DOPA Hearing

Posted by Linda W. Braun

I wasn’t able to listen and watch the live video stream of the DOPA hearing today, but I just did get a chance to watch and listen to the archive of the stream.

Anyone interested in teens, social networking, legislation related to teens and libraries, technology, etc. should make sure to listen. There were several things that struck me as I listened.

  • There is a lot of fear about the Internet in general.
  • There is a lot of fear about Social Networking
  • There are still many misunderstandings about what the Internet is all about.
  • There are misconceptions about what social networking is and isn’t.
  • There are people who are trying to educate without fear – in particular YALSA’s own Beth Yoke, Amanda Lenhart from the Pew Internet in American Life Project, and Chris Kelly from Facebook.
  • There are people who are working hard to understand what teens need, why they use technology, and how they use technology.

You can access the archived stream on the Congressional web site. You can also click on the name of each testifier and download a pdf version of that person’s testimony.

Don’t forget you can contact your legislator about DOPA.

Listen to the DOPA hearing online

On July 11th at 10 AM (Eastern) the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will be holding a hearing on the proposed legislation, Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA). If passed, this legislation would require schools and libraries receiving the E-Rate to block social networking sites like and others. ALA will be one of several groups who are providing testimony against the legislation. According to the subcommittee’s web site, the hearings will be broadcast live online, so tune in if you are interested. For more information go here.

The subcommittee is comprised of Representatives from more than a dozen states. If one of these Representatives is from your district, please feel free to contact his or her office to let them know how you feel about DOPA. Go here to see if anyone on this committee is from your district.
-Beth Yoke

Net Neutrality

Posted by Linda W. Braun

There has been lots of discussion lately about net neutrality and what it means. C|NET has a good list of resources on the topic. The page on the C|NET site starts off with:

Network operators want to charge Internet content providers for enhanced IP services, while Net neutrality proponents say regulations are needed to prevent abuse by the Net’s gatekeepers.

Sides seem to be polarized on the issue of Net Neutrality, with some saying this legal provision is the only way to protect the consumer while others are saying that the government shouldn’t get into the realm of legislating access in this way. It’s a complicated topic with some surprising twists and turns.

If you haven’t heard about net neutrality or are interested in learning more, the C|NET resource is worth a look. You’ll want to know what the federal government is talking about in relation to Internet access and consider how a legal decision on net neutrality could impact the library and the teens with whom you work.

Your input needed for DOPA hearings

YALSA members & leaders,

ALA’s Washington Office has asked YALSA to testify at the Congressional hearings for the proposed DOPA legislation (if passed this would require schools & libraries receiving the e-rate to block all “social networking” sites). As per YALSA’s Board of Directors’ discussion at their meeting, YALSA opposes DOPA. The hearings are Tuesday July 11th.

I’m working with the ALA Washington office on an official statement, but I can fold in comments and personal stories from YALSA members and/or their teens. If you or your teens have any compelling stories about how MySpace and other social networking sites have made a positive impact on your library and/or your patrons, please send them to me ASAP. Thank you for your efforts to protect teens’ access to information.
-Beth Yoke

Help YALSA Oppose DOPA

The ALA Washington Office is seeking testimony to submit to Congress to oppose the proposed Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA). They would like your answers to the following:

  1. What are some positive ways that social networking sites, such as MySpace, are used in your library and/or with your patrons?
  2. What do you think will be the impact on your library patrons if social networking sites are blocked on library computers?

If you are willing to contribute to the testimony that’s being gathered, please submit answers to these questions to and be sure to provide your name and full contact information. Answers need to be received by no later than Tuesday June 13th.

To learn more about DOPA, go to:

Thank you for all the hard work you do for the teens in your community!
Posted by Beth Yoke

Proposed Legislation: DOPA

Posted by Beth Yoke:

Recently a member of Congress (Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick R-PA) has proposed legislation called the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA). If the legislation passes, it will force sweeping changes on the Internet. It seeks to target sites like MySpace by regulating “commercial social network sites.” They are defined as any commercially operated Internet website that allows users to create web pages or profiles that provide information about themselves and are available to other users; and offers a mechanism for communication with other users, such as a forum, chat room, email, or instant messenger.

The goal of the proposed legislation would be to expand the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to include commercial social network sites among those to be filtered in facilities that use federal funds to provide Internet access through the E-Rate, like schools and public libraries.

To learn more about this proposed legislation, or to find out how to contact your Congressperson, go to the ALA Washington Office’s site.

Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006

Posted by Linda W. Braun

As some people know, I’ve been trying to figure out what we do about copyright in the world of digital media, portable devices, and instantaneous access. We definitely need a new model of copyright protection and intellectual property regulation. But, what should it look like, how should it work, who should it protect, and how do we help teens understand intellectual property in the downloadable world? Those are all questions I keep asking myself.

I’m asking myself those questions again now that I know a bit more about the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006. Go Congress for trying to revise an outdated legal document. But, as I read about the proposed changes and revisions to existing copyright protection, I wonder if this is the right way to go. For teens in the early 21st century is the legislation that’s being proposed going to support their needs – both as users and content creators – in the future?

It’s important for teen librarians to read information about the proposed legislation in order to know what is coming, know how intellectual property is currently being thought about by legislators, and so we can advocate for laws that support the needs of libraries and teens and of creators and users.

There is of course flexible licensing available via Creative Commons which I think is a great tool. It allows content creators to provide access to their intellectual property in ways that work for users and the original designer of the content. If you or your teens create content – podcasts, blogs, images, etc. – consider licensing that content with Creative Commons.

take part in Virtual Library Legislative Day!

On May 1st and 2nd librarians and library workers from all over the country will head to Washington DC for Library Legislative Day. Once there they will meet with elected officials and/or their staff in order to: 1) advocate for adequate library funding, 2) educate decision makers about key issues facing the field of librarianship, 3) raise awareness about the key role that libraries of all types play in a democratic society, and more. For those of you who are unable to make the trip to DC, we ask that you please consider participating virtually. Information on how to do so is here:

YALSA has put together a quick guide that may be useful as you communicate with decision makers about the needs of teens and issues relating to young adult library services. Please note that these are just a starting point and are not meant to be a comprehensive list or detailed discussion of critical issues. We also recognize that needs can vary from community to community, so no doubt you will have more to add or emphasize.

So, please set aside a few minutes next Monday or Tuesday to email, call or fax your legislators and let them know your concerns about libraries and YA librarianship!
-Beth Yoke