Effective:  May 19, 2008

Amended:  June 24, 2014


The Hannibal Free Public Library Board of Trustees remains committed to providing basic computer access for patrons of the Hannibal Free Public Library (HFPL) through the provision of wireless access on patrons’ personal laptops, through the provision of public computers offering basic software and linked to the Internet, and through computers designated for specific public uses.  Members of the public who are not patrons of HFPL may utilize the Library’s computer services under certain conditions. 


This policy outlines conditions for use of the Library’s computer services by its patrons and other members of the public.  It is one of several policies governing public behavior, and it may be used in conjunction with the other policies, including Policy Statements Concerning Borrowing Materials …, Fees Charged by the Library…, Public Behavior, and the Harassment in the Workplace Policy.


The Library Director and/or Library staff will determine how to effectively post this policy.  Depending on the location, it may be posted in its entirety, or broken into logical segments and partly posted.  In either case, the concepts contained within reflect the decision and will of the Hannibal Free Public Library Board of Trustees.



Freedom to access information is a responsibility. The Internet enables the Library to provide resources not available within the confines of its own collection. It offers access to a wealth of material that is personally, professionally, and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages, but it also enables access to some materials that may be offensive and/or illegal. 

Guidelines for acceptable use of HFPL’s public computers and its Internet resources include the following:

·        Using resources for educational, informational and recreational purposes only; and not for unauthorized, illegal or unethical purposes.

·        Respecting the privacy of others by not misrepresenting oneself as another user; by not attempting to modify or gain access to files, passwords, or data belonging to others; by not seeking unauthorized access to any computer system, or damaging or altering software components of any network or database.

·        Further respecting the privacy of others using public access workstations at the Hannibal Free Public Library by not interfering with their use

·        Making only authorized copies of copyrighted or licensed software or data

·        Not sending, receiving, or displaying text or graphics that may reasonably be construed as obscene.

·        Not sending, receiving, or displaying graphics that may reasonably be construed as harmful to minors, as defined by Federal and State statute.


Unacceptable use of the Library’s Internet access will result in discipline ranging from verbal warning, through denial of computer privileges for the day, to denial of computer privileges for a week to several months, and finally to denial of right to use the Library for a specified time period, often a year. In the event of inappropriate use by a minor, the child’s parent or guardian will be notified by the Library after the second offense.

Staff members observing unacceptable behavior shall take appropriate action, as outlined in the Library’s Public Behavior Policy.  Usually this entails asking the patron to leave the computer area for the day.  However, in the event of flagrant abuse of the Library’s public behavior policies, Library staff may insist that the patron leave the building and Library grounds for a period of time up to and including a week. The Library Director will determine any further consequences. 


U.S. Copyright law (Title 17, U.S.C.) prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials, except as permitted by principles of fair use. Users may not copy or distribute electronic materials (including electronic mail, text, images, programs or data) without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. The responsibility for any consequences of copyright infringement lies with users. The Hannibal Free Public Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use.


The Library Board of Trustees recognizes that HFPL cannot provide extensive computer services.  Computers for public use are provided as funding and space allows and will reflect as much as possible changes in technology.  Computers for public use are so designated.  Computers intended for specific uses (e.g. computer catalogs, children’s educational games, word-processing, Missouri Room, training lab, etc.) are made available to the public for those purposes only.  Public access to non-designated computers (i.e., those placed in the Library for staff use) shall not be available.  Access to the Library’s Internet connection is provided as funding allows and will reflect as much as possible changes in technology.  Software is selected by the Library's staff to address patron’s differing ages, interests, and literacy levels.  Selections are made in accordance with the Library's collection development policies.


Public computers and access to the Internet are provided for patrons to use in any legitimate recreational or informational manner as outlined in the Library’s Acceptable Use Policy Statement, above.  The relative value of legitimate use by patrons of the Library’s computer resources will not be debated or determined by the Library or its staff.  Instead, time limits will be used to allocate resources.   

HFPL’s Internet Service Participation Agreement states that connectivity is not intended for commercial or for-profit business except and unless a special request has been submitted and approved.  This request must include a clear description of the business or purpose of the entity, a detailed summary of the relationship between the entity and HFPL, a statement of how the relationship directly contributes to fulfilling HFPL’s mission, a description of services requested and an estimate of the impact on bandwidth, a summary of planned cost-share between HFPL and the entity, and any other relevant information.

