Policies on Filtering Internet Content in Libraries

maple-leaf2-white-bgrdManaging Access to the Internet in Public Libraries (MAIPLE) was a two‑year project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and led by Dr Louise Cooke. It sought to identify measures taken in UK public libraries to regulate access to Internet content and to evaluate the effectiveness of these measures. Key findings revealed: a lack of generalised approach across libraries; issues around transparency with regard to filtering; risk of marginalisation of librarians from key decision‑making; risks of limiting the potential benefits of particular groups of vulnerable customers (e.g. unemployed job seekers) with regard to Internet use in libraries. A list of recommendations has been developed and will serve to inform policy makers. This research can be highly impactful at organisational (e.g. library), policy-making and societal levels. For instance, changes in professional standards that enable the effective use of the Internet in (public) libraries can facilitate successful information (including job) search and learning particularly among disadvantaged groups of users.

“Yes, I would be happy to contribute to the planning further work so keep me in the loop. In terms of relevance to the future, of course there should be some form of national guidelines that actually get used (seems at present whether SCL, ACE or the Taskforce there is lots of discussion and paper with very little effect). My personal view is that there should already be a ubiquitous resource in every library, freely accessible and a consistent offer.”
Dr Chris Batt OBE, Digital Futures, July 2016

“Working with British Council on two new libraries in Pakistan. Believe me I quoted MAIPLE when advising them about Internet access!”
John Dolan OBE, Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, January 2015