Free Library of Philadelphia
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Service Priority Guidelines
Although the Library’s plan for information technology involves enormous expansion of technological capabilities, resources are finite. Priorities of service have been established to provide a balance between the Library’s mission to provide information and educational support, and the public’s demand for access to electronic resources and computers. Priorities for public use are, in the following order:
  • Access to resources unique to the Free Library
  • Access to resources acquired for specific projects or programs
  • Access to information for which there is no print equivalent at an agency
  • Access to databases and resources which duplicate in whole or in part print versions
  • Access to educational software
  • Access to word processing, resume writing, and data processing
The Internet
The Internet is a global information network through which a vast amount of information and opinion is available electronically. This resource expands considerably the Library’s ability to fulfill its mission. Internet access provides the Library with a means of delivering to its users electronic resources purchased for the Library’s collection, Internet access also provides the Library with the ability to connect to sites that it has determined to meet the selection criteria in the Library’s Materials Selection Policy.

Access to the Internet, however, allows users to reach sites that are well beyond the scope of the Library’s collections and the mission of the Library. Some uses of the Internet may not be legal and/or appropriate for a public library. Library users must exercise judgment in determining the reliability and appropriateness of the material they access on the Internet.

Library staff will intervene if user behavior is inappropriate, or material on display disruptive or illegal. “Library Standards of Acceptable Behavior” is attached.

The Library will support parents and caregivers in understanding the Internet, and how their children can use it safely. Printed materials and instruction will be available to help parents guide their children’s use.

By July 1, 2004 , in accordance with advice from the City Solicitor’s Office, the Library will comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Compliance includes the following:

  • installing on all computers a “technology protection measure” (filter) that blocks or filters, for children (under 17), Internet access to visual depictions that are
    • obscene
    • child pornography
    • harmful to minors
  • installing on all computers a “technology protection measure” (filter) that blocks or filters, for adults, Internet access to visual depictions that are
    • obscene
    • child pornography

No filter or procedures can totally eliminate material which may be inappropriate for some children or offensive to some people. Parents are urged to monitor Internet use of their children just as they monitor their children’s reading.

Conclusion
This policy concerns the use of resources that are in a state of change and development. The Library reserves the right to vary the mechanisms and procedures through which these services are provided.

Adopted 6/30/99 by Board of Trustees Executive Committee. Revised 4/6/2004 .

Free Library agencies refer to branch and regional libraries, the Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.