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Public Library

Internet Access Services

The Library's Mission and the Internet

It is the mission of the San Diego Public Library to respond to the informational needs of San Diego's diverse communities by providing equal access to extensive and relevant resources that meet the educational, cultural, business and recreational interests of the public. In keeping with its mission, the Library provides users with access to the Internet and an office application suite. The vast network of information and resources available on the Internet enables the Library to provide information services beyond the confines of its own collection.

Desktop Applications

Internet workstations have Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher available. Internet Explorer is the default web browser, but Google Chrome is also available.

Internet Access Services and Computer Use

The San Diego Public Library provides Internet access during hours the Library is open until 15 minutes before the library closing time. Library patrons are expected to use Internet workstations without library staff assistance. Library patrons should consult basic Internet self-help resources as library staff assistance is limited.

A valid library or Internet card is required to use a computer in any library location. The standard session length for Internet access is 60 minutes, and patrons are granted unlimited sessions depending on computer availability.

Patrons must use their own library card to access the Internet and must have their card in their possession. Cards are non-transferable. The use of another patron's card is not permitted and may result in the suspension of Internet and computer privileges.

A patron may use an available computer without making an advance reservation. However, you may or may not be given a full-length session, if that computer has been reserved. A patron may also reserve a computer for a future time.

Reservations for the same day only may be made in advance, and must be made in person. Reservations are forfeited if a patron is more than 5 minutes late. Unused session time is non-transferable. The Library and its staff are not responsible for any time lost due to technical problems. Library staff reserve the right to cancel or change any reservation. All computer sessions end 15 minutes before closing time.

Children and young adult users have priority over adults to computers designated for children and young adults. At their discretion, staff may allow adults temporary access to these computers. However, if a child or young adult user needs to use a computer, the adult's session must end and it may not be possible to reschedule on another computer.

For information about free wireless access at our libraries, please see our Wireless Computing page.

Internet Guidelines

  1. The San Diego Public Library offers those with an active SDPL card free access to computers and the internet. Patrons must use their own library card information and PIN to sign on to a computer– please do not share your library card information with others.
  2. SDPL is a public place shared by people of all ages. San Diego Public Library staff are authorized to end a computer session when offensive, disruptive or inappropriate material (as determined by the library) is displayed on the monitor. Computer users are expected to observe the Rules of Conduct for Library Patrons (DI- 14-1, posted in the library). Those who do not comply with these rules will be asked to leave the library.
  3. Patrons are expected to use the public computers and the internet independently. Library staff can assist patrons in accessing resources on the internet when available.
  4. Standard computer session length is 60 minutes and patrons are granted additional sessions, depending on availability. It is the responsibility of all computer users to ensure that they comply with session limits.
  5. Installing personal software or applications are not allowed on SDPL workstations. You may not customize programs or systems already installed on a SDPL computer. Tampering with SDPL computers is prohibited and may result in loss of library privileges and/ or criminal charges. Examples of tampering includes, but is not limited to:
    • making permanent changes to computer programs or to the installed operating systems
    • attaching personal hardware (excluding removable storage devices) to a public computer
  6. Patrons may download files to the computer’s desktop or a personal storage device. Any file downloaded to a public computer will be automatically deleted at the end of each session. To protect personal information, please click the “End Session” icon on the desktop to log out. SDPL is not liable for any personal information displayed on a computer.

    Warning: Although a virus checker is used on the Library’s public computers, this will not completely protect your personal storage devices. Materials downloaded from the Internet or e-mail may contain a virus and it is advisable to have virus checking software on your own computer. The San Diego Public Library and Library staff are not responsible for any damage to a patron’s storage media or files, or data or other materials contained on such storage media, nor for damage incurred to equipment (or data, files, programs, etc.,) by the subsequent use of such storage media on other equipment or computers.

  7. Printing, copying and scanning are available at all library locations with the purchase of a copy/print card. Print cards may be reloaded. Standard printouts are black & white on 8.5” x 11” white paper provided by the library. Please contact your local San Diego Library for the availability of additional sizes. Color printouts are available at the Central Library.
  8. Because the Library is a public place shared by people of all ages, Library staff has the authority to end a computer session when offensive, disruptive, or inappropriate material is displayed (as determined by the Library). Computer users are expected to observe the Rules of Conduct for Library Patrons (DI-14-1, posted in the Library). Those who do not comply with these guidelines will be asked to leave the Library.

