WILTON — The board of directors of the Wilton Free Public Library adopted a revised Internet safety policy Wednesday night after a public hearing.

Director David Olson said the library gets Internet service through the Maine State Library Association. The service is paid through the E-rate fee on telephone bills and is provided to all libraries and schools in Maine.

Olson said to get the free service, the library has to demonstrate proof of compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act.

In 2014, Networkmaine, the University of Maine’s unit that provides and supports the Maine School and Library Network, was audited by a government agency that oversees the federal E-rate program. More than 30 schools and libraries were randomly selected to provide proof of compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act. Very few could do so.

The Maine State Library now requires libraries that receive Internet service from Maine School and Library Network to have an Internet Safety Policy to minimize the risk for future audits. Those policies will help ensure that the Maine State Library and Maine School and Library Network libraries won’t be forced to reimburse E-rate funds due to noncompliance.

Olson said the Internet Safety Policy must cover access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet and World Wide Web; safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications; unauthorized access including “hacking” and other unlawful activities by minors online; unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal information regarding minors; any technological measures implemented and designed to restrict minor’s access to materials harmful to minors (filtering); and the means by which an adult can lawfully request to bypass filtering.

To be in compliance, the library must have implemented a filter that restricts access to material deemed harmful to minors and training for staff to assist adults who wish to bypass the filter.

The library must also have documentation that confirms a public meeting was held to discuss these policies and measures.

Olson said the Internet Safety Policy also had to be adopted before the start of the library’s funding year. 

Olson said the library subscribes to the Maine School and Library Network filtering program.

Olson also said the Internet Safety Policy is very similar to state policy.

Wilton Free Public Library’s policy requires that children under 13 be accompanied by a parent when using the Internet. Those 13 to 18 years of age must have written consent from a parent.

“We’re real sticklers about that,” Olson said. He said he has never seen inappropriate use of the Internet at the library.

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