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

Serving Teens Behind Bars

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

I’ve recently started providing outreach to the teen male population at a local Jail facility in NC. The speakers at this presentation had well developed, successful and award winning programs for incarcerated teens with lots of great ideas. Jack Gantos, author of Hole in My Life, spoke after the panel and recounted his own experiences in jail and as a writer. Michele Gorman moderated through her involvement on YALSAs Criminal Elements booklist.

What the panel seemed to have in common was a genuine desire to work with and not judge these readers, to meet them where they were at in their reading levels and interests, and not take no for an answer.

In the programs represented by the panel, incarcerated teens have participated in author visits (started off with just cold calling authors to see if they’d speak at the jail), storytellers, and musician visits,
Great Stories Book CLUB recipients, visual art on display at city hall, created partnerships with the judge, probation officer, teen and librarian to read and discuss books, produced a literary magazine and provided readers advisory.

While a mutual goal was to increase awareness of the library as an important community resource and to use literature as a vehicle for discussion, outreach to a jail is not without its obstacles. Funding (grants, scholarships, and donations sought), security (we are part of the library’s security program by being there), and staff (one jail staff member was teasing a teen that they should read the picture book b/c they weren’t smart enough to read. This interaction turned into the teen joking with the staff and choosing the book anyway. While we might not understand or respond in the same way the jail staff does, we need to understand, most have the heart to work there with the teens and connect with them too) can be challenging.

Reduction in recidivism
Teens read a book for the first time and keep on reading
Reading helps with social and personal issues (Flinn’s Breathing Underwater was a catalyst to for a teen to talk with his girlfriend about her manipulative behavior toward him)
quote directly from a teen:

”Keeps my imagination moving”
(there were more but that’s all I have for now)

Check them out when you can:

Austin Public Library: Second Chance Books created by Youth Specialist, Devo Carpenter.

Hennepin County Library: Home School and Juvenile Detention Center created by Outreach Manager, Patrick Jones.

Johnson County Library System: Read to Succeed created by Teen Services Librarian, Tricia Suellentrop.

Alameda County Library: Write to Read created by one of this years Movers and Shakers, Librarian Amy Cheney.

There are many other libraries serving teens in jails. What kind of tips do you have to share? What has worked well? How many are not quite sure they are comfortable in offering library services to this teen population?

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