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CIPA Revisited  

This LibGuide contains resources and information for the "CIPA Revisited" session sponsored by ALA's OITP and OIF during 2014 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2014 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts
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Revisiting the Children’s Internet Protection Act: 10 years later

How have libraries coped with the Children’s Internet Protection Act since it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003?  A new ALA report on the subject will be presented and discussed. What can we do to improve information access while complying with the law? Jointly sponsored by OITP and OIF.

Sunday, January  26, 2014

1:00-2:30 pm

Philadelphia Convention Center, room 203A


Session Speaker Bios

Helen Adams is an online instructor for Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, a trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and co-chair of the ALA Privacy Subcommittee.

Kristen Batch is a consultant to the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), where she provides research and program support for digital content and public policy initiatives. Kristen has more than ten years of experience working at the intersection of information and communication technology, policy research, and program development. She served as lead program officer for the internet freedom program at Internews, an international media development organization and coordinated research on a broad range of technology policy issues for the National Research Council’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board.

Martin Garnar is the Reference Services Librarian and a Professor of Library Science at Regis University in Denver, Colorado.  He also serves as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Denver's Library and Information Science program, where he has taught classes on ethics and intellectual freedom.  A past chair and member of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, Martin is now in his 3rd year as chair of the ALA Committee on Professional Ethics.

Christopher Harris is the Director of the School Library System for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, an educational services agency supporting the libraries of 22 small, rural districts in Western NY. A former classroom teacher and educational technology coordinator, he continues to explore how these intersect with libraries in his School Library Journal tech column, The Next Big Thing. More recently, Christopher has returned to a focus on gaming and libraries with the launch of his new site 

Barbara Jones is the Director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Executive Director of the Freedom to Read Foundation. A former academic librarian, Barbara is known internationally for her work as a trainer and consultant for the Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE).

Deborah Caldwell-Stone is the Deputy Director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. She is the author of a recent article in American Libraries titled "Filtering and the First Amendment: When Is It O.K. to Block Speech Online."  

Marijke Visser is the Assistant Director of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) in Washington, D.C. Marijke’s policy portfolio includes projects focused at the intersection of children and youth and information technology policy as well as broadband adoption issues including digital literacy and challenges for diverse populations.


Session Overview

Setting the Stage & Presenter Introductions (Helen Adams)


Information gathering process (Kristen Batch)

Report from the symposium: fears &, challenges (Martin Garnar)

Mission creep & the reality in schools (Christopher Harris)

Presentation of the recommendations (Kristen Batch)

Discussion of the recommendations with session attendees

Wrap-up (Marijke Visser & Barbara Jones/Deborah Caldwell-Stone)


"Fencing Out Knowledge: Impacts of CIPA 10 Years Later" Draft Recommendations

As you read the 4 recomendations, consider whether they will create a culture for adults and minors to freely access information in libraries and schools?  

Recommendation I: Increase Awareness of the Spectrum of Filtering Choices

-        The overarching recommendation and the most urgent issue is to communicate—through education and awareness raising campaigns—what the law requires as well as the negative consequences over filtering creates.

Beginning with the public library and school library community, ALA should continue to build support and accelerate the implementation of recommendations by ALA’s Digital Literacy Task Force: ALA should assist librarians in interpreting statutory requirements of federal filtering requirements affecting schools and K12 education and the ability to provide students with effective 21st century digital literacy programs. ALA also should provide tools to help communicate the interpretations such that governing boards, administration, and the public clearly understand what the law requires as well as the harm over filtering may cause for schools and the broader community.

-        Secondly, ALA must raise awareness about the complementary role libraries may play to address the negative consequences of over filtering and promote the acquisition of digital literacy skills.

Following a second recommendation from the ALA’s Digital Literacy Task Force: ALA should develop clear messaging to promote the role librarians play in supporting digital literacy to administration, library boards, IT departments, policy makers, and funders. Such messaging should be available to librarians and other interested stakeholders.

