January 28, 2022

Montana: “The Parent is Always in Charge’ Under New Billings Library Computer Policy”

High school students are now required to have a parent/guardian provide a written letter to the library so they can use an unfiltered computer. Silly and a bad idea in our view.

From the Montana Standard:

The action followed a statement of concern written by City Administrator Tina Volek, who noted the Billings City Council was set to take up a discussion during Monday’s work session on whether children younger than 18 should have access to the four library computers that don’t have internet filters.

Volek proposed — and the library board approved — an opt-in policy in which parents must write a letter authorizing that their children age 13-17 may use one of the unfiltered computers. The current policy is opt-out, in which parents must write a letter if they don’t want their children to have that access.


Kathy Robins, the library’s systems administrator, said that over the past seven years, only four families have written letters ensuring that their children would not have access to the unfiltered computers.


“Filtering can be very subjective,” said Jennifer Quinn. “If it’s limited to pornography and sexual content, that’s fine. But if it’s political sites that are filtered, or basic knowledge, I think we need to address that.”

Read the Complete Article

See Also: Library Internet Policy (via Billings Public Library)

See Also:  Montana: Four Unfiltered Public Internet Terminals Will Remain Available at Billings Public Library (June 10, 2016)

See Also:  Billings Library Board Votes Limited Access to Computers (Via AP)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.