Home » About BPL » Library Policies » Internet Use Policy (4.401)

Internet Use Policy (4.401)


This policy applies to all visitors to all facilities and properties of the Bellingham Public Library.


Minor: persons under the age of eighteen (18).


  1. Library provides public access to the Internet.
    The Library’s mission is to provide our community access to the world of ideas and information. The Internet is a global electronic network of ideas, images and commentary that enhances resources already available in the Library.
  1. Library does not control the information available on the Internet.
    The Internet offers access to a wealth of information that is personally, professionally and culturally enriching. It may also offer access to information that is inaccurate, incomplete or dated, and some sources may be offensive, disturbing or illegal.Internet resources are not subject to the same selection review as other library material. The Library does not monitor, control or filter content accessed through the Internet and is not responsible for its content or its use in the library.
  1. Library requires responsible use of the Internet.
    Patrons who use the Internet in the Library must agree to abide by this Internet policy, Guidelines for computer use, and the Library’s Rules of Conduct. Patrons are asked to avoid viewing material not appropriate in a public setting. Failure to use Internet access according to these rules may result in revocation of Internet use privileges, Library privileges and/or criminal prosecution.
  1. Library offers assistance to its patrons in becoming informed Internet users.
    People who access the Internet will determine what sources are appropriate for their use.
    Library staff offers assistance in creating informed Internet users by:
    • creating “Online Research Tools” by identifying links to reliable websites
    • helping patrons access printed and online resources that teach how to choose and evaluate Internet resources
    • helping patrons identify and use online filtering resources
    • offering classes in email and Internet use
    • developing other resources as needed
  1. Library provides Internet access to minors.
    The Library affirms the right and responsibility of parents/guardians to determine and monitor their children’s use of the Library’s resources, including use of the Internet. Minors are required to have a library card authorized by a parent/guardian to use the Internet. Visitor passes are not given to minors without parent/guardian permission. Library staff offers assistance to parents/guardians of children by:
    • creating a Kids Page with links to age appropriate search engines and websites
    • being available to help identify appropriate sites for children.
    • offering a Guide to Online Safety for families
    • developing other resources as needed
  1. Library limits daily time on the Internet.
    In order to make the Library’s computers available to as many persons as possible, the Library Director or designee may set limits on the time allowed per patron for use of the Library’s public access computers, and may choose how to implement the limits.
  1. Library provides wireless Internet access.
    Wireless access to the Internet is available to patrons with their own computing equipment during open Library hours. Patrons are responsible for configuring and protecting their own equipment. The Library’s wireless network is not secure and the Library is not responsible for any damages arising from its use.
  1. Library Board reviews this policy.
    This policy is periodically reviewed, revised, or reaffirmed by the Library Board of Trustees.


Title: 4.401 Internet Policy
Code: 4 Public Services
Chapter: 4.400 Public Use of Computers
Type of Policy: Departmental
Date Developed: 21 May 1996
Date Revised: 16 April 1999, 5 June 2000, 6 September 2000, 20 August 2001, 8 January 2002, 11 March 2003, 21 July 2009, 16 August 2022
Revised by: Rebecca Judd
Developed by: Claudia McCain
Approved By: Library Board of Trustees
See Also:
Library policy: 4.101 Rules of Conduct
Library procedures:
4.401.101 Internet time limit abuse
4.401.102 Guidelines for computer use
Other resources:
Freedom to Read Statement (ALA)
Library Bill of Rights (ALA)
Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights: Access for Children and Young Adults to Nonprint materials (ALA)
Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights: Access to Digital Information, Services and Networks (ALA)
Statement on Use of Library Filtering Software (ALA)