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Internet Filters

The Internet is here to stay, and so is the battle over how it should be governed. This issue is nowhere more pertinent and contested than in libraries. Free public access to the Internet is now considered a basic right in many communities, but the issue of what content should be accessible in such a setting is grounds for legislative war.

Library Internet access opens whole new worlds to users. Patrons can freely access multimedia information on subjects ranging from space exploration to local community issues. At the same time, children and adults now have easy access to controversial sites that contain pornography, hate literature and bomb information.

Internet filtering software offers some control, but its use remains hotly contested by many. The debate finds the protectors of First Amendment rights pitted against those who have deep concerns about child safety.

The following sites can help you get up to speed on the issue:

  • American Library Association's Resolution on the Use of Internet Filters
    Outlines the group's firm belief that the use of library filters violates the "Library Bill of Rights", which the association adopted in 1948. As the primary organization to set library standards worldwide, its voice is powerful.




  • InfoPeople's Library Filtering Page
    Catch up on the history of libraries and internet filtering (complete with glossary terms), how filters work and the best practices, and the site includes related resources.
  • LibraryHQ.com's Internet Filtering and Blocking Page
    A useful resource for current debates and issues about the subject. Look up past court cases involving the topic, different lobbying groups and various blocking programs.
For more information on individual lobbying groups on either side of the issue, check out the following:




   --- A. Leonard

 
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