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Computers & Internet

Mission Statement

Inspiration starts here – we help people read, learn, and connect.

Top Ten Computer Courtesies
Milwaukee Public Library wishes to provide equitable computer access to all citizens. Please observe the following computer courtesies:

1. Computer access requires a valid library card (less than $5 in fines) or a visitor card for authorized use.

2. Do not download and/or install software programs on library computers. If you do, you may lose library privileges.

3. Certain computer terminals may be designated for library programs or specific database use.

4. Be courteous of others by keeping the volume of your personal electronic devices at a minimum when using the computer.

5. Viewing explicit or pornographic materials may result in loss of library privileges.

6. If no computers are available, check with library staff.

7. Save your work often on a USB drive. All data will be lost when computer restarts. USB drives can be purchased at the checkout desk.

8. Computer work stations are designed for use by one person at a time.

9. Computers in the children’s area are for use by children age 14 and younger.

10. Computers in the young adult area are for use by persons between the ages of 15 and 18.

Acceptable Use Policy
Internet Access: The quality, accuracy and timeliness of information on the Internet varies from site to site, and sites may be controversial or of a mature nature. MPL does not monitor, has no control over, and does not accept responsibility for material in other sources on the Internet. At their own discretion, library users access the Internet and are responsible for the results of their searches.

Responsibilities of Computer Users: MPL requires computer users to respect the rights and sensibilities of all library users. Some Internet sites are inappropriate for viewing in a public setting. Users should refrain from the use of Internet sounds and visuals that may disrupt the ability of other library patrons to use the library and its resources. Library staff reserve the right to end Internet sessions when sexually explicit or pornographic materials are displayed. (See also Illegal and Unacceptable Uses).

Internet Safety: Librarians are partners with parents in guiding children to safe and appropriate use of the Internet. In compliance with requirements of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Children's Internet Protection Act (NCIPA), MPL filters all Internet computers. Adult patrons age17 years and older may elect to disable the filter for unrestricted Internet access for any lawful purpose that meets MPL guidelines. A valid library card provides authorized access to Milwaukee Public Library computers for Milwaukee County residents. Parents and guardians are solely responsible for supervising their children's Internet sessions and for letting their children know if there are materials children should not use or view; library staff cannot monitor parental restrictions. The library assists parents and guardians who desire guidance for their children's use of the Internet through their technical expertise and guidance.

MPL staff provides guidance and assistance to children, parents and guardians in a variety of areas:

  • Reference librarians provide suggestions and assistance in conducting online research and evaluation of Web sites.
  • The Library Web site includes a specially designed pages for children that contain links to recommended free and paid information resources in a variety of frequently requested topic areas.
  • Classes and online tutorials are offered to teach basic computer use skills and to assist parents in guiding their children to use Internet resources safely and appropriately.
  • Individual help is provided as time permits in the use of applications on the MPL network.
  • Laptop computers are available for in library use at Central Library and several Branch locations.

Copyright: 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. Any responsibility for any consequences of copyright infringement lies with the users; the MPL expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use.

Software/Hardware: Users may not load their own or any other software on library equipment. Users are not permitted to store any software or other data on the hard drives of the library's computers or alter the programs currently installed on the systems. Anyone tampering with any library hardware or software will be denied access to library computers in the future, and also may lose their library privileges.

Disclaimer: Users access the library computer hardware, software and documentation at their own risk. The Milwaukee Public Library is not responsible for equipment malfunction, loss of data, any damages to the user's disks, data etc. or electronic transactions of any type which are related to the public use of library computer resources.

Illegal and Unacceptable Uses: People may use the library computers only for legal purposes. Examples of unacceptable uses include but are not limited to the following:

  • Display of sexually explicit or pornographic materials;
  • Harassment of other users or violation of their privacy;
  • Libeling, slandering or maliciously offending other users;
  • Violation of copyright laws or software licensing agreements;
  • Attempting to crash, degrade performance or gain unauthorized access to MPL's or to other computer systems and networks;
  • Damaging equipment, software or data belonging to MPL or other users.

Violations may result in the loss of Internet and/or library privileges. Illegal use of the computers also may be subject to prosecution by local, state or federal authorities.

Computer Use Procedures
Time Limits: To ensure access for all patrons, the library has installed software on all computers to manage user time limits. The length of time a computer is available varies by library. All users must have a valid library card to sign on to the computer. Daily time limits are per individual user, not per library card. Patrons with access to more than one card (personal, school, etc.) should not exceed the daily limit in total. Visitors should see the librarian for more information

Reservations: Computers may be reserved in advance. Each library has a different advance reservation policy. To reserve a computer, visit the library where you wish to use the computer and sign in. Using the Personal Session Manager, you can choose the computer and the time you wish to reserve.

Hours of use: All computers in the Central Library Betty Brinn Children's Room automatically shut down 30 minutes before closing. All other computers automatically shut down 15 minutes before closing.

Printing: The printing charge is 15 cents per page and applies whether the user brings paper or uses library paper. Printing from library computers requires a library debit card. The Milwaukee Public Library is not responsible for loss of data that may occur when printing.

