Technology Use Policy

Policy Statement:

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) has equipped the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza, the Business Library and each neighborhood library with Internet-enabled computers and wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi). These provide customers with access to a vast array of electronic resources that supplement the Library's print collection and are also available for educational, informational and recreational purposes.

The Library complies with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). This enables the Library to continue to be eligible for certain federal funding. CIPA states that all Library-owned computers with Internet access must be equipped with technology protection measures, i.e. filters, to protect against visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography and material defined as harmful to minors. 


Staff will work with the public to ensure compliance with the Policy, Guidelines and Procedures for computer usage and responsible Internet use at all times.

Due to the limited resources available for provision of public access to our computers, the Library reserves the right to limit the amount of time of computer usage. Customers are reminded that the Library's computers are located in public areas that are shared with people of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs. Individuals are expected to consider this diversity and respect the rights of others when accessing potentially offensive information or images.

To achieve an atmosphere conducive to the best use of its resources the Library has developed the following guidelines for the use of public computers:

  • Customers must be courteous and respectful when using computers and conform to the Rules of Conduct from the Public Behavior in the Library Policy.
  • Customers must use their own library card (or guest card) to register for an assigned session.
  • Customers are responsible for logging into a new, private session each time they use a computer, and for closing all applications and logging out when they are done using their computers. Sessions are logged off automatically after their assigned time has expired. This ensures that each customer’s privacy is protected.
  • Computer users are responsible for bringing their own headphones if they wish to listen to audio, and their own flash drives or other devices for saving their work.
  • Computer users must use privacy screens where available or if requested to do so by a Library staff member.
  • If all adult computers are in use, adults may request to use available computers designated for children and teens, acknowledging that they must adhere to rules regarding computer use by children and teens (e.g. Internet filtering and priority for class visits). Allowing adults to use children’s or teens’ computers is at the complete discretion of the Library.
  • Customers must perform their own Internet searches, though staff will provide assistance.
  • Computers may be used by two or more people when their behavior is not disruptive.
  • Computers and copy machines are automatically shut down 15 minutes before the Library closes, and Library laptops shut down 30 minutes before the Library closes.
  • Printing requests must be made at least 15 minutes before the Library closes. Customers may release their print requests from the printing station until closing time.
  • Printing requests must be made using 8 ½” x 11” paper provided by the Library.
  • The Library is not responsible for loss of information due to viruses or other problems.

Customers may NOT:

  • Use BPL computers or Wi-Fi for illegal activity.
  • Use BPL computers or Wi-Fi to access material that is legally defined as obscenity, child pornography, or, in the case of persons under the age of 17, material that is harmful to minors.
  • Use any device to attempt to redistribute, share, or boost the Library’s Wi-Fi signal.
  • Use the network for unauthorized access or "hacking" into any computational, financial informational or communication services or resources.
  • Distribute unsolicited advertising.
  • Invade the privacy of others by misrepresenting oneself as another user or attempting to modify or gain access to files, passwords or data belonging to others.
  • Add, delete, damage, vandalize or modify the Library’s installed hardware or software.
  • Engage in any activity that is harassing or defamatory.
  • Deliberately propagate computer worms or viruses.
  • Download copyrighted materials in violation of any copyright protection laws.

Internet Use:

Customers should be aware that the Internet is not a secure medium and that third parties may be able to obtain information regarding users' activities. BPL respects the confidentiality of those using its electronic resources, and will release library records only as required by law.

The Library has taken certain measures to assist in the safe and effective use of the Internet, including filtering. The public should bear in mind that no filters are foolproof and may "underblock" (permit access to material that is prohibited by CIPA) and "overblock" (deny access to materials that are constitutionally protected). Customers may request that a specific site be reviewed by BPL if they think the filter is in error.

Parents and caregivers are responsible for supervising their children's computer access and are encouraged to learn about the Internet and help their children use it wisely. Below are BPL's suggestions when customers encounter the following:

Direct Electronic Communications. Educate your child about the importance of keeping personal information private. Monitor your child's participation with email accounts, chat rooms and discussion groups.

Social Networking. Encourage your child to be honest about his/her age when signing up for social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, and MySpace) or blogs. These sites and services often have minimum age requirements and may not be appropriate for all children.

Unauthorized Disclosure. Users should be aware that the Internet is not a secure medium and that third parties may be able to obtain information regarding users' activities. However, Brooklyn Public Library will not release information on the use of specific Internet resources by members of the public except as required by law or necessary for the proper operation of the Library.

BPL has taken certain measures to assist in the safe and effective use of these resources by all minors (age 16 and under). The Library is proactive by:

  • Developing and maintaining an “Internet Use Q&A” on our website for parents and caregivers
  • Developing and maintaining age-appropriate sections on our website for children and teens
  • Installing and maintaining free educational and recreational programs and databases that help users safely and effectively search and navigate the Internet.
  • Providing training programs and computer workshops.

Approved by Brooklyn Public Library Board of Trustees: June 27, 2013