Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 42.1. Libraries
Chapter 2. Local and Regional Libraries

§ 42.1-36.1. Power and duty of library boards and certain governing bodies regarding acceptable Internet use policies.

A. Every (i) library board established pursuant to § 42.1-35 or (ii) governing body of any county, city, or town that, pursuant to § 42.1-36, has not established a library board pursuant to § 42.1-35 shall establish an acceptable use policy for the Internet designed to (a) prohibit use by library employees and patrons of the library's computer equipment and communications services for sending, receiving, viewing, or downloading illegal material via the Internet, (b) prevent access by library patrons under the age of 18 to material that is harmful to juveniles, and (c) establish appropriate measures to be taken against persons who violate the policy. For libraries established under § 42.1-33, the policy shall also require the selection, installation, and activation of, on those computers that are accessible to the public and have Internet access, a technology protection measure to filter or block Internet access through such computers to child pornography as defined in § 18.2-374.1, obscenity as defined in § 18.2-372, and, with respect to minors, materials deemed harmful to juveniles as defined in § 18.2-390. Such policy shall provide that a person authorized by the library board shall disable or otherwise bypass the technology protection measure required by this section at the request of a patron to enable access for bona fide research or other lawful purposes. The policy required by this section shall be posted online; however, if the library does not have a website, the policy shall be available to the public upon request.

The library board or the governing body may include such other terms, conditions, and requirements in the library's policy as it deems appropriate, such as requiring written parental authorization for Internet use by juveniles or differentiating acceptable uses between elementary, middle, and high school students.

B. The library board or the governing body shall take such steps as it deems appropriate to implement and enforce the library's policy, which may include, but are not limited to, (i) the use of software programs designed to block access by (a) library employees and patrons to illegal material, (b) library patrons under the age of 18 to material that is harmful to juveniles, or (c) both; (ii) charging library employees to casually monitor patrons' Internet use; or (iii) installing privacy screens on computers that access the Internet. For libraries established under § 42.1-33, the library board or governing body shall direct such libraries to select and install on those computers that are accessible to the public and have Internet access a technology protection measure as required by the policy established pursuant to subsection A. No state funding shall be withheld and no other adverse action taken against a library by the Librarian of Virginia or any other official of state government when the technology protection measure fails, provided that such library promptly has taken reasonable steps to rectify and prevent such failures in the future.

1999, c. 64; 2006, c. 474; 2007, cc. 470, 583; 2012, cc. 805, 836; 2022, c. 355.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.