A patron, aged 10 years and older, may apply for computer privileges.  He or she must be in possession of an HFPL borrower’s card in good standing.  A minor child or a legally incapacitated individual must have approval of a parent or guardian before computer privileges are granted.  Once an individual has obtained computer privileges, provided his or her borrower’s card is in good standing, he or she may request the use of a public Internet or word-processing computer.  Younger children may utilize their parent’s card, provided the parent remains with the child during his or her computer session.

Patrons with Adult or Teen Computer cards may utilize public computers on the 2nd and 3rd floors.  Patrons with Children’s or Teen Computer cards may utilize public computers on the 1st floor.  Parents and caregivers may elect to utilize computers on the 1st floor when accompanying their children.

Access to public computers is provided on an hourly basis from the time the Library opens until 15 minutes before closing.  It is renewable as long as others are not waiting to use a computer.




Adults who are not patrons of HFPL and do not qualify for HFPL borrower’s cards may also request the use of a public computer on the 2nd or 3rd floor.  These users must show valid photo identification that includes a current residential address outside Marion or Ralls County, Missouri.  An hourly fee is charged for this service.  At the time of adoption of this policy, the hourly fee is set at two dollars ($2.00).  This hourly fee may be amended from time to time and posted on the Fees and Fines Policy.




Computers, related software, and Internet access are provided with the understanding that they are primarily self-service and that most learning will occur through self-instruction instead of librarian intervention.  Staff at the service desks will provide assistance in turning on the Library’s equipment, booting up software, copying to USB stick, and printing. 


At their discretion, staff may chose to assist patrons asking reference questions on computers designated for reference work or staff may insist that patrons utilize public computers to do more detailed research by themselves.  In other words, some library resources are provided on-line and patrons must utilize these resources in this manner. 


As with most public computer access, the Library’s connection is not secure. There can be untrustworthy third parties between the user and any device with whom the user communicates.  The library will not be responsible for any personal information (e.g. credit card) that is compromised.


Because of concerns about viruses, etc., patrons may not supply their own software or use any storage devices that contain executable (exe) files. 


Patrons must supply their own USB sticks when copying.  The Library will not provide data storage on hard disk.  USB sticks are available for purchase at the service desk.


Patrons may copy shareware and copyright-free software to their own USB sticks.  The Library is not responsible for violations of copyright law committed by patrons using the Library’s computers.  Copyright protection of licensed software will be maintained, with abusers subject to loss of computer privileges and/or prosecution.  Additionally, the library will not be held responsible should copied software result in damage to patrons' computers.




Regular printouts will be charged at the same rate per page as photocopies.  These rates may be amended from time to time and posted on the Fees and Fines Policy.


Patrons are responsible for previewing what they plan to print.  Printing charges will be waived in the event of printer malfunction only.


The Library’s computers are content-filtered.  However, filters do not block every site that may contain illegal or offensive content.  Patrons are advised that even if the content filter allows access, the Library’s Acceptable Use Policy is in effect, and visiting inappropriate sites and/or opening email containing inappropriate content is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

Since content-filters sometime block sites that may be legitimately used under the Library’s Acceptable Use Policy, adults may request that they be allowed to access a blocked site.  Library staff shall do so at their discretion for adult users.  Under no circumstances, however, will Library staff allow a minor to have access to a site blocked by the content filter. 


Computers in the Missouri Room and their peripherals are designated for specific purposes and may not be used for word-processing or general Internet access.  Information may not be saved on these computers.  Copyright and licensing agreements apply to materials mounted on or used by these computers and peripherals. 


The Library’s computers are content-filtered.  Nevertheless, parents and guardians are advised that filters are not always effective. The Library upholds and affirms the right and responsibility of parents to determine and monitor their children’s use of all Library materials and resources, including the Internet.  Library users, whether children, teens, or adults, are the final selectors in using the Internet and are responsible for their individual choices and decisions. 

The Library makes information available to help parents and guardians in their efforts to exercise their rights and responsibilities regarding their own children’s use of electronic resources. The Library also provides educational programs for parents. Training sessions may be requested by appointment and/or as scheduled public programs. Training is not available “on demand” because of time constraints and anticipated demand.

Minor children, ten through seventeen years of age, must have parental permission prior to using the Library’s public computers.  Legal guardians may also provide permission.  Emancipated minors recognized by the State are not required to obtain parental permission.  After granting permission, a parent or guardian may request in writing that his or her minor child be denied the use of the Library’s Internet computers.

Children, under the age of 10 years, may not use a public computer unless accompanied by a parent or responsible adult (grandparent, caregiver, guardian) who presents his or her borrower’s card in good standing.

Any restriction or monitoring of a minor’s access to the library’s wireless “hot spot” is the sole responsibility of the parent or guardian.



