Library system tweaks filters for computers

The Kitsap Regional Library’s Board of Trustees on Thursday unanimously adopted a revised Internet safety policy, to be implemented as the system incorporates a new integrated library system this summer.

KRL director Ellen Newberg expressed satisfaction with these actions, saying it “helps us comply with both the letter and the spirit of the law as it makes the library safer for kids.”

Newberg said the new guidelines represent the second revision of the library’s policy since it first went online about five years ago. She added that libraries must balance Constitutional rights and protection, and the new policy helps to do this through the use of adjustable filtering.

The system, offered as part of the new SIRSI Integrated Library System, which cost $249,332, defaults to a filtered access for all terminals. Should the filters not allow access to a needed site, the library patron can request the librarian to unblock the computer.

Unblocking sites for an adult patron (17 and older) is by request, while juvenile unblocking is at the librarian’s discretion. Filters in the children’s section of the library are not disabled under any circumstances.

During the discussion, board member Sari Perlow said she used the library’s filtered computer and was not denied access to any of the sites she wished to see. “The technology isn’t perfect, but it is getting better,” she said. “The vast majority of citizens will be satisfied with this system.”

Added board member Althea Paulson, “This is a pretty good compromise, and we will be able to adopt better policies as we go forward.”

In other actions, the board took the opportunity of the upgraded system to rename two branches. The Central Branch will now be known as the Sylvan Way Branch, as it is on Sylvan Way in East Bremerton, while the Bremerton Branch will now be known as the Downtown Bremerton Branch.

The meeting was also the last for Chris Wendelyn, who represented North Kitsap and declined to serve another term.

He will be replaced by Jackie Aitcheson when the board reconvenes after the first of the year.

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