Internet Use and Safety Policy

Omaha Public Library (OPL) provides access to a broad range of information resources, including those available through the Internet. Use of the Internet at Omaha Public Library is a privilege not a right. Internet service is available as part of our mission to offer a broadly defined program of informational, educational, recreational and cultural enrichment opportunities for residents of Omaha and the greater Douglas County region. The Internet is a largely unregulated medium of information and communication. Omaha Public Library does not monitor information provided through the Internet. Information on the Internet is not necessarily current, accurate or complete. While much valuable information is available, some may be considered by local community standards to be obscene, offensive, or harmful (especially to minor children) as defined by applicable state and/or federal laws. Omaha Public Library must attempt to balance the desire for free unrestricted access to varying informational sources against the need to avoid material that may be harmful to minors or that violates community standards as defined by applicable state law and/or is obscene. For purposes of this policy, minors are defined to include all individuals under the age of 19.

Omaha Public Library has deemed that it is appropriate and necessary to install software that will limit a minor’s exposure to some Internet materials. To the extent possible, the software will be used to block Internet sites that could be offensive and harmful to minors. However, it must be noted that filtering software may not block all information that may be harmful to minors, as well as visual depictions of materials deemed obscene or child pornography. In addition, filtering software may block content that is deemed appropriate. Patrons can submit a request to have sites unblocked. Omaha Public Library will review requests submitted. Any patron over the age of 19 who wishes to have access to an unfiltered computer must submit a request, and to the extent practical, staff will disable filtering only for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.

The Omaha Public Library provides computer access to minors, including filtered access to the Internet and software to support academic achievement. Omaha Public Library participates in the federal funding Erate program – a program that makes certain communications technology more affordable for eligible schools and libraries and therefore complies to the requirements set forth by Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)opens a new window.

To the extent practical, steps shall be taken to promote the safety and security of users of the Library online computer network when using electronic mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, 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.

The Omaha Public Library strongly suggests parents supervise their minor children’s Internet sessions since filtering software may not be able to filter all information that may be harmful to minors. Some parents may deem that certain unfiltered materials are also unsuitable for their minor children.

The Omaha Public Library also encourages parents to discuss the use of the Internet with their minor children in relation to family values and boundaries.

Parents are urged to read Child Safety on the Information Highwayopens a new window or The Parents' Guide to the Information Superhighwayopens a new window. These publications are available at your library.

Use of the Internet is a privilege, not a right. Omaha Public Library expects patrons, in order to keep their privileges intact, to use the resources in a responsible manner. Rules for computer use, including time limits, will be established by the library administration, subject to approval by the Library Board. Responsible use of the Internet at the library includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • maintaining a library account in good standing as governed by the policies of the Omaha Public Library
  • complying with the library’s posted rules of conduct;
  • refraining from illegal or unethical use of the Internet;
  • using the Internet for cultural, educational and informational purposes. The library does not provide Internet e-mail accounts;
  • respecting the copyright laws by making only authorized copies of copyrighted materials;
  • recognizing that library computers are available for use by many customers and adhering to library established time limitations;
  • a patron cannot send, receive or display inappropriate materials, whether text or graphics, which may reasonably be construed as obscene as determined by local community standards;
  • not altering hardware or software;
  • not misrepresenting yourself, by access code, password or signature;
  • respecting the privacy of others;
  • not violating federal, state, local or library laws or regulations.

Violations may result in loss of library privileges or access. Unlawful activities will be referred to the appropriate legal authority and will be dealt with in a serious and appropriate manner.

Omaha Public Library is not responsible for any damages, direct or indirect, or for any liability that may arise from a patron’s use of the library’s Internet services.

Approved by the Board of Trustees
of the Omaha Public Library October 14, 2008
Re-Approved August 19, 2015