-        The ALA should broaden these education and awareness raising campaigns to the wider school community and other stakeholders. To build and launch effective campaigns, ALA should:

  • Map organizations to work with to reach the broad range of stakeholders involved in or affected by filtering policies, including the broader community, such as Chambers of Commerce as well as corporations, who are interested in having a digitally literate workforce.
  • Use message testing to communicate with the different stakeholder audiences and to gauge the varying levels of knowledge and concerns about filtering among the different groups.
  • Deploy new tools to raise awareness and gather information about the filtered environments in public libraries and schools. Crowd-sourcing tools could be used to collect or verify the websites that are blocked in public libraries or schools to gain a better understanding of what content is being filtered and the extent of the filtering research.
  • Promote the direct involvement of librarians as well as teens in their schools’ internet use policy process. While librarians are knowledgeable about issues of digital literacy and incorporating technology, digital resources, and content into curriculums, teens are often technologically savvy, and bring contemporary perspectives about technology that may help to shape and build support for responsible use policies.
  • Develop supporting information materials such as articles, press releases, summaries, speeches, and posters, as well as plans for dissemination to reach stakeholders including teens.

Recommendation II: Toolkit

Working together with educational groups and associations, such as the Consortium for School Networking, the Council of School Attorneys, the American Association of School Administrators, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, among others, the ALA should put together a toolkit that provides:

  • Current research and data related to the advantage increased access and the associated skills to use, evaluate, and create digital content effectively has in preparing students for college, career, and life readiness;
  • Best practices from districts around the country, who have opened up their access policies moving from acceptable use to responsible use policies, and using social media and other digital tools productively without over filtering;
  • Sample internet use policies with language that school boards could support to increase access within the broader mission of schools; and
  • Templates for meetings required under CIPA that help to outline requirements of CIPA and their interaction with the Common Core standards as well as college, career, and life readiness, among other relevant topics.

Recommendation III: Establish a Repository of Materials

To support education and awareness campaigns, a digital repository should be created to gather existing research, surveys, and case studies on internet filtering; collect anecdotes and best practices from practitioners; and curate examples of responsible use policies, digital literacy lesson plans, and other resources. Additionally, information in the digital repository may be mined to produce additional information resources related to CIPA and filtering. It may also be used to inform directions for future research.

Recommendation IV: Conduct Research to Explore the Educational Use of Social Media Platforms and Assess the Impact of Filtering

To understand how social media and social networking platforms are used or could be used in schools, a study could explore the current use of these platforms through case studies and best practices as well as curricula and pedagogical approaches that expand their use for conducting research, collecting information, monitoring topics, and collaborating with other groups. This research would benefit from different perspectives and perceptions of school administrators, educators, librarians, and industry leaders regarding the utility of these platforms; ways to develop the necessary skills to navigate,manage, and produce content for different purposes; as well as desirable features that could be added to platforms that would help educators and students make better use of these tools. The study could also identify what hurdles remain for increasing the adoption of these tools and possible solutions for addressing these challenges in schools.

To assess the effects and broader impact of internet filtering, research should examine how different filtered environments impact student learning and achievement. Initial, short-term studies could assess the effects of filtering by correlating students’ test scores and other data, such as entrance into colleges including first college choice or possibly their publically available online profiles, between schools that filter beyond the requirements and schools that filter within the requirements of CIPA. Longer-term research could examine if schools are graduating two different types of students, those with digital literacy skills and those without, as well as the implementation differences overtime among ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups. Research should also focus directly on students’ opinions and strategies about filters and filtered content. Other efforts could focus on collecting anecdotes of what happens in CIPA-compliant libraries when adults ask for filters to be turned off or adjusted.


Session Sponsorship

This session is sponsored jointly by the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) and the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF)


Documents: "Fencing Out Knowledge: Impacts of CIPA 10 Years Later"


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Contact: Joanne Hodder

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