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Frequently Asked Questions
Children's Internet Protection Act at Sno-Isle Libraries

On July 1, 2004, the Sno-Isle Libraries implemented changes to its Internet access policy in order to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act. The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires that anyone under the age of 17 have restricted Internet access to sites that feature human sexuality, nudity, adult content, or pornography.

What does the Children's Internet Protection Act do?
The Children's Internet Protection Act requires that libraries use filtering software to block visual depictions of sexuality, nudity, adult content, and pornography. Libraries that comply with the Act remain eligible for federal e-rate discounts, which help to offset the cost of providing online access for library customers.

How will this affect my ability to use the library?
Anyone using a library computer will automatically receive filtered Internet access. Adults who are 17 years of age or older may request unrestricted access.

Can I request unfiltered access for my child?
No. That is no longer an option for parents.

Can I request unfiltered access for myself?
Adults (17 years of age or older) may request unfiltered Internet access when using a library computer. Adult users who log onto a library computer may select from the following filtering levels:

  • Basic filtered access. This level blocks access to web sites with nudity, sexuality, and adult content
  • Full access: All web sites are available.

Users under the age of 17 will only have access to "Basic filtered" Internet. Users who want a greater degree of filtering may use library computers in or near the Children's Area, which offer only "Filtered - No Email Access " filtering or talk with staff.

Can my child circumvent the filter?
It is possible. No Internet filter is 100% effective, and any filter could allow objectionable information to be accessed. For this reason, it is still important for parents or legal guardians to monitor the Internet use of their minor children.

How do filters work?
The technology protection measure, or filter, is a software program that uses lists that are created by filter vendors. The vendor uses computers to search for sites that meet criteria for being categorized as "objectionable." The computer cannot "see" a picture or drawing, it can only see the code that was used to design the site. Therefore, in order to block visual depictions, the computer must see something in the code (name of an image, identified URL, etc.) or a human being must actually see the image. When one of these things happens, the website is added to the vendor's list of "objectionable" sites.

Why does the library even have to offer Internet access?
The Internet is an amazing and valuable resource. Many materials that in the past were limited to print format, and quickly out of date, are now available with current information and speed and accessibility of the world wide web. While there are sites among the billions worldwide that are offensive to some people, overall the Internet has made information, news, entertainment, and connectivity available to anyone. This powerful tool has changed our lives and the way we access information.

Sno-Isle offers access to dozens of premium databases via the Internet, as well as the library catalog. Not only does this save the money previously spent on purchasing multiple copies of reference materials, it makes information available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from locations other than the library itself.

What do I do if I have questions?
Please contact the managing librarian at your local library. Locations & Hours

Artwork Copyright © 2009 Erik Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
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