Internet & Computer Use Policy

St. Lucie County provides access to computers and the Internet as part of the Library's mission to support access to information for its citizens. Access is made available equally to all users with a library card at no charge. The County assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from the connection to or use of the Internet because public computers are neither private nor secure.

Information on the Internet
The Internet offers access to a wealth of information that can be personally, professionally and culturally enriching. However, not all information available via the Internet is accurate, current or complete. Users are encouraged to exercise critical judgment in evaluating the validity of information accessed via the Internet.

Compliance with Laws, Policies and Procedures
Users of any St. Lucie County Library System computer equipment must comply with Federal and State laws, Library procedures and policies, and the terms of applicable contracts, including software licenses. Examples of applicable laws and policies include the laws of libel, privacy, copyright, trademark, obscenity and child pornography, the Florida Computer Crimes Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act which prohibits "hacking" and similar activities. Users who engage in electronic communications with persons in other states or countries or on other systems or networks may also be subject to the laws of those jurisdictions and the rules and policies of those other systems and networks.

Material Harmful to Minors
St. Lucie County has installed a content filter intended to block pornographic materials that could be considered "harmful to minors" if within the view of children and teens under 17. This filter is turned on for all public computers and may unintentionally block appropriate sites and/or not block materials that users might find offensive. However, if an appropriate site has been unintentionally blocked, a written request may be submitted to library staff to remove the block using the Request for Reconsideration of Access to a Website form. Computers designated as "Children's" or "Teen" have additional content filters to block sites related to social networking, gambling, violence, etc.  Any person 16 years of age and older will have access to the same public computers as adults unless a parent or legal guardian has submitted a written request to limit access to children's computers. Upon written request by a parent or legal guardian, children less than 16 years of age will have access to the same public computers used by adults. Use of an adult filtered computer does not relieve the patron from abiding by Library procedures or State and Federal laws, including displaying materials that could be considered "harmful to minors."

Parental Control
Parents or designated guardians who wish to limit or restrict the access of their own children should personally oversee their use of the internet and other forms of electronic information. Parents are encouraged to discuss the use of the internet with their children in relation to their family values and boundaries and to monitor their children's use of the Internet at the library. Minors who visit the library without a parent or guardian are responsible for their own decisions and behaviors. Please visit Internet Safety for Kids & Parents.

Violations
Violation of the laws, policy and procedures that govern the use of the Library's computers and Internet resources may result in loss of the privilege to use these resources. Any illegal activity involving the library's computer or Internet resources will be reported and is subject to prosecution by the appropriate authorities. St. Lucie County reserves the right to terminate a computer session at any time to anyone suspected of violating Library policy and procedure, Federal, State or local laws.

The Library Director is authorized to determine if the violation warrants suspension or termination of a user's access to library computers. The Library Director will provide a written notice of the suspension or termination to the patron and parent or legal guardian if under the age of 18. This decision may be appealed to the County Administrator or designee by filing a written appeal within 15 days of the notice of suspension or termination of the user's access. Upon receipt of the appeal, a time and place to hear the appeal shall be established and the patron provided 15 days notice of the hearing. The decision of the County Administrator shall be final.

The County Administrator is authorized to establish appropriate procedures to implement this policy.

Approved by the Library Advisory Board May 3, 2010
Approved by the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners May 11, 2010

Procedures

  1. Computer reservations must be made with either a library card or a visitor's pass which can be obtained at a service desk. Patrons who regularly use the computers are encouraged to use a library card for their own convenience and to minimize service desk traffic.
  2. Library cards are available to all verifiable residents of St. Lucie County. Non-residents may purchase a non-resident library card at a cost of $15 per year. Library cards entitle patrons to full access of the internet and all other library services. (For information on how to obtain a library card, please click here.)
  3. If you do not have a library card, need assistance or have any questions, please ask a staff member. Library staff are not able to provide in-depth computer assistance, but will answer questions and, as time allows, help users locate and use Internet resources.
  4. The library system has Adult, Teen and Child computers in different combinations at different locations. In general, patrons 16 and older may use Adult or Teen computers and children 15 and under may use Teen or Child computers, though age restrictions vary depending on the availability of Teen and Child computers. Parents are referred to the Internet & Computer Use Policy (please see above) for securing exceptions to the age limitations.
  5. All library computers are filtered for “adult” content (i.e. harmful to minors). If a site is inappropriately blocked, a patron may request in writing to have it unblocked.
  6. Users shall refrain from the use of sounds and visuals which disrupt the ability of other Library patrons or the staff to use the Library and its resources. Cell phone use at the computers is prohibited, as is the use of headphones that are audible to others. Images generally deemed harmful to children or that create an environment that prevents other patrons from comfortably using the library may not be displayed.
  7. Reservations for Adult computers are for 45 minutes, 30 minutes for Teen and Child computers. Additional time will be awarded automatically if no one is waiting.
  8. Express PCs are available for adults with or without a library card on a first-come, first-served basis for 30-minute sessions only.
  9. No advance reservations are taken to use the internet.
  10. No more than two people may use a computer at one time.
  11. Black and white printing is available from all computers at 10 cents per page. Color printing is available at Hurston, Lakewood Park, Lewis and Morningside branch libraries for 50 cents per page.
  12. To ensure the user’s privacy, computers will reboot at the end of each session. Patrons should log off at the end of their session and pick up their printing.
  13. Patrons using the library’s computers and peripheral equipment are expected to abide by the rules of the library, including the Internet & Computer Use Policy and the Library System Code of Conduct.

Users may not:
  1. uninstall, delete or modify Library hardware or software configurations
  2. attempt to circumvent data protection or security measures including filters
  3. move or change the arrangement of Library computers and peripherals
  4. run, install or share virus programs
  5. use the network to make unauthorized entry into other information or communication services or resources
  6. damage computer equipment or software
  7. degrade system performance

The St. Lucie County Public Library reserves the right to terminate a computer session at any time to anyone suspected of violating Library policy, federal, state or local laws based on observation by library staff. A warning statement may be issued if use is terminated for the first violation of library policy. The Library Director or designee will determine if a violation, or continued violation, of library policy has occurred that warrants suspension or termination of a user’s access to library computers.