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Using Library Computers

Using Library Computers
What you need to know before you start
Young people
Booking a session
Acceptable Use Policy
Saving your work
Audio CDs and CDROMs
Consideration for others
How to work comfortably at a computer

Using Library Computers

Everyone is welcome to use library computers - all you need is a library ticket and PIN. To become a library member, just ask a member of staff, and you can have access to the whole range of library services. If you only want to use the computers for a short time as a visitor, we can give you temporary computer access - but there is a charge for this.

Library members can use a computer free of charge for up to 2 hours a day. You can hire a computer for longer if there is one available and you pay the relevant charge before you begin.

What the computers offer

Library computers offer access to the internet, including web-based email (if you are 16 or over) and office applications such as word processing, and you can use them to view CDROMs and DVDs. Each computer also has Widgit software which turns text into symbols.

Some libraries also have a special computer with a large screen, an adapted keyboard and a large trackerball mouse which can be used with hands or feet, on adjustable tables which allow room for wheelchairs, and with special chairs and a lap tray.

What you need to know before you start

Library staff can help you sign on and give you basic help and support, but if you have never used a computer before or if you need advanced help, you will need to attend a training course. Some libraries run sessions for beginners, and all can give you information about appropriate training available locally.


All access to the Internet in libraries is filtered. Every effort is made to block offensive sites, but occasionally one might bypass the filter. If you find a site which you think should be blocked, or you cannot access one which you believe should be available, please inform library staff.

Additionally you may wish to report potentially illegal content to The Internet Watch Foundation.

Young people

You are welcome to use the facilities whatever your age, but Internet access is different if you are under 16.

Please note we are in the process of upgrading our library computers to Windows 7and Office 2010, once the upgrade has taken place at your library the following levels of access will be available for young people under 16:

  1. All young people can have access to a computer but Internet access is not available to very young children (0 - 5) or to children under 12 unless they have consent from their parent / guardian / legal carer (see below).
  2. A young person, age 12 and under, whose parent / guardian / legal carer has given their consent to library staff, may have access to the Internet using the Library Services' Filtered access. A much wider range of websites is blocked than for adults. Sites that offer help and information on social issues such as drug use and abortion are not blocked, but those that seek to promote or glorify drug use are. There is no access to email or chatrooms, though some websites do allow messages to be sent from within the sites. This is also the default access for 13 - 15 year olds without parental consent.
  3. A young person aged 13 - 15 whose parent / guardian / legal carer has signed an Internet Consent Form in the presence of library staff or given verbal permission to a member of staff, may have access to the Internet using the Library Services' Full access (adult level).

A young person who is accompanied by a responsible adult while they are using the computer may have full internet access at the adult filtered level.

Please note that library staff are not responsible for supervising young people's use of library computers.

Booking a session

You do not need to book to use a library computer, but you may have to wait your turn, and we cannot always guarantee you access.

Sessions can be booked in advance and we can accept bookings in multiples of 15 minutes, subject to availability here Library PC Booking

If you arrive more than 5 minutes late for a booked session, the computer may be made available to someone else.


Click on this link to see our current charges. The minimum charging period for hired use of computers is 30 minutes.

All printouts are charged for, including any wastage other than that caused by a technical malfunction.

Acceptable Use Policy

Before you start using library computers, you will be required to accept the terms of our Acceptable Use Policy, image - PDF icon (121KB - pdf help) which will come up on the screen. This provides guidance on staying within the law, explains about monitoring, confidentiality, and liability, and tells you what is and is not acceptable in using library computers. It also offers some Health and Safety guidance. Failure to comply with the terms of the policy could result in your being banned from using library computers and/or from using Devon public libraries.

Saving your work

If you wish to keep a copy of your work, please save it to a USB drive. These can be purchased from the library, or you can use your own. Information saved on the computer hard drive may be temporarily available to other users, and the computers will be reconfigured regularly, erasing existing data.

Audio material and CDs / DVDs / CDROMs

If you want to listen to audio material, please use the headphones provided. Not all CDROMs will run on our system, and staff cannot offer help or advice on compatibility, loading or running them. Please remember to remove the disk when you have finished! You may use the library's "for hire" DVDs and audio CDs only if you have paid the hire charge.

Consideration for others

Please be quiet when using library computers, and do not use your mobile phone. Disruptive use, such as for group game playing, is not permitted. We ask you to respect other people's privacy and not to look at computer screens that are being used by others.


We welcome your comments on any aspect of using library computers. If you can spare some time to send us your feedback, it will help us to develop the service to meet the needs of our users

Information about joining the library and using library computers is available in 28 languages.

How to work comfortably at a computer

For your safety and comfort, please

  • Adjust the height of your chair so that your arms are horizontal and your eyes are level with the top of the screen. Your feet should rest on the floor
  • Adjust the backrest so that it supports your lower back
  • Make sure the keyboard is tilted (use the legs under its back)
  • Don't bend your wrists upwards
  • Position the mouse so that it is within easy reach
  • If there is reflected glare from windows or lights, tilt or twist the screen
  • Use the controls beneath the screen to adjust the brightness and contrast if the image is not clear enough
  • Try to relax, and type gently
  • Don't sit in one position for too long, and look away from the screen to vary your focus. Take short regular breaks

Please ask staff if

You would like to borrow a wristrest or a footrest
You cannot avoid glare on the screen
The screen flickers or the characters move
You notice any hazards such as trailing wires or the screen needs cleaning