Internet Public Use Policy

Hennepin County Library Board Policy


The purpose of this policy is to affirm the library's role in providing public access to the Internet and to clarify patron responsibilities associated with Internet use in the library.

Internet use in the library means using the library's network to access the Internet either on library workstations or through a wireless connection.


Public access to the Internet is integral to Hennepin County Library's mission to nourish minds, transform lives, and build community together.

Public access to the Internet allows patrons to:

  • Access online resources and services
  • Communicate and engage with others
  • Create content
  • Complete transactions with public, nonprofit, and private entities

Hennepin County Library provides public access to the Internet in accordance with state and federal laws and the policies of Hennepin County and the Hennepin County Library Board. Collection, retention, handing, and disclosing of patron data is covered under the Patron Data Privacy Policy.

Scope of Access

Public access to the Internet is available at all library locations via library workstations and wireless access. Software is used to filter out proxy sites, and sites that pose a security risk to the network. It is also used to filter out obscene materials as defined by Minnesota Statute 617.241. Filtering is imperfect and may restrict access to legitimate research sites. Also, filtering does not guarantee that all proxy sites, obscene materials, and sites that pose security risks will be blocked. Patrons can request that a website be reviewed to be blocked or unblocked by first speaking to a staff person.

Library workstations support a variety of software programs that expand a workstation's capabilities and increase a patron's ability to utilize the Internet. The library may establish time limitations to ensure fair and equitable access to library workstations.

The Hennepin County Library Board, Hennepin County, and its employees assume no responsibility for damages of any type arising from patron use of the Internet through the library's network.

Patron Responsibilities

Patrons acknowledge that the content on the Internet is not managed or governed by any entity and therefore they may encounter materials that are inaccurate or that they consider offensive.

Patrons recognize that their use of the Internet is conducted in a public place shared by many. Patrons are subject to the Patron Use of Library Spaces Policy.

Patrons acknowledge that the library cannot protect the privacy of data that is transmitted to third parties via the Internet.

Patrons shall comply with all federal, state, and local laws, including but not limited to:

  • Library patrons may not use the library's Internet access to view, print, distribute, display, send or receive images, or graphics of material that violates laws relating to child pornography.
  • Library patrons may not knowingly exhibit or display any material that is harmful to minors in its content or material that is obscene in any place of public accommodation where minors are or may be present, and where minors are able to view the material.
  • Library patrons must adhere to all copyright laws and may not copy or distribute materials (e.g. with the use of file sharing software) without the permission of the owner. Patrons who do so may be subject to criminal and civil liability.

Failure to follow this policy may result in eviction from the library, and may include a trespass order or arrest. Violation of state and federal laws will be referred to the proper authorities for legal action.

Parent and Guardian Responsibility

Parents and guardians are responsible for monitoring Internet access for their children who are minors. Any additional restrictions placed on a child's access to the Internet on the library's network is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian.

Associated Policies and Laws


This policy is reviewed by the Library Director (or designee), the library's legal counsel and the Library Board Policy Committee at least every four years. The Committee reviews and revises as necessary, endorses and advances to the full Library Board for approval.

Policy History

Next Review Date: 3/2025
Date Approved: 5/2021