Internet filters in public libraries: do they belong?
With the Childrens Internet Protection Act (CIPA) of 2000, hundreds of public and school libraries in the United States have implemented internet filters. While filtering can keep children from viewing inappropriate Internet materials, the use of filters in public libraries infringes on the intellectual freedom of library users. Over-blocking and under-blocking are negatively affecting open research and use of online resources, bringing about profession-wide discussions about emerging technological changes in libraries. This essay examines these discussions and advocates for an approach incorporating privacy screens or recessed monitors, the establishment of clear Internet use policies, and better user education to help maintain the role of libraries as valued centers for free self-education and learning.
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