Wireless Internet Policy Example

GENERIC Internet Policy and Procedures

The GENERIC Library Board endeavors to meet the needs of the community at all age levels by creating a balanced and representative collection of materials. The internet enables the library to provide information beyond the limits of its own collection. The internet is however an unregulated medium and there is little control over its users or content. While it offers a wealth of information it also enables access to some material that may be offensive or disturbing to some. The GENERIC Library Board expects users to be sensitive to responsible use of this technology in a public place.

Access Policy

  1. The GENERIC Library Board will provide unfiltered internet access to all library patrons. A membership is not required. The library is not responsible for the content or the quality of information accessed on the internet. Parents, legal guardians or caregivers are responsible for monitoring internet sites and information accessed by their children.
  2. Internet information sources are not always accurate, complete or current. The library does not take responsibility for the accuracy, timeliness or appropriateness of information accessed on the internet.
  3. Users are permitted to use portable storage devices such as flash memory drives to access files. Downloading software to computer hard drives on the public access computers is prohibited.
  4. The Public Library Internet may not be used:
    • For illegal activity, to access illegal materials, or to access obscene material.
    • To access materials which violate any Canadian federal, provincial, or local law.
    • To access materials which violate any Canadian federal, provincial, or local law.
    • To access defamatory or discriminatory materials.
    • To display overt sexual images.
    • To send fraudulent, harassing or obscene email messages.
    • For activities that present health or security risks.
    • For assuming the identity of another person.
    • To seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, data or passwords that belong to others.
    • To compromise the safety and security of minors when using email, chat rooms or other forms of communication.

Physical Access

  1. Users must have basic computer knowledge such as mousing and keyboarding skills. Library staff may assist patrons with internet use as time permits, but are unable to offer personal instruction. Information on internet use may be offered by the library from time to time.
  2. Public access computers can be booked in advance or may be used on a first come first served basis. There is a time limit of one hour per day.

Wireless Access

Free wireless Internet access is available. The wireless network is compatible with 802.11b or 802.11g standard and uses WPA encryption. However, when using any wireless connection it is possible that information sent to and from your notebook/laptop computer or other wireless device may be captured by a third party with their own wireless devices and software unbeknownst to library staff. The library assumes no responsibility for the actions of third parties that may attempt to do this.

If you are not sure if your notebook/laptop computer or other device has wireless functionality, please check with the manufacturer or supplier of your equipment. The Library assumes no responsibility for the safety of equipment or for notebook/laptop computer or other wireless device configurations, security, or data files resulting from a wireless internet connection at the GENERIC Library.

Wireless Connectivity

An encrypted access key must be obtained from library staff to access the wireless network. An encrypted key is a series of letters and numbers that you must enter when prompted to do so in order to make the initial connection to the library’s wireless service. Encrypted keys are changed on a regular basis to maintain an adequate level of security.

The GENERIC Library has tried to make wireless access as available as possible in our library, but you may encounter some "dead" spots in the library where wireless reception may be limited. No guarantee can be made that you will be able to make a wireless connection. If you have trouble accessing the Internet or staying online please move to a different location within the library. Library staff is not able to provide technical assistance.

By choosing to use this free service, you agree to abide by the GENERIC Library Board Public Internet Policy. Failure to follow policies and procedures will result in the loss of wireless privileges.

Internet Access

The Public Library supports access to electronic information, to serve the needs of the community. As this information is subject to change, PL is not responsible for the content and neither endorses or verifies its accuracy. The internet provides many resources for different age level and reflects various points of view. Patrons should be aware that the information might not be accurate, complete, or age-appropriate content. As an alternative, library staff will assist patrons with access to reliable, credible information in the form of electronic databases.

Sample Library Internet Policy PDF | Sample Wireless Hotspot Poster PDF

Why does your Library need a Wireless Internet Policy? (Modified April 25, 2007)

  1. To offer wireless internet in the library puts the onus for security on the user – therefore, users need to be aware of the vulnerabilities and take necessary precautions.
  2. Librarians must be sure that they will not be liable for any harm done to a user’s computer while it is connected to a library’s WLAN.
  3. It is imperative that users be alerted to security concerns both for their own protection, and also to protect the library from being liable. Security concerns should be clearly stated in your policy.

Backgrounder

What is Wireless Internet?

A Wireless network is designed to connect you to a local network or the internet, without the use of land lines. It is not designed to keep your personal information secure.

Security issues related to Wireless Internet

A wireless network is the modern equivalent of a party line. Neighbors, network hackers, and scammers have the ability to access your information over a wireless network.

Most publicly accessible wireless services do not implement encryption security. Before connecting to most wireless hotspots, most computers will issue a message warning users that “any information transmitted over this network may be viewed by others”. This is fine for most informal uses of the web, but NOT for transactions that involve sensitive data. Before conducting any business that is personal, one must ensure that the session is encrypted.

Without adequate protection, a wireless LAN can provide a means for hackers to invade an organization’s network.

Writing a policy for Wireless Internet

Below is a summary of Michael Sauers’ article on The Four Commandments for Public-Access. For a more comprehensive review, please see the full article.

What your new policy should include:

Disavow responsibility for patron data and hardware.Security concerns. Let patrons know that open wireless connections can be intercepted.

  1. Introduce the Service. You just need a quick summary. Use the opportunity to also to point out how easy it is to use
  2. List of Technical Requirements. List the equipment necessary for the patron to connect to the wireless signal. This list does not need to be exhaustive, as there are a large number of device combinations that a patron could use to access the connection.
  3. Disclaimers on access, assistance, and liability
    • Address limitations to the service. Mention if hotspots are affected by the building’s structure.
    • Indicate whether or not you expect a patron using his or her own laptop to abide by the library’s general internet access rules.
    • Indicate if library staff will or will not provide limited computer assistance.
    • Disavow responsibility for patron data and hardware.
  4. Security concerns. Let patrons know that open wireless connections can be intercepted.

Publicizing your Policy

If possible, make your policy available on your library’s website. Pamphlets or fliers should be available at the Reference and/or Circulation desk. You can also post signs in the library.

If at all possible, it is a good idea that you insist patrons accept your policy before they are given access to the connection.

Further Reading

Anderson, Joseph. “Blackfalds (AB) Public Library: Highway to Wireless”. Webjunction (March 2005).

Breeding , Marshall. "Implementing Wireless Networks without Compromising Security." Computers in Libraries (Mar 2005): 31-33.

Library Wireless Security and Safety.Webjunction (July 2005)

Nelson, Randy. “Wireless Security for a small Library: One Library’s Solution”. Webjunction (July 2005).

Sauers, Michael. "The Four Commandments for Writing Policies for Public-Access Wireless Netoworks." Computers in Libraries (Mar 2006): 16-20. Accessible through E-Resources, using the ERIC database.

Sauers, Michael. “A Library Policy for Public Wireless Internet Access” Webjunction (July 1, 2005).