UKOLN Filtering - Is This The Answer?

A Presentation given at the Library Association London & Home Counties One Day School, Library Association, 25th November 1999

Policy Challenges

1) A journalist from the local paper rings up and wants to do a piece about the library providing Internet access to the public. She’s not interested in all the marvellous things that the Internet can do she only wants to talk about pornography – what is the library going to do about it?

2) A parent who has come into the library with her children notices that in clear view of the children’s library there is someone looking at a pornographic site – she makes a complaint – how will the library deal with it?

3) A user of the library persistently comes into the library and uses the terminals to view sex sites – how will your staff deal with them?

4) Your library’s mission statement states that the library aims to provide ‘ the most effective information service that it can – meeting the information needs of all of its users and will try to get hold of any legal material requested’ – a user complains that this statement is blatantly irreconcilable with the library using filters.

5) A user wants to know why the library chose that filter?

6) Your library staff have been unblocking some sites by hand for their users but someone has asked them to unblock Playboy so they can read an interview with Henry Kissenger which is in it – how will your staff deal with this?

7) Someone who has used one of the library’s workstations used some information she found on the Internet to make some investments – the information was out of date and she’s lost some money – she says the library is responsible for providing incorrect information.

8) There’s an Internet terminal in the children’s library and parents are worried about pornography – can the library make sure that their child doesn’t see any? Can the library make sure that their child doesn’t use the Internet?