Words of wisdom

children and the internet: policies that work

Quotes from library practitioners regarding policymaking for library Internet use. Gathered by Linda Braun, editor.

 

Balance is key. Instead of re-wording a sample policy, write an original one to reflect the needs and concerns of your community while keeping the ALA Bill of Rights and statements about intellectual freedom at the forefront of your mind as you compose. The policy should include regulations for Internet use at the library as well as a policy statement.
Beth Gallaway, Trainer/Consultant, Metrowest Massachusetts Regional Library System, Waltham, MA

I am happy with our policy because of the PROCESS we went through--all the stakeholders had a chance to weigh in:
* Admin. went to workshops on the issues with COPA, CIPA, filtering, etc. All staff and trustees were made aware of issues throughout the process.
* Senior staff from adult, teen, and children's services discussed and drafted the policy over several meetings.
* Board of Trustees reviewed the policy, discussed all the issues, finalized and approved the policy based on our recommendations. They took all of our recommendations except one-- several trustees insisted on filters in the children's dept.
* Posted the policy in the library, no concerns from our users-- so far.

Elaine Winquist, Director, Duxbury Free Library, Duxbury, MA

The key to a successful policy is knowing the law and knowing your community.
Elaine Winquist, Director, Duxbury Free Library, Duxbury, MA

The most challenging aspect of the Acceptable Use Policy is its enforcement.
Quoted from Empowering your acceptable use policy by Jerry Crystal. Technology & Learning, November 15, 2000. 21(4), 26-27.

To smooth out the policymaking process:
    * Involve an attorney.
    * Choose a representative group.
    * Provide background information on the Internet, libraries, and the law.
    * Know your community.
Quoted from Creating an Internet Policy by Civic Engagement by John Alita. American Libraries 32 no:11 48-50 December 2001

Policy is about choice. Policies are deliberate choices or decisions that guide actions and influence outcomes.
Quoted from Becoming digital: policy implications for library youth services.(Children and the Digital Library) by Virginia A. Walter.

Clearly, parents have to pay attention and be active in their children’s lives, but paying attention to the Internet takes more time and attention than monitoring other in-home activities, such as TV viewing. The many Internet dilemmas for parents will continue, and many new ones will no doubt emerge.
Quoted from Ten Years Ten Trends published by USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future. See http://www.digitalcenter.org/pages/site_content.asp?intGlobalId=22

A large majority of Internet users age 18 and under say the Internet is important for their schoolwork; more than 60 percent of students (61.6 percent) say that the Internet is very important or extremely important for their schoolwork.
Quoted from Ten Years Ten Trends published by USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future. See http://www.digitalcenter.org/pages/site_content.asp?intGlobalId=22

Back to Children and the Internet: Policies that Work main page