PC Reservations FAQs

If no computers are currently displaying the word, “Available”, in green letters, go to the Reservation Station and sign up with your Library Card number and PIN (Personal Identification Number).
Reservations must be made in person for the same day, either for the “next available” computer or as a “future reservation” for a later time on the same day. Reservations cannot be taken by phone.
You have until 5 minutes after your reservation time to log in. For example, if your reservation is for 4:00 pm, you must log in by 4:05 pm. You also have the option to log in early if your computer becomes available before the reserved time. For example, if your assigned computer becomes available at 3:45 pm, you can log in at 3:45 pm. Please note: If you miss your reservation, the computer will not be held for you.
Enter your San Diego Public Library card number to log in. Start with the leading zero, no spaces between numbers, and input all 14 digits.
Your PIN is your library PIN (usually the last 4 digits of your telephone number). If you do not know your PIN number, please see a library staff member for assistance.
All library locations allow unlimited time per day which are given out in 60 minute sessions. When you log in, the amount of time you have left available for today to use the computers at that library will be displayed.
Computers log off 15 minutes before the building closes, so your minutes may reflect this if it is close to closing time.
You can use your time in multiple sessions, meaning you can leave and come back later in the same day to use the remainder of your unused minutes. Click “End Session” to stop the timer properly.
If you just need a few minutes (to get a book, to use the restroom) click Hide Screen to hold your computer session. If you’re gone more than 7 minutes, you will be logged off automatically.
Watching a movie or DVD? Be sure to move the mouse or touch the keyboard every 7 minutes, or you will be logged off automatically for inactivity.
If you owe more than $49.99 and have been given a referral to the City Treasurer, you will need to pay your fines before you can use the internet.
Cards that have been reported as lost do not have access to the internet. See a staff member for a replacement card, which costs $1 plus any outstanding fees on your account. Please ask a staff member if you need assistance.


The Library utilizes a DNS service and Cisco content filtering to filter Internet access to websites categorized as pornographic. Each library facility shall have a sign informing the public that terminals are filtered (appendix A). In addition, an Internet Disclaimer may be placed on terminals displaying the following:


The Library utilizes a DNS service and Cisco content filtering to filter Internet access to websites categorized as pornographic. Its purpose is to block access to material accessible through the Internet that might be deemed objectionable according to contemporary community standards. The filter is set to block pornography, peer-to-peer file sharing and proxy/anonymizing websites. It cannot be disabled by library staff. Given the nature of how information and sites become accessible through the Internet, the San Diego Public Library System cannot, and does not guarantee that the filter will block all objectionable material. Furthermore, staff of the San Diego Public Library System cannot be responsible for supervising minors while they are using public Internet access points within the Library. Parents and other guardians of minor children are encouraged to learn about the many benefits as well as the potential problems that may arise as a result of Internet access, and discuss them with their children.

Rights and Obligations of Patrons

The Library strives to balance the rights of patrons to access various types of information resources with the rights of users to work in a public environment free from disruptive sounds and visuals. There are information resources on the Internet that are inappropriate for viewing in a public setting. Because the Library is a public place shared by people of all ages, library staff reserves the right to end Internet sessions when such material is displayed.

  • Patrons are expected to follow all Library policies and guidelines. Library Internet guidelines and policies are available upon request at each Library facility.
  • Use of the Internet is a privilege that may be revoked if abused.
  • Patrons are expected to use the Internet workstation without Library staff assistance. Schedules for instruction or assistance, when available, are posted in the Library.
  • Patrons must use their own library card information to sign onto an Internet workstation via the PC Reservation system.
  • Use of another person's library card to sign onto an Internet workstation will result in that card's Internet and borrowing privileges being suspended until the original cardholder presents it, along with photo ID, to library staff for reactivation.
  • Patrons whose accounts have been referred to the City Treasurer for collection do not have Internet access privileges for Library workstations. All outstanding debt must be paid in full before borrowing and Internet access privileges can be restored.
  • Patrons who forget their library card number and PIN may have their account information given to them by library staff on a one-time basis. The date will be noted in the patron's record. Thereafter, the patron is required to obtain a replacement card.
  • Library cards that have been designated as Lost in the Integrated Library Systems (ILS) do not have Internet access privileges.
  • The Library does not provide email accounts.
  • Use of the Internet is free; however, patrons will pay for their printing.
  • Aside from personal data storage devices, patrons may not attach personal hardware or load software onto Library computers.
  • Patrons may download files to workstation desktops or personal data storage devices. Files may additionally be uploaded from workstation desktops or personal storage devices.
  • All files downloaded to Library computers will be automatically deleted at the end of the session.
  • The Library is not responsible for damage to personal storage devices or any data stored on them that may arise from their use with Library computers.
  • Violation of Internet access policies, including viewing of inappropriate sites, may result in suspension of library privileges. All Internet workstations may be monitored by Library staff.


Printing, copying and scanning are available at all library locations with a registered library card. You also have the option to purchase of a copy/print card. Print fees for non-color copies are $0.15 per page.

Please note that the Library will be transitioning to a new printer system early 2024. If you have a balance on your copy/print card or library card, please spend your balance as soon as possible before the transition.

  •  The new printer system will feature: Color printing at all locations, electronic and cash payment options, lower costs for color prints and the ability to print from your own device.

Prohibited Activities

Illegal activities or any other activities that are intended to interfere with or disrupt network users, services, or equipment are prohibited. The Library reserves the right to adjust or limit functions within a specific software program or equipment setup in order to prevent service disruptions.

The library discourages the use of personal Wi-Fi hotspots originating from cell phones, "MiFi" wireless routers, Wi-Fi controlled GoPros, Wi-Fi extenders, repeaters, and other similar networking equipment within the library, as they can disrupt the free wireless network.

Copyright Issues

Materials obtained or copied on this computer network may be subject to copyright laws which govern the making of reproductions of copyrighted works. Copying or downloading a work that is protected by copyright without permission of the copyright owner is illegal unless the proposed use falls within a legal exception. Violation of the copyright law may subject violators to an action for damages and/or injunction. The Library is not responsible for ensuring that proper copyright protection procedures are followed.