Using Library Computers

Computers Acceptable Use Policy

Who can use library computers?

  1. Any member of the library. You will need your ticket number and PIN.
  2. If you are just visiting Devon for a short period, you can have temporary access to a computer if you tell us your name.

What does it cost?

Library members can use a computer free of charge for ½ hour a day, but there is a charge for non-members. You can also hire a computer for longer if there is one available. You will have to pay for printouts. Current charges are on a poster in the library and on the library website.

If you have a disability that affects your use of computers you can have a full hour's free use per day.

If you are under 18, you can use a computer for an hour for study purposes.

Do I need to book?

No, but you may have to wait. You can book a session in advance, but if you arrive more than 5 minutes late, the computer may be made available to someone else. The shortest period you can book in advance is ½ hour and the longest (if a computer is available) is 2 hours. You can only book one session for the same day.

When are the computers available?

Normally during the opening hours of the library, but in some libraries, they may be shut down up to 15 minutes before library closing time. Please check with your local library.

Staying within the law

You may only use library computers for lawful purposes. There is a summary of some relevant legislation towards the end of this document. If you misuse the computers in any way, you may be banned from using library computers and / or from using Devon libraries, and you could risk prosecution. You may be asked to supply or confirm your current address so that we can inform you and Devon library staff of any action taken.

Use of the Internet and email services (but not the content of emails) is recorded, and sites visited and users can be identified. Devon County Council reserves the right to inspect files when investigating suspected misuse.

Misuse includes:


All access to the Internet in libraries is filtered but we cannot guarantee that all offensive sites will be blocked. Equally, some acceptable sites may be incorrectly blocked. What may be acceptable or unacceptable to one person may not be to another, but if you find a site which you think should be blocked or unblocked, please inform a member of library staff. Devon County Council will decide on what action to take.

As all internet access is filtered, we do not allow connection to Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

Young People

Devon Libraries offer 3 levels of access to the Internet for young people (under 16):

Restricted. A limited number of sites which are monitored for content and suitability by library staff.

Filtered. No email or chatrooms, though some websites do allow messages to be sent from within the sites. There is a wide range of blocked categories – please ask for details.

Full. The same as adult access. Includes emails and chatrooms.

Age 12 or under can have:

Age 13 – 15 can have:

Age 16 – 17 will have full adult access.

Library staff cannot supervise young people’s use of library computers, and parents are responsible for what their children access. If you would like a "Safe Surfing" advice sheet, please ask library staff.

Live television broadcasts

You may not use library computers to view live television broadcasts (which require a television licence), but you may view non-live (archived) television programmes.

Retaining your work

If you wish to retain your work, please save it to a USB drive or other external device. USB drives can be purchased from the library, or you can use your own. Do not try to save your work on the computer hard drive: it may be temporarily available to other users, and it will be erased regularly. Devon County Council does not accept responsibility for any virus downloaded from the Internet onto an external storage device, or for any subsequent damage to users' home PCs caused by such a download, or for loss or damage to material.

Availability of service

Technical or other problems may sometimes prevent access to the computer service. Devon County Council cannot accept responsibility for computers being slow or not available, or for any failure beyond its control.

Confidentiality / privacy of personal information

Because library computers are available to all members of the public, we cannot guarantee the privacy / accessibility of any personal data, including email messages. We advise you not to send confidential or sensitive personal information by email or via the Internet, and we recommend that you leave secure sites as directed and exit the Internet browser at the end of your session. If you  choose to use credit or debit cards to purchase goods or services via the Internet, you do so at your own risk.

Information provided via the Internet

Devon County Council has no control over information provided on the Internet, and is not responsible for the availability, content, quality or accuracy of such information.

Consideration for others


Health and Safety

Advice on using computers safely is provided via posters in libraries and is included at Appendix 2 towards the end of this policy statement. Devon County Council does not accept responsibility for any health problems that are alleged to have arisen as a result of using library computers.

Appendix 1: Legislation

The following legislation applies to the Internet:

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, and Obscene Publications Act 1959

You may not use library computers to view, read, download, upload, distribute, circulate or sell any material which is pornographic, obscene, racist, sexist, grossly offensive or violent, even if it is legal in the country of origin.

Computer Misuse Act 1990

It is a criminal offence to:

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

You must obtain the permission of the owner of intellectual property before copying or making use of it. You should assume that all material on the Internet is subject to copyright unless a specific notice states otherwise. Copying includes downloading files or images or copying text into or attaching it to an email message.

Data Protection Act 1998

This Act applies to obtaining, using and publishing information about identifiable individuals on the Internet. You must ensure that:

Defamation Act 1996

It is unlawful to make an untrue statement, published to a third party, which damages the reputation of a person or company or holds them up to hatred, ridicule or contempt. It need not be obviously insulting. It could, for example, be a suggestion that a competitor is in financial difficulties or is unprofessional in the conduct of its business. Facts concerning individuals or organisations must be accurate and verifiable and views or opinions must not portray their subjects in any way that could damage their reputation.

Sexual/Racial/Disability Harassment

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976 and Disability Discrimination Act 1995 make it an offence to discriminate on the grounds of sex, race or disability (or perceived disability). Harassment, such as unwelcome emails or copying of such material from the Internet, is not permitted and could result in legal action against you.

Appendix 2: Advice on using computers safely

For your safety and comfort, please:

Please tell staff if:

Different formats

If you would like a summary of this in a different format such as large print, Braille or tape, or in a different language, please contact our Customer Service Centre on 0845 155 1015 or email