A new Virginia statute took effect July 1, 2007 requiring public libraries receiving state funds to filter public internet access. Richmond Public Library receives $150-200,000 in state funding each year through State Aid to Public Libraries.
Some Q&A for filtering questions from the public:
A new Virginia law took effect July 1, 2007 requiring public libraries that receive state funds to filter internet access by the public. Most, if not all, public libraries in Virginia now filter internet access on library public PC's.
We use Websense. This is a product used by other public libraries, including Chesterfield County Public Libraries.
Yes, you will be able to ask us to unblock the filter "for bona fide research or other lawful purposes" (quoting from the new state law). A form is provided for library users under 18 years of age to request that the filter be disabled. This form is required at the request of the City Attorney, to document that the library meets the requirement of the state statute for protecting juveniles from potentially harmful materials.
Public libraries only are required to filter the public access PC's provided by the library, so your own laptop will not be filtered through our WiFi. You are still required to abide by our acceptable internet use policies, however, and if you are accessing internet sites that are in conflict with our acceptable use policy we will ask you to leave. (Computer and Acceptable Internet Use policy, Section 6.1 in RPL Manual)
This new Virginia law requires all Virginia public libraries that receive state funds (which is all of them) to filter internet access now. The public libraries in the immediate area (Chesterfield, Henrico, and Pamunkey Regional) have filtered internet access for some time.
You can contact the Library Director or one of the Assistant Directors for more information. Their offices are at the Main Library, and you can contact any of them by phone at 804.646.4256.
Approved: September 2007
Reviewed: February 2012