Resources for Librarians about Online Social Networking

Online social networking is a hot topic for those serving teens, with debate about allowing teens to learn how to safely navigate Web 2.0 technology while also keeping them safe. YALSA has created several resources for librarians to use to educate their community members about online social networking technologies and the possibility that federal legislation may require schools and libraries to block Web sites that offer these types of communication tools.

"Part of YALSA's mission is to advocate for excellent library services for teens," said Judy Nelson, 2006-2007 YALSA president. "All library users—including teens—deserve to have access to online communication tools, like sites with social networking technologies. Education is a critical step to keeping young people safe online. Learning how to safely use Web sites that offer social networking technologies is also important because these very tools are increasingly common in college and the workplace."

YALSA created Social Networking: A Guide for Teens (PDF) to help librarians explain to their teen users exactly what social networking software is, give them tips on how to use it safely, plus more information.

YALSA's Teens and Social Networking in School and Public Libraries Toolkit (PDF; updated June 2009) is designed to help librarians and library workers become more knowledgeable about online social networking tools, to give them ideas on how they can be used to provide library services, and to suggest ways that librarians and library workers can educate their community members about the positive uses of online social networking tools as well as provide them with Internet safety tips.

Another resource, the " Legislative Advocacy Guide," was developed by YALSA's Legislation Committee as a tool to help librarians and library workers effectively communicate with legislators and policy makers about key issues affecting library users and libraries.

While the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) has been on hold since control of the U.S. House of Representatives changed, many stateshave proposed their own legislation restricintingsocial networking software. If your state has done so, or is considering it, you may want to adapt the information in YALSA's DOPA Information Packet for your own use.

Questions? Contact or call 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4390.