Library Computers FAQ Print Email


Can I get a free e-mail account at the library?

Yes – there is free, web-based e-mail that you can access through library computers. The library provides access to the internet, not e-mail accounts. If you would like help setting up an email account, just Ask A Librarian.

Can I reserve a computer?

Not ahead of time. You must be in the library to get onto a wait list to use a computer.

Does the library have internet filters?

Yes – you can request internet filtering for yourself or for your minor children’s internet access. This will not work at Bellingham Public Library, Barkley or the Fairhaven branch since Bellingham Public Library does not use filters. Please ask a librarian for more information.

How long can I use a computer?

At most branches, sessions are 30 minutes. A patron is allowed up to one hour per day.

If you have a test to take that will require using a computer for more than 30 minutes, contact your local branch to find out when computers are most available and talk to them about your situation.

Can I download something off of the internet?

Yes, as long as you save it to your own floppy disk, CD or USB Flash Drive. We cannot not allow software to be downloaded onto our computers.

Can I bring my own floppy disk, writable CD or USB flash drive?

Yes – some of our libraries also sell disks for your use.

What are the rules and conditions for internet access at the library?

The library reserves the right to set time limits on the use of internet computers and to limit the number of people using a station at a given time.
The library reserves the right to charge for printing from the internet. All reproductions must be in compliance with copyright laws.
A minor’s parent or legal guardian must sign a Whatcom County Library System’s Minor’s Registration Form, and the selection of filtering or no filtering indicated.
Some internet sites are limited by content providers to usage by persons 18 or 21 years of age. Users shall comply with all age restrictions governing access to internet sites.
Changes to the setup of configuration of the software or hardware are prohibited.
Internet use will be managed in a manner consistent with other Whatcom County Library System policies including the Conduct Policy.

All users of the library’s internet services agree to hold the library harmless for any and all claims, losses, damages, obligations or liabilities directly or indirectly relating to the use of the internet.

The library affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected materials and the library affirms the right and responsibility of parents and guardians to determine and monitor their children’s use of the internet.

Access to or use of or dissemination of constitutionally unprotected (illegal) materials is unacceptable in the library. Internet use in violation of this policy is the responsibility of the user, or in the case of minors is a joint responsibility of the user and the parent or guardian. Obscenity is not protected by the Constitution; such viewing is not protected by state privacy statute. Viewing child pornography is a felony according to RCW 9.68A.070. “A person who knowingly possesses visual or printed matter depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct is guilt of a class C felony.”

Can I save my work onto your computers?

No – our computers have software that erases your work at the end of your session. You could e-mail your work to yourself, or save it on a floppy disk or other media.

What happens when someone ignores the rules for internet access at the library?

Failure to use the internet service according to the policy and rules may result in revocation of internet use privileges, library privileges, and/or criminal prosecution.

May I use someone else's card to get an internet session?

No – each person gets 1 hour total each day. You can lose your internet privileges for abuse of the system.

Will I have privacy while searching the internet?

The library will take practical and feasible steps to provide privacy for internet users and to limit inadvertent viewing by other library patrons. However, the library cannot guarantee privacy and will not be responsible for inadvertent exposure to materials that may be offensive, nor for any unauthorized disclosure, use, or dissemination of personal identification.

The library is a public place. Be aware that what you are viewing may be seen by others.

The FBI may obtain user data by following the procedures of the USA PATRIOT ACT.