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Libraries and the Internet Toolkit

Tips and Guidance for Managing and Communicating about the Internet

The Internet is a rich and educational resource for information, ideas and entertainment. No other medium provides us with so much information so easily. At the same time, the Internet has raised concerns about privacy and children's access to information. As the number one point of entry to the Internet outside of work, school or home, libraries, especially public libraries, address these concerns every day.

The American Library Association (ALA) has produced this "toolkit" to assist librarians in managing the Internet and educating their public about how to use it effectively. ALA encourages all libraries to implement policies that protect both children and public access to information and to take an active role in educating their communities about this important resource.

Table of Contents

Foreword

Introduction

Key Messages

Fast Facts

Checklist for Creating an Internet Use Policy

What You Can Do

Educate! Inform! Promote!

What Makes a Great Web Site for Children?

Tips for Parents

ALA and Filtering

Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

Tough Questions on CIPA

Debate Over Filters

Handling Tough Questions

Sample Answers to Tough Questions

Helpful Resources

Online Resources for Parents and Children

Libraries, the Internet and Filtering

Libraries, Children & the Internet

Valuable Links

Key Contacts


Contributors:
American Library Association:
Office for Intellectual Freedom,
Public Information Office and
Washington Office

Permission is granted to libraries to reproduce this toolkit.

Libraries & the Internet Toolkit (PDF File)
Libraries & the Internet Toolkit (.DOC)
Libraries & the Internet Toolkit (.RTF)



 
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This document was last updated December 1, 2003


Links to non-ALA sites have been provided because these sites may have information of interest. Neither the American Library Association nor the Office for Intellectual Freedom necessarily endorses the views expressed or the facts presented on these sites; and furthermore, ALA and OIF do not endorse any commercial products that may be advertised or available on these sites.




Related Files

Libraries & the Internet Toolkit (PDF File)
Libraries & the Internet Toolkit (.DOC)
Libraries & the Internet Toolkit (.RTF)

Related Links

Filters and Filtering

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Foreword
Foreword to the Libraries and the Internet Toolkit.

Introduction
Introduction to the Libraries and the Internet Toolkit.

Key Messages
The Internet is one of many important information resources. Our goal as librarians is to help people of all ages make the most of it and become information literate.

Fast Facts
Internet access in public libraries is as common as books. Almost all public library outlets offer public access to the Internet.

Checklist for Creating an Internet Use Policy
The ALA strongly encourages all libraries to adopt and implement a written Internet use policy in the same way they adopt other library use and access policies. This policy should be in keeping with your library’s mission statements, other access policies and community needs.

What You Can Do
Librarians can take many proactive measures to address concerns about children’s Internet access. Be strategic. Be creative. Most of all, be prepared.

Educate! Inform! Promote!
Reach out to your community. Find creative ways to spread the word about library policies and programs to ensure a positive online experience.

What Makes a Great Web Site for Children?
Make sure children and parents know what to look for in a Web site.

Tips for Parents
The following tips can be reproduced or edited for your library. Print them on flyers or bookmarks and distribute during Internet training classes, back-to-school nights, library open houses and other events.

ALA and Filtering
The role of the ALA is to recommend policies that uphold the highest ideals of our profession and nation—the freedom to read and receive information as defined by the United States Constitution and courts of law. Local libraries adopt their own policies to uphold this ideal and address the specific needs of their communities.

Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
For the latest information, see the CIPA home page. The CIPA Web site is a joint effort of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and Washington Office.

Tough Questions on CIPA

Debate Over Filters
In order to prepare for dealing with concerns about Internet access at the library, libraries should consider taking the following steps.

Handling Tough Questions
The best way to deal with tough questions from library users, board members, the mayor or a reporter is to be prepared.

Sample Answers to Tough Questions
Librarians guide children to quality materials, whether in books or on the Internet. We also provide classes to help teach children and parents about the Internet. In an information-rich society, librarians are information smart.

Helpful Resources
The Office for Intellectual Freedom provides a wealth of information regarding intellectual freedom and censorship, (including the forthcoming sixth edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual), sample library policies, the Library Bill of Rights and its Interpretations, intellectual freedom statements and more. Excellent resource for librarians dealing with Internet access issues.

Online Resources for Parents and Children
Links to online resources for parents and children related to the Libraries and the Internet Toolkit.

Libraries, the Internet and Filtering
In the race to wire America, one institution has led the way in ensuring that all people have access to this important new ressource: the library.

Libraries, Children & the Internet
The Internet is changing how we live, learn, work and interact with one other. If today’s children are to succeed as adults, they must learn information literacy skills for every resource—new and old.

Valuable Links
Valuable links to a variety of resources related to the Libraries and the Internet Toolkit.

Key Contacts
Key ALA contacts regarding Libraries and the Internet Toolkit.

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