These rules and policies have been created to facilitate the successful use of our computers by as many patrons as possible.

Printable Computer Use Policy



1. Logging Off & Automatic Shut Off 11. Unacceptable Use of the Equipment
2. Problems 12. Blocked Cards
3. Printing 13. Guest Cards
4. Time Limits 14. Age Limits
5. Courtesy 15. Children & the Internet
6. Privacy 16. Filtering
7. Downloading & Saving 17. Access to Internet Resources
8. Credit Card Use 18. Wireless Access
9. Assistance 19. Notebook Computers
10. Unacceptable Use of the Internet 20. Children's Room Computer Use Policy

  1. Logging off and automatic shut off: Users should log off before leaving the PC. The computer will automatically log off when the user's time is up and 5 minutes before the library closes. When the user’s time is up, all programs will shut down, and the PC will be made available to the next person in line. The computer will attempt to alert users a few minutes before their sessions are about to end. Those who ignore the alert risk losing any work that has not been saved or sent.
  2. Problems: Users should let a librarian know about any problems with the computer or printer as soon as they notice something is not working as expected. Users are not to reboot computers.
  3. Printing: A charge of 10 cents per page for all pages printed is to be paid at the Reference Desk. Unpaid charges will be added to the patron's library account. Patrons with $5.00 or more on their account may not borrow library items. Printing may only be done on paper provided by the library, and is available to both desktop and wireless users.
  4. Time limits: Each login allows up to one hour of use. A patron may use 240 minutes a day on library desktop computers. The 240 minutes can be split up in any way among the different computers during the day.
    1. When a user's time is up and there are other PCs free, the user's time will automatically be extended by 10 minutes.
    2. A user's own library card is required to log on; guest cards are available at the Reference Desk. The use of another person's card or misuse of a guest card is not permitted and will result in the loss of computer privileges.

  5. Courtesy: Consideration of other library users is expected. Conversations are to be kept quiet. The number of viewers at each computer is limited to two people at a time. Computer users will refrain from the display of images in public areas that are not appropriate for public viewing. Staff may intervene upon receiving a complaint or at their own discretion
  6. Privacy: The Library makes every attempt to protect the privacy of its users. The Library does not record or monitor details of activity on our public computers, such as Web sites visited or documents created. Our time management software does, however, record times of login and logout, along with the bar-code used. This information is kept primarily for statistical purposes and will be purged as soon as it is no longer needed. However, the library reserves the right in special cases to use that information to investigate serious breaches of its policies. It may also be required to surrender its logs to an outside person or agency as a result of a subpoena or other legal proceeding. The complexity of today's networking software prevents us from making any guarantee of privacy on our computers. The Waltham Public Library and the Minuteman Library Network assume no liability for any damage to user data or loss of user privacy sustained while using our equipment.
  7. Downloading and saving: Files may be downloaded to a USB flash drive. The Waltham Public Library is not responsible for damage to any user's disk or computer, or any loss of data, damage, or liability that may occur from patron use of the Library's computers.
  8. Credit Card Use on Computers: When using their credit cards online at the Waltham Public Library, for either online shopping or using the E-Commerce program to pay library fines, patrons should be aware that they are in a public place. While we do our best to ensure that credit card information does not stay on the public computers, we cannot make any guarantees. When using E-Commerce, patrons should log out of their accounts upon completion of their transactions. When using any web site involving credit cards, patrons should log out after completing each transaction. The Waltham Public Library cannot verify the security or content of any web site requiring credit cards.
  9. Assistance: Library staff will assist patrons in using the Internet; however, staff cannot guarantee expertise in every site, program, or problem encountered online. Because of the many applications available over the Internet, Library staff may not always be familiar with specific programs patrons wish to use. Patrons are expected to accept primary responsibility for learning how to use the programs.
  10. Unacceptable Use of the Internet: Users are required to abide by the following guidelines for Internet use. It is not acceptable to use the Internet access at MLN terminals and computers for illegal or abusive purposes, including, but not limited to:
    1. Unauthorized copying of copyright protected materials in any format
    2. Transmission of chain letters, broadcast letters, or any form of junk mail
    3. Transmission of threatening, obscene, or harassing materials
    4. Transmission of computer viruses
    5. Unauthorized access to local and remote computer systems

  11. Unacceptable Use of the Equipment:
    1. Changing software configurations or settings on the Library computers
    2. Saving files to the hard drive
    3. Careless or destructive use of the equipment including, but not limited to, unplugging, turning off, moving and reconfiguring the hardware
    4. Downloading or installing software

  12. Blocked Cards: Cards may be blocked for 1) violation of the Internet/Computer Use Rules, 2) long overdue unreturned library materials and 3) for an expired library card. All library cards expire automatically every five years to ensure patron information is kept up-to-date.

