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Computer Use Policy

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh upholds the rights of all Library users to read, seek information and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment, regardless of format or technology. These are fundamental rights in a democratic society and are core values of the Library. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh requires customers to read and agree to its Customer Use Agreement before gaining access to public computers. The Customer Use Policy is displayed on the screen after a customer inputs his card number and PIN and it is validated. The customer must agree to it (click on “I agree.”) before they can proceed. The text of the Computer Use Agreement is appended to this policy. Library software provides the ability for Library locations to meet customer demand by varying time limits, allowing us to fairly allocate public computer availability. Printing is available on public PCs and laptops.

The Library disclaims any and all liability for loss of data or media resulting from the use of the Library equipment. All computers (desktops and laptops) are equipped with software that will reboot between each user and clear personal data.

To use public computers, customers must have a current library card from a public library in Allegheny County and a PIN. At the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH), public computers are available only to customers who are registered for LBPH services. Library cards are not transferable; a customer is responsible for all use pertaining to their card. Staff will make every effort to issue a library card. Any customer ineligible or unable to renew their card that day may receive a PC Pass. PC Passes enable access without a library account, and can only be used in the library location in which they are issued. They are valid only for the day of issue.

Library software may block access for the following reasons:

  • Library card has expired
  • Library card has billed items
  • Library card has been lost or stolen
  • If a computer user has violated Library policies in a way that would require a suspension of computer access

Misuse of Equipment

Misuse or illegal use of the computer, including customers’ laptops using the Library’s wireless access, will result in the loss of computer privileges and potential loss of Library privileges. Such misuse includes, but is not limited to, viewing material which is obscene or “harmful to minors”; using the computer for illegal activities; gaining unauthorized access to another person’s files; sending harassing messages to other computer users; altering or attempting to alter the Library computer’s settings; and violating copyright laws and software licensing agreements.

Possession of or viewing child pornography is illegal and subject to federal and state prosecution. If a patron or staff member reports seeing what they report to be child pornography, follow the instructions in the linked form to address the situation.

The U.S. Federal Courts and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Law have set forth definitions of “obscenity” and what is “harmful to minors.”

“Obscenity” is limited to bestiality and child pornography.

“Harmful to Minors” involves materials or performances that involve explicit sexual materials that depict nudity, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse and appeal predominantly to prurient, shameful or morbid interest of minors, is offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community and taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value for minors. (Pennsylvania Obscenity Statute – 18 Pa.C.S. 5903)

Security of Network

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s free wireless network is not a secure network. We recommend that customers do not use this network for the transfer of sensitive data, such as credit card numbers or bank account numbers, even while using the encryption built into customers’ web browsers. This data would be vulnerable during transit on the network. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh accepts no liability for any loss of privacy or data customers may experience.

CIPA AND NCIPA Legislation and Filtering

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act (NCIPA) require public libraries receiving certain federal funds to adopt Internet safety policies that address the safety of minors accessing the Internet in libraries. CIPA requires all computers in a public library to be filtered. The Library provides access to Internet resources equally to all Library users and upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected material.

Because filtering software may be unreliable, parents or legal guardians, and not the Library or its staff, are responsible for monitoring their children’s use of the Internet and for the information selected and/or accessed by their children. Additionally filtering software may block content that is permissible as defined above. Customers may request that the filter be lifted.

Customer Feedback

If customers wish to comment on the filtering software, they may use the CIPA Customer Feedback Form the Library’s website. Customers may submit the form electronically, and they may request staff follow-up.

Policy for Laptop Borrowing

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh provides laptop computers for responsible use in select neighborhood locations. This service is provided to users ages 13 and up. Adults and teens must sign an initial borrower’s agreement and show photo identification or verify the birthday and address on file. This agreement will be kept on file at the Library. Laptops may not be reserved and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Laptops may never be taken outside the library.

Laptop borrowing procedure:

  • Users must fill out a Laptop Borrower’s Agreement the first time they borrow a laptop. It is preferred that users between the ages of 13 and 17 have a parent or guardian signature on their Borrower’s Agreement. If a parent or guardian is unable to visit the library to sign the form, the teen may sign. Then the Laptop Borrowing Parental Notification must be sent home.

By signing the Laptop Borrower’s Agreement, the patron accepts responsibility for the repair or replacement of the laptop in the event of loss, theft or damage. This agreement will be signed the first time the patron borrows a laptop, noted in their account record, and kept on file.

  • Borrowers must return the laptop and all accessories to Library staff at the end of the loan period.

If a laptop is not returned, it will be considered lost or stolen. This will be reported to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the patron will be billed for the replacement costs.

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