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Library Services: Computers and Internet Use Policy


Internet Acceptable Use Policy

The Internet provides a means to access information far beyond the Library's own collections. The Internet is a gateway to information of great diversity in many countries and cultures around the world. Because of its international character, however, there is no external monitoring of the Internet.

While most of the information accessed can be valuable and enlightening, the user may also find materials that are unreliable, personally offensive, or illegal under U.S. law (see also USA PATRIOT act). The Library cannot police a global network and each individual user must take responsibility for his or her own activities on the Internet and for the activities of his or her children.

Parents are advised to supervise their children's Internet sessions and may wish to review the Library's publication, Parents' Guide to Supervising Children's Internet Experiences.


All Internet resources accessible through the Library are provided equally to all Library customers. However, use of the Internet must be compatible with the Mission of the Library. It is the responsibility of each user to be guided by the following principles:

  • Respect for the privacy and sensibilities of other users.
  • Attention to the legal protection provided by copyright and license to programs and data.
  • Consideration for the integrity of computing systems. For example, users must not intentionally develop programs to harass other users or to infiltrate a computer or computing system, or develop programs that may damage or alter the software components of this or other computing systems.

Further examples of unacceptable use include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Damaging or destroying equipment, software, or data belonging to the Library or to other users, including adding, altering, or deleting files on Library workstation hard drives or other Library computer equipment.
  • Unauthorized copying of copyrighted material.
  • Violating software license agreements.
  • Violating computer system or network integrity, including attempts to bypass network security functions, obtain passwords, or alter the configuration of Library workstations in any way.
  • Harassing others.
  • Using the Internet for any illegal activity.
  • Gambling on the Internet.
  • Wasting finite resources (including printing without paying).

43.22 of the Texas Penal Code prohibits the intentional or knowing display of an obscene photograph, drawing, or visual representation, while being reckless about whether a person is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display.

43.24 of the Texas Penal Code prohibits the display of harmful material, defined in the law similarly to indecent material under federal law, if the displayer is reckless about whether a minor is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display.

For more information, see the complete text of Sections 43.22 and 43.24 of the Texas Penal Code.

The Library reserves the right to terminate the Internet access privileges of any person abusing these principles.


The Library has prepared a World Wide Web home page to assist users in their Internet searches and staff have identified and recommended specific starting points on the Library's home page. While users are encouraged to access the Internet, the information needed may be more easily available through the Library's more traditional resources. Library staff will assist users in locating these materials.

While Library staff are happy to assist users in accessing the Internet, each user is nevertheless responsible for his or her own search. Staff cannot provide in-depth personal training in the use of the Internet or of personal computers.

Library staff will not perform reference searches on the Internet at the request of telephone customers.

The Library will provide primary access to the Internet through the World Wide Web via the Microsoft Internet Explorer graphical browser.

Users will not be able to dial into the Library's Internet computers from remote sites.


February 2001

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Texas Penal Code (Chapter 43)

43.22. Obscene Display or Distribution

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly displays or distributes an obscene photograph, drawing, or similar visual representation or other obscene material and is reckless about whether a person is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display or distribution.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

43.24. Sale, Distribution, or Display of Harmful Material to Minor

(a) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Minor" means an individual younger than 18 years.

(2) "Harmful material" means material whose dominant theme taken as a whole:

(A) appeals to the prurient interest of a minor, in sex, nudity, or excretion;

(B) is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for minors; and

(C) is utterly without redeeming social value for minors.

(b) A person commits an offense if, knowing that the material is harmful:

(1) and knowing the person is a minor, he sells, distributes, exhibits, or possesses for sale, distribution, or exhibition to a minor harmful material;

(2) he displays harmful material and is reckless about whether a minor is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display;or

(3) he hires, employs, or uses a minor to do or accomplish or assist in doing or accomplishing any of the acts prohibited in Subsection (b)(1) or (b)(2).

(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) the sale, distribution, or exhibition was by a person having scientific, educational, governmental, or other similar justification; or

(2) the sale, distribution, or exhibition was to a minor who was accompanied by a consenting parent, guardian, or spouse.

(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless it is committed under Subsection (b)(3) in which event it is a felony of the third degree.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

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USA Patriot Act Warning

Under Section 215 of the federal USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56), records of books and other materials you borrow from this library may be obtained by federal agents. Federal agents may also track your personal Internet usage on library computers. This federal law prohibits librarians from informing you if federal agents have obtained records about you.

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