Library board to consider revised Internet policy

"The Kitsap Regional Library Board, besieged by residents who don't think libraries do enough to filter pornographic Web sites, will consider changes to its Internet policy at a meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, at the Martin Luther King Jr. branch, 612 5th Street in Bremerton. Our library staff and trustees continue to take steps to protect children and teens in our buildings. The Board of Trustees is considering a new policy giving parents the ability to require filters when their own children use library computers, KRL director Ellen Newberg said.The library's solution to the knotty problem of Internet access for children is very interesting, and a possible winner.The main library and branches all have one or more filtered computers available.A proposal brought forward by Michael Schuyler, the KRL's chief of support services, includes putting a code on the cards of children so they can't access the Internet on unfiltered computers.Parents can request that their child's card be coded.Everyone coming in to use the (unfiltered) computers would have to key in their library card number. ... If (it's coded) for limited access, the card will give a computer warning once the card number goes in, Schuyler said. The child would be denied Internet access on the unfiltered computers. The filtered computers would continue to be open to all users.The proposal is similar to a previous suggestion by library critic Marcia Mack of Poulsbo. Mack has advocated a system she's seen in use at other libraries.Before you use a computer you have to sign in, you have a time limit, you must have a library card, and show a pictured ID. If there was an incident, the computer could be checked, Mack said.And most libraries require the printers to be behind the desk. That way the library does not lose money by people walking out and not paying for reams of paper they have printed. It also lets the librarian screen what has been printed for copyright and other purposes. Most libraries require you to read and sign an Internet agreement, Mack said.At Tuesday's meeting, the board also will consider other changes to its Internet policy, including a stronger statement about illegal activities on library computers, Newberg said.Despite charges from some critics, Newberg said the library already bars such activities. Our policies and practices identify accessing child pornography as a crime, she said, adding that library staff called Bremerton Police in March when a patron viewed a Web site that appeared to contain child pornography.The 6:30 p.m. meeting is open to the public. For more information, call Sara Scribner, head of references for the KRL, at 405-9153. "

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