Users are responsible for proper use of hardware and software during their time blocks.  Users will be held responsible should they, their data files, their storage devices, or their other equipment damage the Library's computers in any way.  In the event that negligent use or deliberate abuse leads to damage of hardware and/or software, users will be assessed repair and/or replacement costs.  The resulting fee will be determined by the extent of the damage, and may go as high as repair and/or replacement costs plus a service charge. Extensive damage may also result in revocation of library privileges, particularly public computer use privileges. 

The Library will not be held responsible should there be damage to patron's equipment or loss of patron's data due to equipment malfunction or any other reason.



Patrons are asked to afford privacy to others who are using computers.  A parent may choose to supervise several children using a computer at one time in the Children’s Room.  Otherwise, no more than one to two patrons may be seated at each computer at a time.  Depending on conditions at the time, staff may decide to limit use to only one person per computer.  Failure to comply may result in loss of computer time and/or revocation of other Library privileges.




The Hannibal Free Public Library is committed to providing a free Internet access point or “hot spot” for users with their own portable computers or devices capable of receiving wireless signals, during normal library hours.


Library staff will provide general information on the settings necessary to access the Internet via this connection, but the Library and its staff are not responsible for any changes users make to their computer settings and cannot guarantee that a user’s hardware will work with the wireless connection.  If a user has problems accessing the Internet over these connections, staff cannot assist in making changes to the user’s network settings or perform any troubleshooting on the user’s own computer. Users should refer to their owners’ manuals or other support services offered by their device manufacturer.


As with most public wireless “hot spots,” this wireless connection is not secure. There can be untrustworthy third parties between the user and any device with whom the user communicates. Another wireless user could potentially intercept any information being sent or received. Cautious and informed wireless users should not transmit their credit card information, passwords and any other sensitive personal information while using any wireless “hot spot.”


This resource is provided as is. It is the responsibility of each user, not the library, to protect his or her own computer or device against any potential abuse such as viruses, malware and breach of privacy. Hannibal Free Public Library assumes no responsibility for any direct or indirect damages arising from the use of its wireless connectivity.


The library provides access only to Web-based email. For Microsoft Outlook or other email services, the user must connect with his or her own Internet provider.


Printers are not available via the wireless connection. If users need to print, they should save their work to a portable storage device (e.g. USB stick) or wait to print a document on a home printer. An alternative is to email files to themselves, then login to a wired library workstation and send documents to the public printer.


The Hannibal Free Public Library Acceptable Use Policy (see above) governs use of the Library’s “hot spot”. All users are expected to use the library’s wireless access in a legal and responsible manner, consistent with the educational and informational purposes for which it is provided. Users should not violate federal, state or local laws, including the transmission or receiving of child pornography or other harmful material, downloading copyrighted material, fraud, to seek access into unauthorized areas, involvement with DOS attacks, distribution of viruses, malware or any other destructive actions.


Any restriction or monitoring of a minor’s access to the library’s wireless “hot spot” is the sole responsibility of the parent or guardian.


In order to protect its network and users, the library reserves the right to terminate a connection at any time without further notice. In extreme cases, the library may withdraw, at any time and without further notice, all wireless services.




The Library maintains a small collection of e-book readers and e-audiobook players for the purposes of staff and public training.  Library staff is also happy to help patrons use their own e-devices to download content provided through the Library’s website.  Training is provided as scheduled and/or by appointment.  Walk-ins will be assisted briefly and encouraged to set up an appointment.  The Library’s collection of e-devices is not available for loan to the public either inside the Library building or for use at home.   Library staff may borrow the devices because they need to be fluent with their use.  .This loan is intended for Library staff use only, and not for use by someone else in the Library staff member’s household.




This policy updates and replaces previous policies entitled:


Computer Use Policy, found on Computer Use Application, adoption date unknown

Wireless Access Policy, adopted 2007


The Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMO}182.230 (2007) provides that


Every library and reading room established under sections 182.140 to 182.301 shall be forever free to the use of the inhabitants of the city where located, always subject to such reasonable rules and regulations as the library board may adopt in order to render the use of the library and reading room of the greatest benefit to the greatest number. The board may exclude from the use of the library and reading room any and all persons who willfully violate such rules. The board may extend the privileges and use of the library and reading room to persons residing outside of the city in this state, upon such terms and conditions as the board, from time to time, by its regulations, may prescribe.


This policy has been adopted by the Hannibal Free Public Library Board of Trustees under its statutory authority to determine and govern the use of HFPL facilities.