Rochester Public Library | Rochester, NY

Computer and Internet Use Policy

RPL POLICY AND PROCEDURE - Internet Safety and Computer Use Policy and Rules - Rochester Public Library (Central Library & Branches)


Recognizing that the Internet represents an important and vital electronic resource that allows access to ideas, information and commentary from around the world, the Rochester Public Library shall provide Internet access to Library users as part of its collection and resources.

The Internet offers access to a wealth of excellent material. However, because the Internet provides easy access to a diverse array of resources, the Library does not endorse the viewpoints nor can it vouch for the accuracy, authority, timeliness or usefulness of all the information found on it. The Internet is an unregulated medium that changes constantly and unpredictably. The Rochester Public Library is not responsible for the content of sites on the Internet. Due to technical requirements or incompatibility with the library's computer system, some Internet sites and services may not be accessible on library computers.

The Library offers a home page with recommended sites selected by librarians using standard evaluation criteria for electronic sources. Since not all sites on the Internet are accurate, current or complete, users must exercise critical judgment to evaluate the validity and appropriateness of the information found.

In providing public access to the Internet, the Rochester Public Library shall be in compliance with provisions of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Children's Internet Protection Act (NCIPA). Per this compliance, the library shall endeavor, to the extent practical, to block access by minors to inappropriate matter and visual images on the Internet that are defined by law as "obscene," "child pornography" or "harmful to minors," and to monitor, to the extent practical, use by minors of electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communication so as to prevent unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal identification.

The means for achieving the above shall include visual observation by staff to the extent practical, and the use of filtering software. Users are reminded that the Library's ability to restrict access and exposure to images and information covered by CIPA and NCIPA is subject to the limitations of filtering software and physical layout of library facilities. It is the ultimate responsibility of parents and legal guardians to monitor and guide their own children's use of all library resources, including the Internet. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in their children's use of the Internet and to talk about their personal values and expectations for their children's use of this resource.

The Rochester Public Library Internet Policy is currently being reviewed by the Board of Trustees.  During this review period, the Internet filter will not be unblocked on library computers.


  1. Use of the Internet or library computers for activities that violate local, state or federal laws is prohibited. This includes activities such as accessing child pornography, committing fraud, hacking, or spreading libel or slander.
  2. Patrons are cautioned that the Internet is not a secure medium and all transactions, files and communications may be subject to unauthorized access by third parties. However, the library will not release information on the use of electronic resources by individuals except as required by law.
  3. It is the responsibility of all users of electronic resources at the Rochester Public Library to respect intellectual property rights. Copyright restrictions may exist for individual electronic resources. Patrons may only make copies allowable by copyright laws or licensed software agreements.
  4. Users of the library's computers and peripheral equipment are expected to abide by the rules of the library, including the Rules of Conduct. Copies of these rules are available upon request at any reference desk. In accordance with the authority of the Rochester Public Library Board of Trustees, persons who do not abide by these rules may be barred from the library, prohibited from using computers or other library equipment and/or prosecuted for illegal activities.
  5. The Rochester Public library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility arising from access to or use of information obtained through its electronic resources or any consequences thereof.
  6. Library staff members are not able to provide in-depth computer assistance but will answer questions and, as time allows, help users locate and use resources on the Internet or on other electronic resources in the library.
  7. To provide the opportunity for the maximum number of people to access library Internet workstations, the Central Library and branch libraries shall establish daily time limits for Internet access as part of their Internet procedures.
  8. Patrons are reminded that the library's computer terminals are located in public areas that are shared with library users and staff of all ages, backgrounds and sensibilities. Individuals are expected to consider this diversity and respect the sensibilities of others when accessing potentially offensive information or images.
  9. The Library reserves the right to control the time, place and manner of public Internet access and use to ensure that such use does not have a negative impact on the use of the library by other patrons. The library seeks to provide an atmosphere conducive to the best use of its resources. To this end, an effort will be made to balance the rights of users to access constitutionally protected information resources with the rights of users and staff to work in a public setting free from disruptive sounds and images.
Users shall not:
  • install, delete or modify library hardware or software
  • move or change the arrangement of library computers and attached equipment
  • download software from the Internet onto the library's computers
  • use the network to make unauthorized entry into other information or communication services or resources
  • make any attempt to damage computer equipment or software
  • make any attempt to cause degradation of system performance
  • misuse library computers or other equipment and resources

Internet users must have a valid library card or obtain an Internet access number from the Circulation Desk.

Those with valid library cards will have access to the Internet regardless of the status of their borrowing privileges. Patrons who have forgotten their card can, with proper identification, obtain their library card number from the Circulation Desk.

Patrons who do not have a library card can obtain one and receive full access to the Internet and other library services by presenting one of the following forms of identification showing name and current address: New York State driver's license, New York State non-driver's identification card, valid New York State driving learner's permit, school ID or official communication from the school district for the current school year, valid government document.

Patrons without the necessary identification to obtain a library card can obtain an "Internet Only" card upon presentation of name identification. This card provides immediate access to the Internet, and is good for one year.

Patrons without any identification may obtain an Internet access number and password that allows Internet access for that day only.


Users must log in using their own library or Internet card number and last name to access Internet terminals.

Children below seventh grade may only use terminals authorized for children's use. Terminals in the children's area are reserved for children only.

Both long and short-term terminals are available.

Use of the Internet is limited to a total of 1 1/2 hours per day per person at the Central Library. Check with individual branches for specific time limits at each branch.

No reservations are taken to use the Internet.

The number of people at a terminal may be restricted to a single user.

The cost of printing is 20 cents per page. At the Central Library this is paid for through the purchase of a library debit card.

Patrons agree to print or download in accordance with local, state and federal laws concerning pornography and copyright.

To insure privacy, users must log off the Internet at the end of their session and collect all printing and other materials used.

Approved by the RPL Board on June 25, 2002
Revision approved by Board on October 28, 2003
Revision approved by Board on February 23, 2005
4/18 rev.

Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, NY
115 South Avenue, Rochester, New York 14604-1896
 Copyright 2018