    Cards with a five-year expiration can be reactivated immediately upon confirmation of the patron’s current address. Cards blocked due to long-overdue library materials can be reactivated upon return of those materials.

  13. Guest Cards: Guest cards are available to visitors without MLN library cards. Massachusetts residents who are regular users will be given library cards upon presentation of a photo ID and proof of current address. Guest cards are not to be used to get extra time on the computers or to bypass being blocked from computers for violating the rules or failing to return long-overdue materials.
  14. Age Limits: Users aged 12 and older may use the 1st floor PCs; users 11 and under must use the Children's Room PCs. Users 11 and under may use the 1st floor PCs only when accompanied by a parent or guardian. Young people may be asked to show their library cards as proof of age. Computers located in the Children's Room are for the use of children only. Adults may use these computers only when assisting a child.

    See also Children’s Room Computer Use Policy, #20.

  15. Children and the Internet: As a gateway to resources all over the world, the Internet can be a rich and exciting source of information and entertainment for your child. The Library staff will be glad to assist you and your child in finding information on the Internet.

    The Internet PC stations in the Children’s Room have a filter which blocks graphics and text that are explicitly sexual and/or violent. However, filtering software cannot guarantee protection from all inappropriate sites, and it may interfere with access to some sites that parents may want their children to use.

    Parents are strongly urged to lean about online safety. One useful source of information: www.connectsafely.org.

    Unfiltered Internet access is available in the Reference Room of the Library. Parents of minor children should be aware that the Library is a public building, and Library staff cannot monitor individual Internet use. Supervision of a child’s use of the Library and its resources is the responsibility of the parent, guardian, or caregiver. Parents are encouraged to work with their children to develop rules for the use of the Library and the Internet. See Youth Safety Online posted at the Queuing Station and Reference Desk.

    See also Children's Room Computer Use Policy, #20.

  16. Filtering: See #14 and #15, Age Limits and Children and the Internet.
  17. Access to Internet Resources: The Library provides free access to the Internet as part of its mission to provide the city's population with the print, non print, electronic and human resources necessary to meet patrons' primary informational, recreational and educational library needs. Access to the Internet is provided through the Minuteman Library Network.

    The Waltham Public Library endorses the MLN Internet Policy, which states that “The Internet offers a wealth of material, which enables libraries to enhance and supplement their existing collections. It allows access to ideas, information and commentary from around the globe. While much of the information on the Internet is professionally and culturally enriching, there may be material that is offensive or disturbing to some individuals, or material that may be illegal. There also may be information that is neither accurate nor current.”

    The Waltham Public Library cannot control or monitor any user's access to information found on the Internet and cannot guarantee the validity of any information found there. Due to the nature of the Internet, it is impossible to implement selection criteria as the Library has done for its circulating and reference collections. (See the MLN Internet Policy, available through the MLN Home Page.)

    We may establish policies limiting particular online activities (such as games) in order to increase access for research and other Internet uses. We may establish policies regulating use in order to minimize disruptive or unsafe behavior.

    Misuse of the computer or Internet access may result in the loss of computer privileges.

    All Waltham Public Library, Minuteman Library Network, and American Library Association documents relating to Internet use are available in print or online.

  18. Wireless Access: The Waltham Public Library offers free wireless Internet access. This service is available during the regular library operating hours.

    To connect to the Library’s wireless network, users will need any standard Network Interface Card (802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n) connected to your laptop or handheld device. Many new computers will access the wireless network automatically.

    Library staff cannot provide the wireless card, configure equipment for patrons, nor help with troubleshooting.