Saving Files and Documents: Milwaukee Public Library computers do not allow the user to save documents or personal files to the hard drive. All documents that are saved must be saved to a disk or USB key-drive belonging to the user. Disks may be purchased at the library check out desk. The Milwaukee Public Library is not responsible for loss of data that may occur when saving documents.

Wireless Locations:  All MPL locations are fully wireless with free access for laptops and tablets.

Compliance
Failure to comply with this policy or with library staff directions may result in restriction or termination of the user's library privileges and may result in prosecution under local, state or federal laws.

Privacy Policy
The Milwaukee Public Library is committed to protecting the privacy of its Web site visitors and users. We believe strongly that users deserve to have their personal privacy protected while using the Internet. Safeguarding the privacy of visitors to the library Web site can help preserve this trust and increase users' confidence and participation in online activities.

If you send us an electronic mail message with a question or comment that contains personally identifying information, or fill out a form that E-mails us this information, we will use only the personally identifiable information to respond to your request. We do not sell any customer information. We may, if appropriate, redirect your message to another government agency or person who can better respond to your question or need.

The Milwaukee Public Library does make use of proxy server technology in order to give city residents access to private databases to which the library subscribes on behalf of its customers.

The Milwaukee Public Library Web site offers links to Web sites of many other organizations. Our privacy policy does not apply to these Web sites. Please review carefully the appropriate privacy policies of any independent site you may access through links provided on the City of Milwaukee site.

While the Milwaukee Public Library considers confidential any information users of its Web site provide, the library does not employ any security or encryption software that can guarantee absolute security of information you may provide when using our site.

What we learn about you will depend upon what you do while visiting the library Web site. If you visit our site solely to browse, read, or download information, our servers - like most web servers on the Internet - will collect and store only that information that your web browser sends when it requests a web page. This information will likely include:

  • The name, domain, and numerical Internet address of the host computer (typically a computer belonging to your Internet service provider and not your personal computer) from which you access the Internet. For example, your host computer will tell us that you have accessed our site from "yourcompany.com" if you use a private Internet access account, or "yourschool.edu" if you connect from a university's domain. It will also provide us with an IP address (which is a number that gets automatically assigned to your computer whenever you access the Internet.) The information we receive may look something like this: IP address 169.207.69.84 at d84.as28.nwbl0.wi.voyager.net;
  • The date and time of your visit;
  • The Internet address of the web page from which you came;
  • The page(s) you visit on our Web site; and
  • The information your web browser software sends as its so-called "user agent", which typically identifies the browser software and may also indicate the operating system and type of CPU used in your personal computer.

The library collects this information solely for the purpose of improving the quality of online services that we provide to users. We will periodically summarize and analyze this information in order to study site usage over time and to perform other studies that will help us improve the site's organization, performance, and usefulness.

When you visit the Milwaukee Public Library site simply to browse, read, or download information, we will not collect any individual identifying or personal information. Nor will we use "cookies" without your express permission or any other means (such as Adware or Spyware) to track your visit in any way. Based upon the data we do collect during such "information-gathering" visits, the library cannot ascertain any personal information regarding an individual user (such as name, street address, or telephone number.)

If you use the library site to request a book or other service, make a payment, or submit a form, we will ask that you submit certain pieces of relevant personal information, based on the action taken. For example, when you request a service, we may ask for a name and street address. You may need to provide certain personal information and property or other related data to request certain services. As allowed by law, we will not share any of your personal or financial information with any third party at any time without your explicit permission.

However, please be aware that the Milwaukee Public Library, as a department of the City of Milwaukee which is a governmental agency, must comply with various state and federal guidelines concerning open records and freedom of information. Information that we receive through use of our site will be subject to the same provisions as information provided to us through other media (such as printed material or voice records.) We must, by law, make this information available upon request.

Public library records that indicate the identity of any individual who borrows or uses the library's documents or other materials, including electronic media, cannot be disclosed except by court order, or to persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library system, or to persons authorized by the user. Under the USA Patriot Act, the FBI may present a court order requesting information on patron records and withhold patron notification of such requests.

If you use our Web site to conduct interactive transactions, such as service requests, we may use "non-persistent" cookies to facilitate information processing. Certain application forms and other transaction-related features on our site may require use of cookies to work correctly. The "non-persistent" cookies that our site uses for such transactions will disappear as soon as you finish filling out the form or application that requires them.

Your participation in any feature, option, or service provided on our Web site is and will remain entirely at your discretion. We will never assume that you wish to "opt in" to anything, nor will we require you to "opt out" of any feature, option, or service that our site provides. Users visiting our Web site may, at any time, decline to participate or discontinue their participation in any activity that asks for personal information (service requests, payment transactions, job applications, surveys, and the like). Choosing not to provide this information will in no way affect your ability to continue to use our site or any other feature on our site. However, electing not to provide certain important information may prevent the city from responding to your request for service or completing your transaction.

If you have any questions or comments concerning these policies, please contact the Communications & Marketing Department, (414) 286-3031