Computer Use


Intended Purpose and Managing Availability of Public Access Internet Computers

Internet access is provided as an additional research tool for library patrons. To help manage the availability of Internet computers for this purpose, chat groups, online games, word and data processing applications are not permitted. Library staff is authorized to manage Internet computer availability. Users are expected to comply when asked by Library staff to relinquish a computer.
To help maximize the availability and utility of the limited number of Internet computers, please observe the following policies, guidelines and procedures.


Procedures for Internet Computer Use
To log on to an Internet computer you will need to have your current Alameda Free Library card in hand. Internet computers are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Typically, time slots will be 60 minutes, but may be adjusted by staff to 30 minutes during peak use periods.
    (e.g. Sunday 1-5; Saturday 1-5; weekdays 3-5:30)
  • No more than two people at the computer. 
  • Prints cost 15 cents per page for black & white / 85 cents per page for color;
    please pick up and pay for your print job at the copier alcove.

Procedures may be slightly different at the two branch libraries, please call if you have specific questions.


Time Limits
In the interest of serving all our customers, the Library reserves the right to set time limits on any Internet computer.
Time limits are changeable and will be posted. Procedures regarding time limits and reservations may vary from branch to branch.
Users should contact their branch of choice for details.


Time on the Computer for Children
The Internet computer in the Children's Department is for the use of children, their caregivers and teachers. Use by children will take precedence over other users. In branches, staff may reserve their Internet computers for exclusive use by children during periods of the day throughout the week. These times will be posted. It is advisable to contact the branch you wish to use for the most current information about time limits and reservations.


Responsible and Courteous Use
Computers must be used in keeping with the Alameda Free Library's "Use of the Internet" and "Behavior in the Library" policies. All users of computers in the library are expected to use this resource in a responsible and courteous manner, consistent with this policy.


Internet users are asked not to gather around Internet computers when doing so may create physical impediment or an abnormal noise level affecting other occupants of the library. In the close quarters of the library, the computer screen is less private than is usual with typical library materials. Some courtesy safeguards for Internet users and other library occupants are:

  • Filtering software on the computers in the children's areas
  • People of all ages, backgrounds and sensibilities frequent the library. Be aware that others may inadvertently observe the computer monitor. Consider this when accessing potentially offensive information or images.
  • As with other resources of the library, respect the privacy of Internet users.

Assistance with Using the Internet Computers and with Research

For many staff, using the Internet is a new experience. Other staff have more experience. In all cases, staff will be glad to assist you in getting started on the Internet computers, whatever their level of experience. Please ask staff for information about local opportunities for more in-depth instruction on Internet or personal computer use.Librarians can be of particular assistance for reference searching on the Internet. Internet access expands the resources available to the researcher through the Library. However, the Internet is not always the best or most expedient medium for the information needed. Please ask a Librarian to help when in doubt about the best route to find the information you need.


Downloading Information from the Internet; Virus Security
To prevent computer viruses, you may not use your own computer software programs or diskettes on the Library Internet computers. Downloading information from the Internet is permitted, provided this is done on your personal USB memory device at the time of download. Although the Library uses a virus checker on the computers, this will not guarantee protection. Software downloaded from the Internet to your USB device may contain a virus.


Misuse of Computers
Misuse of an Internet computer may result in loss of computer privileges, loss of library privileges and possible prosecution. Using the computers for expressly prohibited applications, for commercial purposes, or for criminal or illegal purposes constitutes misuse. Misuse includes:

  • Tampering with settings, attempting to make unauthorized entry into other networks or systems,
  • Invading the privacy of others or sending harassing or threatening messages, failure to pay for prints,
  • Mishandling, damaging or jeopardizing the use of the search station and failure to comply when asked by staff to relinquish the computer, and any violation of the Alameda Free Library Policy for Use of Internet Computers.

Adopted by the Library Board on October 14, 1998