.

10-8-103. Library application.

10-8-01. Explanations.

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Library" means:

(A) A library that is open to the public and established or operated by:

(i) The state, a county, city, town, school district or any other political subdivision

of the state;

(ii) A combination of governmental units or authorities;

(iii) A university or community college; or

(B) Any private library that is open to the public; and

(2) "Library record" means a document, record, or other method of storing information

retained by a library that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific

information or materials from such library. "Library record" does not include

non-identifying material that may be retained for the purpose of studying or

evaluating the circulation of library materials in general.

10-8-102. Dispensing confidential information prohibited; Exceptions.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), no employee of a library shall disclose any

library record that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific

materials, information, or services or as having otherwise used such library. Such

library records shall be considered an exception to the provisions of §10-7-503.

(b) Library records may be disclosed under the following circumstances:

(1) Upon the written consent of the library user;

(2) Pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or

(3) When used to seek reimbursement for or the return of lost, stolen, misplaced or

otherwise overdue library materials.”

10-8-103. Library application.

This chapter shall apply to libraries included with chapters 1 and 3-5 of this title.

(approved at 5/10/21 Etowah Carnegie Library Board Meeting)