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Contact: Beth Yoke
For Immediate Release
August 8, 2006


YALSA compiles resources for librarians
about online social networking


CHICAGO - The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), 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.


The Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) passed by a vote of 410 to 15 in a July 26 vote in the House of Representatives.  It is possible the Senate may address the issue of online social networking technologies in September with its own bill.  DOPA requires schools and libraries that receive E-Rate funds, which help pay for Internet access, to block access to "social networking sites."  These sites are defined by DOPA as those that enable communication among users and that allow users to post information or create personal profiles.  Among the many sites affected by DOPA are everything from to the federal government's own Web site.


"Part of YALSA's mission is to advocate for excellent library services for teens," said Judy Nelson, 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's "Teens and Social Networking in School and Public Libraries Toolkit" 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. 


"Recently the Council of the American Library Association met and passed a resolution in support of online social networks," said Don Latham, YALSA's Legislation Committee Chair.  "Because YALSA supports this resolution, we felt it was important to encourage our members to connect with their Senators and educate them about the many benefits of social networking technologies."


These resources and others are available from YALSA's Teen Tech WeekTM Wiki at


For nearly 50 years YALSA has been the world leader in recommending reading, listening and viewing for teens.  For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening for teens go to, or contact the YALSA office, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: