ALA to monitor Internet filter implementation, provide support to library staff and users as CIPA deadline approaches

Contact: Larra Clark

ALA Press Officer

312-280-5043


lclark@ala.org

Archived Press Release

Originally released: June 30, 2004

(ORLANDO, Fla.) On the eve of the July 1 deadline for implementation of Internet blocking technology as required by the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), the American Library Association (ALA) announced it will continue to monitor the use and long-term impact of filters in libraries and provide ongoing assistance to library staff and users in dealing with the execution of the controversial law.



"Libraries nationwide have made their initial decision about whether or not to install filters, but all libraries continue to work to ensure a safe and responsible online experience for all their users," said ALA President Carol Brey-Casiano. "Because millions of Americans depend on America's public libraries as their sole access to the Internet, we must remain vigilant that we do not further deepen the divide between those who have Internet access at home, work or school and those who do not have this opportunity."



The ALA successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that adult library patrons must have the ability to disable Internet filters to ensure access to constitutionally protected information.



According to a December 2002 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, how the filters are configured can make a difference in how much information is blocked. The Foundation warns that filters set at high levels block access to a substantial amount of health information, with only a minimal increase in blocked pornographic content.



"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 - able to safely and effectively find the resources they want and need," Brey-Casiano said. "We hope library users will tell us when filters fail - either by allowing through illegal content or by incorrectly blocking access to sites like Rolling Stones.com - so that we can make adjustments and evaluate effectiveness."



The ALA maintains a Web site sharing information and reports from the field related to CIPA and Internet filtering at
www.ala.org/cipa. The association plans to undertake additional research on filtering use in libraries and regularly update the Web site with ongoing information for library staff and users.



"Librarians also are concerned that parents must not be lulled into a false sense of security with filters," Brey-Casiano added. "We must teach children to protect their privacy online and find the best the Web has to offer while avoiding illegal content."

Parents can help children surf more safely by going online together; teaching Internet safety tips,
http://kids.getnetwise.org/
; directing them to kid-friendly search engines and Web sites like ALA's Great Web Sites for Kids
,
www.ala.org/greatsites; and attending Internet classes provided by public libraries.



The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world with approximately 64,000 members.