Computer Use & the Internet at the Denver Public Library
The Internet contains a wide variety of material and opinions from various points of view. Not all sources provide information that is accurate, complete or current, and some information may be considered offensive or inappropriate for certain age groups. While the Denver Public Library is sensitive to the concerns of customers about Internet content, no one, including the Library, can control the information available on the Internet. It is the goal of the Denver Public Library to provide a comfortable and welcoming environment for all ages. Each individual is responsible for his or her own appropriate use of the Internet in a public place.
The Denver Public Library's Role
The Denver Public Library makes Internet resources accessible to all customers. The staff of the Denver Public Library helps customers navigate, identify and access resources on the Internet. The staff reviews and recommends good sources of information on the Internet and develops special tools (denverlibrary.org) in order to assist customers in using the Internet. The staff and docents of the Denver Public Library also conduct classes for adults and children to instruct them in the effective and safe use of the Internet.
The Library's goal is to make the public computers at all DPL locations available to as many customers as possible. To accomplish this, the Denver Public Library controls the amount of time any customer can use the public computers on a given day. There are a variety of services available on Library computers. Not all services are available at every computer and some computers may be dedicated for particular services.
The Denver Public Library complies with state and federal law mandating the use of filtering software in public libraries. Internet filters are software programs that block access to content that is considered inappropriate for viewing in a public place. It employs filtering software to protect against the visual depiction of pornography, obscenity, and child pornography. The Denver Public Library is committed to free and equal access to information and provides a limited number of computers with unfiltered Internet access for adult users 17 and over.
No filtering software is totally accurate. Filters may falsely block material that is appropriate in a public library setting or they may fail to block access to illegal or objectionable material. Customers may send requests to block or unblock a specific site to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Denver Public Library will respond to questions and concerns regarding the filter's accuracy by communicating with the filtering software vendor towards improving its product. See the Internet Filtering FAQ for more information.
Confidentiality and Privacy
The Denver Public Library follows state and federal law regarding privacy of library users' records and information.
It is the Denver Public Library's usual practice to erase all customer use records, except those essential for library business operations. The Library will release records, including those relating to Internet usage, only as required by law.
When a computer session is ended, all information about that session is ordinarily deleted. The Library does not, as part of its regular practice, retrieve any information, including websites visited, passwords, credit card numbers, or any other information a customer has entered. At the end of the business day, all computer use and reservation records are normally erased.
In order to insure a positive library experience for everyone the Library requires that all customers shall:
- Use computers only for lawful purposes.
- Refrain from viewing pornographic visual materials or content that by contemporary community standards would be considered obscene.
- Observe the established computer time limits.
- Leave computer monitor privacy screens in place.
- Respect the security of the network.
- Respect the configuration of computer equipment at the Library. Downloading or installing nonstandard software programs is prohibited.
- Keep virus protection software up-to-date on personal laptops or other mobile devices using the Library's wireless Internet connection.
Children and the Internet
The Denver Public Library believes that the reading and viewing activity of children is ultimately the responsibility of parents who guide and oversee their own children's development. The Denver Public Library does not intrude on that relationship, except when mandated by law.
In order to help parents, DPL provides guided access through a specially designed website, kids.denverlibrary.org, with filtered search engines, and selected websites.
Parents are encouraged to read and follow these tips for "Internet-wise" parents:
- Take time to learn about the Internet.
- Take individual or group Internet classes, which are always available to families.
- Explore cyberspace with your children.
- Provide clear guidelines - let your children know if there are subjects that are off limits.
- Learn how to evaluate the Internet - read books and magazines and take a class offered by the Library.
- Teach your children safety rules for dealing with strangers online and appropriate ways to deal with online businesses.
- Ask a librarian - librarians have always been expert at selecting materials for children.
Sample the Internet
The Library has created the following websites to guide customers to accurate, complete and current sources, which provide a wealth of information:
This policy was adopted by the Denver Public Library Commission on August 21, 2008.