February 20, 2018

CIPA Fallout: What Next?

By LJ Staff

Libraries around the country were answering questions last week about
whether they would change their policies in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). For those that now must add filters, that will take time and money, and it is not yet clear when the mandate must be implemented. Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association’s Washington Office, said that the Federal Communications Commission will have to go through a new rulemaking process, including requests for comment. “We wanted them to understand where libraries are in the budget process,” she said, noting that libraries may have to select a filter, ask for funding, and then get it appropriated.

Of course, some libraries may not change their policies.
Several library directors in the San Francisco Bay Area told the San Jose
that they would maintain unfiltered access for adults, some
because they don’t get federal funds, and others because they likely could
afford to refuse such funds. The Fairfield County District Library in Ohio will
refuse the $9000 a year it gets in federal funds — a small part of its $3
million annual budget, to maintain unfiltered access. Public libraries in
Cincinnati and several nearby jurisdictions already use filters but allow them
to be turned off at the request of adult patrons — as the court decision
mandates. In West Virginia, where libraries all use a statewide network,
filtering poses headaches, J.D. Waggoner, secretary of the Library Commission,
told the AP. If the commission installs filtering software on its statewide
network, it could bog down the network, but if individual libraries install
filters on their computers, use of different software could interfere with the
network. “It’s a nightmare, and it’s an expensive nightmare,” he said.