Below are excerpts from Norfolk Public Library policies related to children and the library. The following policies are referenced:
From the Code of Conduct
Attendance of Children During Library Hours
Purpose: To ensure the comfort and safety of all patrons using the library
Children age five and younger must be accompanied by an adult or a caregiver of at least 10 years old at all times while using the library. Children age six and older are welcome to use the library without an adult; however, appropriate behavior is expected of all patrons regardless of age.
- Parents and caregivers assume the responsibility of the behavior of children 5 and under in the library, in accordance with the Code of Conduct.
- To ensure safety, parent and caregiver responsibilities include: watching, monitoring, and keeping children in sight at ALL TIMES.
- Parents, guardians, or caregivers of children attending activities sponsored by the library are expected to remain in the library until the event concludes.
- Parents and caregivers should be available to take children home prior to library closing.
From the Computer and Internet Policy
The Norfolk Public Library (NPL) provides computing resources which allow public access to a variety of networked electronic resources, including in-house databases, the Internet, U.S. government publications in electronic format, and NPL-owned software such as word processing and publishing programs. NPL reserves the right to set rules as needed to provide equitable computer use and to revise this policy in response to changes in, or concerns about, NPL's computing environment.
It is the policy of the Norfolk Public Library to: (a) prevent user access over its computer network to, or transmission of, inappropriate material via Internet, electronic mail, or other forms of direct electronic communications; (b) prevent unauthorized access and other unlawful online activity; (c) prevent unauthorized online disclosure, use, or dissemination of personal identification information of minors; and (d) comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act [Pub. L. No. 106-554 and 47 USC 254(h)].
To the extent practical, technology protection measures (or “Internet filters”) shall be used to block or filter Internet, or other forms of electronic communications, access to inappropriate information. Specifically, as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, blocking shall be applied to visual depictions of material deemed obscene or child pornography, or to any material deemed harmful to minors. Subject to staff supervision, technology protection measures may be disabled or, in the case of minors, minimized only for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.
To the extent practical, steps shall be taken to promote the safety and security of users of the Norfolk Public Library’s online computer network when using electronic mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, and other forms of direct electronic communications. Specifically, as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, prevention of inappropriate network usage includes: (a) unauthorized access, including so-called ‘hacking,’ and other unlawful activities; and (b) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors.
To the extent practical, it shall be the responsibility of members of the Norfolk Public Library staff to supervise and monitor usage of the online computer network and access to the Internet in accordance with this policy and the Children’s Internet Protection Act. Procedures for the disabling or otherwise modifying any technology protection measures shall be the responsibility of the Library’s Automation Department Supervisor or designated representatives.
Libraries rely upon the cooperation of their users in order to efficiently and effectively provide shared resources and ensure community access to a wide range of information. If individuals violate policies in any way, their access to computer resources may be suspended (see Library Code of Conduct). Individuals using Library computing resources for illegal purposes may also be subject to prosecution.
Internet Specific User Responsibilities
Being a global network of computers, the Internet provides access to a wide variety of educational, recreational, and reference resources, many of which are not available in print. Because the Library cannot control Internet content, the Library cannot protect persons from information found individually offensive.
- Due to the extensive and changing nature of the Internet, patrons must understand that NPL staff may be limited in their ability to provide assistance.
- Children and the Internet: Consent given on the part of parents or guardians for a Library card constitutes acknowledgment by the parent or guardian that they have a responsibility for monitoring their child's use of all Library resources, including the public computers.
- Accuracy of Internet information: NPL cannot ensure the availability or the accuracy of electronic resources. Like print materials, not all electronic materials provide accurate, complete, or current information. Users need to be good information consumers, questioning the validity of information.
Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA) Compliance
- Because NPL receives federal funding for public Internet access, federal law requires NPL to install blocking software on NPL's Internet terminals.
- The purpose of this software is to protect minors from exposure to Internet sites that are deemed to be obscene, pornographic, or harmful to children.
- Under Virginia state law, Library staff can unblock individual websites that have been erroneously blocked by the filter. In addition, Library staff may disable the filter for patrons 17 and over upon request. Filters on PCs in Children's areas cannot be disabled.
- In compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act, Internet access on all Norfolk Public Library computers is filtered for pornography. In accordance with Library policy, Internet access on all public computers is also filtered for banner ads, web proxy servers, and anonymizers.
Library and Internet Cards
From the Circulation Policy
1. Library Card Policy
Regulations: Obtaining a Library Card
6. A non-Norfolk resident owning property within the city limits must provide a picture ID and a copy of their property tax bill. A business owner and operator must provide a picture ID and a copy of their City of Norfolk business license. A business license may not list all the owners of the business, but possession of the license will be considered sufficient identification to obtain a library card.
7. Patrons in the US or NATO Armed Forces may use their base or ship address on their applications. If the base mailing address is Norfolk or the ship address is FPO AE or FPO New York it will be considered a Norfolk address for registration purposes. Dependents living in military housing on Norfolk bases will also be eligible for free library cards. Members of the military and their families living off-base must have a current Norfolk address in order to receive a free library card. Proof of address, as outlined above, will be required.
2. Material Limits and Loan Periods
11. Juvenile library cardholders are not permitted to check out videos that have a Motion Picture Association of America rating of R or its equivalent.
From the Collection Management Policy
Appendix 1: Norfolk Public Library Collections
Family Resource Center
Consists of circulating books, audiocassettes, videos and a variety of brochures and pamphlets, targeted towards parents and childcare providers. The collection emphasizes information on parenting and family subjects. Centers have comfortable child-oriented furniture, educational toys and stuffed animals to entertain children while adults locate materials of interest.
- Electronic Resources
- Community Information
Contains a variety of circulating resources, targeted specifically towards preteens and teens. The majority of the collection consists of fiction written for teens and nonfiction titles that relate to teen issues and personal development during adolescent years. Teens are encouraged to utilize other nonfiction collections to meet their homework and reference needs.
- Electronic Resources
Contains a wide variety of circulating and non-circulating materials, targeted towards babies, preschoolers, elementary students, middle school students, parents and teachers. The purpose of the collection is to encourage and stimulate reading at very early ages and to support the general information, homework, reference and recreational needs for youth of all ages.
- Electronic Resources
- Picture Books