Idaho: Libraries to Adjust to New Internet Filtering Law
Although the new law is a scaled-back version of the original proposal — which would have required libraries to filter Internet access for everyone — it’s still a concern to some library officials.
Currently, every library in Idaho handles the issue its own way, with some choosing to install filters on all their Internet-accessible computers, others choosing to filter just some, and some leaving the choice to parents and adult library patrons.
That local control works well, Ammons and others say, noting that Idaho libraries don’t get any state funding. Libraries are supported by local property taxes and governed by local boards.
Under the new law, Internet use by children must be filtered.
“We’ll have to have some kind of sign-in or indicator, if you’re under 18, you’re not allowed to use those unfiltered computers,” Ammon said. “This is something that my library board will have to deal with within the next few months.
She added that the Coeur d’Alene library views the new law as “an unfunded mandate” because “it was the state Legislature requiring us to purchase filters, but not providing any money for that.” Free filtering software is available, she said, but it’s “really clunky” when used over networks.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.