    Wireless access is available throughout the building but signal strength will vary. If the Internet connection seems to be slow or not working from one location in the Library, shut down the laptop and try again in another area. When using the Internet anywhere in the Library, you are accepting the Library’s Computer Use Policy. This policy is posted by the computers in the Reference Area and is available at the Reference Desk and on the Library’s website.

    When using Minuteman databases, users will be logged in as a “Home Access” user rather than an “In Library” user.

    The Library takes no responsibility for any damage caused to patrons’ laptops or handheld devices from configuration changes or software downloaded while accessing the Library‘s public wireless network. The wireless signal and the bandwidth are not within our control; the Library is not responsible if patrons cannot get on to the Internet at any time. The network is unsecured so any use is at the user’s risk.

  19. Notebook Computers:
    1. Computers: The library has notebook computers with Internet access that are on our non-Minuteman wireless network. Patrons may use them anywhere in the library.
    2. Library Use: Notebook computers must remain in the library for the duration of the loan period.
    3. Saving: Patrons may save files to a flash (USB) drive. Please do not save files or programs to the computers' hard drives. All saved and unsaved files on the computers' hard drives will be automatically deleted after the computer restarts. .
    4. General Computer Use: All users must abide by rules outlined in this Waltham Public Library's Computer Use Policy.
    5. General Internet Use: All users must abide by rules outlined in the Waltham Public Library's Internet Use Policy.
    6. Time Limits: Each session on one of the notebook computers lasts two hours. At the completion of the two hours, the notebook computer must be shut down and returned to the Front Circulation Desk. All saved and unsaved work will automatically be removed at this time. Notebook computers may not be renewed immediately after returning one. A patron may borrow a notebook computer up to two times per day.
    7. Network: The Internet access on the notebook computers is accessible through the Waltham Public Library's wireless network. Anyone using the library's research databases should log in using "Home Access." The Library catalog will automatically search at all of the Minuteman Library Network libraries.
    8. Use: All patrons who are 18 and older, and in good standing regarding computer use, may use the notebook computers. Patrons who are barred from using the library's computers will not be allowed to use library notebook computers.
    9. Courtesy and Privacy: Patrons should be courteous of other users. In addition to following the rules outlined in section 5 of this Computer Use Policy users should only view their own screens and not carry on loud conversations with others. Patrons should be aware of the privacy statement in section 6 of this Computer Use Policy. In order to retain patron privacy, all saved and unsaved work is deleted after every computer restart. However, patrons should be careful when viewing, retrieving, or typing personal information.
    10. Damage & Theft: The notebook computer is not to be left unattended. If the notebook computer is stolen or damaged while checked out, the patron is responsible for its replacement ($500). Notebook computers not returned 4 hours after they are due will be reported stolen.
    11. Late Fees: The notebook computer must be returned no later than 2 hours after it is checked out. If it isn’t returned on time, there will be a charge of $10 per hour that it is returned late.
    12. Returning Notebooks: Notebook computers will stop circulating one hour before the library closes, and they must be returned 15 minutes before the library closes. Furthermore, notebook computers must be returned to the Front Circulation Desk. If there is no one at the desk, the patron must wait since the patron is responsible for the notebook computer until it is checked in by a staff member.

  20. Children's Room Computer Use Policy (see also #14 Age Limits and #15 Children and the Internet):
    1. Please observe the following rules to make this a positive experience for all of our young patrons.
    • Only one child may view a computer at a time.
    • Each child may use the computers for up to one hour per day.
    • Each child must respect the other patrons in the Children’s Room.
    • Each child under age 9 must have an adult with them in the Children’s Room.
    • Any disrespectful behavior (including but not limited to pushing, shoving, loud conversation, inappropriate language, failure to take turns, misuse of the computers) may result in the loss of computer privileges for all patrons involved.

    1. The Game computers provide access to the Internet for children 11 and under to play games.
    • Each child must sign in to use the game computers with his/her own library card.
    • If all three game computers are in use, the next child must sign in at the desk.

    1. The Research computers> provide access to the Internet for children 11 and under to do Internet research, sign up for Summer Book Clubs, type homework, etc.
    • Each child must sign in to use the research computers at the staff desk.


    Approved by
    Waltham Public Library Board of Trustees
    Adopted April 11, 2006
    Ammendments approved by the Board of Library Trustees January 2009, February 2009, September 2010, & April 2011
    Posted June 2010