Acceptable and Safe Use of Electronic Resources Policy –

Accepted by the Portland Public Library Board of Trustees at a public meeting, following public notice, on June 15, 2016.

Portland Public Library’s technology equipment and Internet connection enable the Library to provide access to information beyond the confines if its own collections and thus enhance the breadth and depth of information resources available to library users.  Providing access to the Internet is consistent with the library’s commitment to provide diverse resources and experiences that inspire imagination, curiosity, awareness, and learning.

Currently, however, the Internet is an unregulated medium.  The information available on the Internet includes much that is personally, professionally, and culturally enriching.  It also provides access to material that may be offensive or disturbing to some individuals, as well as access to information that may be factually incorrect, misleading, and/or illegal.  The Internet is a powerful tool for finding information, but it is not necessarily a substitute for other library resources.  Library users are encouraged to ask a Librarian for assistance in finding the best sources for research.

The Library’s Materials Selection Policy and Rules of Behavior (posted throughout the Library) form the basis of this policy on acceptable and safe use of the Library’s resources and Internet connection.  The Materials Selection Policy explains how the Library seeks to provide free and open access to ideas and information to all library users.  A portion of the policy states:

“In support of intellectual freedom, the Board has reviewed and endorsed the Library Bill of Rights as adopted by the American Library Association…and the Freedom to Read Statement as adopted by the American Library Association…In addition a resolution signed on June 1, 1986, by the Trustees and Staff affirms the fundamental importance of ‘the democratic principle of the citizen’s right to free access to information.’”


  • The Portland Public Library upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected materials.
  • Internet use will be managed in a manner consistent with the Library’s Rules of Behavior.
  • The Library reserves the right to limit the use of its electronic resources by the public.  Such limitations may include, but are not limited to:
    • Restricting time on computers and limiting the applications or functions used on the computers;
    • Requiring that patrons use library-provided supplies for downloading files;
    • Charging a nominal fee for the use of certain consumable supplies (e.g., paper, headsets).
  • The Portland Public Library’s electronic resources may be used only for purposes which are legal and consistent with the Library’s mission.  Unacceptable uses by patrons of all ages include, but are not limited to:
    • Harassment of other library or computer users or staff; or unauthorized access to files, data or passwords of others;
    • Libeling or slandering others;
    • Disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications;
    • Unauthorized copying of copyright-protected material;
    • Violations, or attempts to violate, computer system security (“hacking”) and/or software license agreements;
    • Intentional exposure of other individuals (particularly children) to material or images they (or parents) may find personally unsuitable;
    • Incurring any costs to the Portland Public Library.

To the extent practical, steps shall be taken to promote the safety and security of users of the library’s online computer network when using e-mail, social media, and other forms of direct electronic communications.

Specifically, as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, prevention of inappropriate network usage includes: (a) unauthorized access, including so-called ‘hacking,’ and other unlawful activities; and (b) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors.  As required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 106-554 and 47 USC 254(h),technology protection measures (or “Internet filters”) shall be used to block or filter Internet or other forms of electronic communications, and shall be applied to visual depictions of material deemed obscene or child pornography, or to any material deemed harmful to minors.  These terms are as defined in the Children’s Internet Protection Act*.  Consistent with the Library’s policies, such technology protection measures will be disabled upon request for adults or, in the case of minors, minimized for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.  Procedures for disabling or otherwise modifying any technology protection measures shall be the responsibility of Library Administration.

Internet Safety for Minors

While the library staff will educate, supervise, and monitor appropriate usage of the online computer network and access to the Internet in accordance with this policy, the Children’s Internet Protection Act, the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act, and the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, the Portland Public Library affirms the responsibility of parents to determine the appropriateness of Internet-accessed resources, and all other library materials, for their children.  Parents or legal guardians are ultimately responsible for guiding their children in their use of the Internet.

Children, like all patrons, must agree to and abide by the Library’s Rules of Conduct.  In addition, the library takes the following actions to support parents and their children in the safe and effective use of the Internet:

  • Develops webpages and links designed for children and teens;
  • Provides guidance about Internet safety;
  • Offers training opportunities for parents and their children about safe and successful Internet use;
  • Makes staff available to advise children and teens about safe and successful Internet use.

Parents concerned about their children’s use of electronic resources may find helpful the pamphlet Heads Up, published by the Federal Trade Commission that is available in the library or in the resources at  In particular, the Library urges parents and their children to protect their safety by bearing in mind the following points:

  • Remember that people online are not always who they say they are;
  • Remember that everything that appears online is not necessarily true;
  • Never respond to a message that is obscene or threatening, or that makes you uncomfortable in any way;
  • Never share personal information like your address, phone number, or school.  Parents or legal guardians should decide about other personal information such as age, family data, or financial information;
  • Never arrange a face-to-face meeting without your parent or legal guardian’s approval;
  • Parents and legal guardians should report any incidents suggesting child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.


  • The CIPA-compliant filters employed by the Library do not ultimately control the information available through the Internet.  The Library specifically disclaims any warranty as to the accuracy, authoritativeness, timeliness, usefulness or fitness for a particular purpose of information obtained through the Library’s internet resources.
  • The Library assumes no responsibility for and shall have no liability for any direct, indirect or consequential damages arising from the use of its technology equipment, electronic resources, or connections to other Internet resources.

* CIPA definitions of terms:

MINOR. The term “minor” means any individual who has not attained the age of 17 years.

TECHNOLOGY PROTECTION MEASURE. The term “technology protection measure” means a specific technology that blocks or filters Internet access to visual depictions that are:

  1. OBSCENE, as that term is defined in section 1460 of title 18, United States Code;
  2. CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, as that term is defined in section 2256 of title 18, United States Code; or
  3. Harmful to minors.

HARMFUL TO MINORS. The term “harmful to minors” means any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that:

  1. Taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion;
  2. 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; and
  3. Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.

SEXUAL ACT; SEXUAL CONTACT. The terms “sexual act” and “sexual contact” have the meanings given such terms in section 2246 of title 18, United States Code.