Number of Libraries Using Filtering Software Jumps in 2001
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As part of its Budget Survey 2002, Library Journal magazine reports that 43% of libraries responding use Internet "filtering" software on their public computer terminals. This represents a 12% increase from 2001's 31% of libraries that filtered and an 18% increase over the 25% of libraries that reported using the software in 2000. Almost all of these libraries (96%) filter all of their children's terminals and almost half (43%) filter their adult terminals, the survey found.

When asked if the increase might be related to the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which ties the availability of federally subsidized Internet access to a library's implementation of such filters, Claudette Tennant, Internet Policy Specialist for the American Library Association told Newsbytes, "if that's the reason people are (filtering), I think they are acting too hastily." Tennant's characterization of the filtering as hasty refers to the fact that CIPA has yet to take effect, and is currently being challenged in court by the ALA and the ACLU.

This all comes at a time when online use in libraries has grown by 40.3%, the magazine reported. Despite this growth, Internet-related expenses remain only a small portion of library budgets. The average library spent only 4.2% of its budget on Internet-related expenses according to the magazine in 2001.

The Library Journal survey included responses from 355 libraries.

Update July 8, 2002: Department of Justice to Appeal CIPA Decision to US Supreme Court

 

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