To Filter or Not to Filter:
The Role of Public Librarians in Determining Internet Access
Introduction
Librarian's Role
Filters
Children and Harm
Legal Issues
Library Solutions
Links to free speech, filter and porn sites
References

A FILTERING SOLUTION FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES

To ensure adults' access to constitutionally-protected speech, while at the same time protecting minors from "harmful" materials on the Internet, public libraries could take a three-pronged approach that would pass constitutional muster and leave the role of child rearing to the family:

  1. Public libraries could install privacy screens so that information accessed by patrons on the computer would not inadvertently offend other patrons or librarians.
  2. Public libraries could provide both filtered and unfiltered Internet access, either through separate computers or filtering software that could be turned on and off.
  3. Library cards could contain a "yes" or "no" bar code that would tell librarians that parents either have approved their child's use of unfiltered computers or that they have not.


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To Filter or Not to Filter: The Role of Public Librarians in Determining Internet Access
Copyright (C) 1999 by Barbara H. Smith, University of Florida

All rights reserved. No portion of this document may be reproduced without the written consent of the author.

Please e-mail questions or comments to: bhsmith@ufl.edu