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Best Practices:
How Librarians Are Managing the Internet

Librarians across the country have taken steps to ensure that members of their communities have positive, safe experiences on the Internet. The following are real life examples of how librarians successfully use the Internet every day.

  • The Public Library of Nashville offers free two-hour classes called “The Internet for Parents & Children.” Classes are designed for parents and children to work in pairs at a computer. Topics include an introduction to the Internet, how to navigate through cyberspace, online safety, how to use the library’s electronic catalog and the library’s “Kids Page” and how to find local family activities listed online.
  • The Canton (Mich.) Public Library won an ALA Information Today Library of the Future Award for its “Cyber Kids” program. Parents and children must sign a Cyber Kid Agreement that explains the library’s policy on children’s Internet access. Children and their parents must also attend a half-hour Cyber Orientation Session, which includes an overview of the Internet and a list of “Cyber Rules.” Once children have completed the session, they receive a sticker for their library card. This provides access to the Cyber Kids Room, where seven workstations are set up just for kids.
  • The Chicago Public Library sends a news release each month announcing the 10 most popular Internet sites for children.
  • The Johnson County (Kans.) Library produces a “Super Sites of the Month” flyer as part of its Kids’ Page. These kid-friendly sites are recommended by library staff.
  • San Jose (Calif.) Public Library has made its Youth Services Page the home page for Internet access workstations in the children’s area.
  • The Worthington (Ohio) Public Library has been a central part of a community-based online safety campaign. The library developed a list of kid-friendly Web sites and prepared an Internet Safety Information Packet. The packet was distributed as an insert in the weekly Worthington News and at community events during National Library Week. The library also has made online safety information available on its Web site.
  • The Ela Area (Ill.) Public Library offers a multitude of interesting and unusual Internet-related classes, including Internet travel resources, Genealogy on the Internet and Internet for Seniors. The library also sponsors workshops in cooperation with local police on Internet safety.
  • The Queens Borough (N.Y.) Public Library provides multilingual instruction in how to use the Internet.
  • The Farmington (Mich.) Community Library has offered an off-site Cyber Seniors program since 1997, providing Internet training at several senior residences. The program, which began with an LSTA award, trains volunteers to conduct instructional sessions and individualized tutoring. Computer workstations, a modem and printer are available for seniors to use.
  • The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District (Washington) gives library users the choice of filtered or unfiltered Internet access. Parents who have their child’s library card can make this choice for their own child.
  • A bookmark designed by the Kenton County Public Library in Kentucky offers tips to parents on being “Safe in Cyberspace.” Included are recommendations that parents and children use the Internet together; that parents instruct their children to make wise choices about the sites they view; that parents set Internet guidelines and instruct children to never give out personal information. The bookmark also recommends that children be taught to ask teachers, friends, and librarians for Web sites to visit and to verify research material from the Internet with books and magazines.
  • The North Las Vegas Library (Nevada) offers free Internet classes to the public in both English and Spanish. All classes offer instruction on using a Web browser and Internet safety while focusing on a specific topic like email or effective Web searching.
  • The Toledo-Lucas County (Ohio) Public Library provides “Web Wizards” to assist users in using the library’s Internet stations. These volunteers attend a two-hour training session and have to perform a checklist of tasks. Once completed, they may volunteer at any of the library’s branches.
  • The Newberg (Ore.) Public Library partnered with a local middle school to provide Internet training for senior citizens. Seniors were paired with 6th, 7th and 8th graders for one or more Internet orientation sessions. The seniors chose topics in which they were interested and the students showed the seniors how to navigate the Internet.
  • The Houston Public Library offers free lunchtime Internet Basics training programs to help beginning Internet users learn to navigate the World Wide Web. Topics covered included Internet terminology, connecting from library terminals, exploring the library’s home page and doing searches. Classes are approximately a half hour and users are invited to bring their lunch to class. The library also offers Business Resources on the Internet, Internet as an Office Tool, and Job Searching on the Internet among its other classes offered throughout the week.
  • The Detroit Public Library offers free workshops on how to find HIV/AIDS information on the World Wide Web and using library databases such as MEDLINE. Sessions were offered by the Detroit Community AIDS Library, a partnership project of local libraries and community organizations. Sessions covered statistics, news, support groups, services, and local and regional resources on prevention and treatment.
  • The Calgary Public Library mounted its traditional summer reading program on the Web with built-in interactivity. Puzzles, games and jokes were posted online along with the content of the game. The Web address, along with a program description in four languages, was printed on flyers.
  • A presentation developed by librarians in the DeKalb County Public Library (Georgia) that introduces parents and kids to the Internet, includes such topics as “What is the Internet?” “What Can be Found on the Internet” and “How Does the Internet Work?” Included in the presentation is a segment on Internet safety for kids and adults. A Kids’ Internet Club and a Teens’ Internet Club offers further instruction on homework help, email, chat, and online games.
  • The Denver Public Library offers “WebWise” family Internet nights at the library, where parents and children can learn to navigate the Internet together, find out about online homework help and game sites, and obtain tips on Internet safety. For more sophisticated Internet users, the Denver Public Library’s “Must See Internet” workshops help users research such topics as black history, genealogy, travel, on-line job postings, health care issues, scholarships, grants, and Internet shopping and auction sites.

Permission is granted to libraries to reproduce Best Practices: How Librarians Are Managing the Internet.

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