Please Fax Your House Rep ASAP

Please send a fax to your member of the House Wednesday morning indicating yours and ALA’s opposition to DOPA (HR 5319). Below is a sample message that you can use or adapt for the fax.

To find out who your Representative in the House is & what their fax # is, go here:
http://www.house.gov

July 26, 2006

RE: Opposition to H.R. 5319, the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA)

Dear Representative;

I write to indicate my opposition to H.R. 5319, the Deleting
Online Predators Act (DOPA). I understand this bill may come to the
House floor this afternoon and ask that you oppose this bill as it
presently reads.

No profession or community is more concerned about the safety of
children than our Nation’s librarians. Librarians in public libraries
and school library media centers work continuously to assure that

children have appropriate and safe access to the materials and
information services they need so that each each young person can become
literate and educated with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the
digital and online world.

I had hoped following the July 11th hearing on H.R. 5319 before the
Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the
Internet, that an amended version would seek to resolve some of the
problems expressed in ALA’s testimony. Unfortunately, the revised

language that ALA received only last night, does not make the necessary
changes that I believe would better serve the public interest and
contribute to true online safety for young people. As a voter in your district, I
urge opposition to H.R. 5319 for several reasons:

1. The terminology used in DOPA is still overly broad and unclear. As
written, this legislation would block access to many valuable websites
that utilize this type of communication, websites whose benefits
outweigh their detriments.

2. DOPA still ignores the value of Interactive Web applications. New
Internet-based applications for collaboration, business and learning are
becoming increasingly important, and young people must be prepared to
thrive in a work atmosphere where meetings take place online, where
online networks are essential communication tools.

3. Education, not laws blocking access, is the key to safe use of the
Internet. Libraries and schools are where kids learn essential

information literacy skills that go far beyond computer instruction and
web searching. Indeed, DOPA would block usuage of these sites in the
very environments where librarians and teachers can instruct students
about how to use all kinds of applications safely and effectively and
where kids can learn how to report and avoid unsafe sites.

4. Local decision-making – not federal law – is the way to solve the
problems addressed by DOPA. Such decisions are already being made
locally, in part due to the requirements of the Children’s Online

Protection Act (CIPA) for E-rate recipients. This additional
requirement is not necessary.

5. DOPA would restrict access to technology in the communities that need
public access most. H.R. 5319 still, as presently drafted, would
require libraries and schools receiving E-rate discounts through the
Universal Service Program to block computer users from accessing
Interactive Web applications of all kinds, thereby limiting
opportunities for those who do not have Internet access at home. This

unfairly denies the students and library users in schools and libraries
in the poorest communities from accessing appropriate content and from
learning how best to safely manage their own Internet access in
consultation with librarians and teachers.

It should also be noted that key witnesses at the July 11th hearing,
testified that limiting access to social networking sites in E-rate
schools and libraries will have little impact on the overall problem
since young people access these collaborative sites from many locations

and over a period of time.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
(put your name here)
-Posted by Beth Yoke

Letter to Congress

I tried to reply to Linda’s post, but my comment was “invalid!” so here it is:

OMG.

I didn’t check my email all day. See, bad things happen when you are offline!

I did compose a note to my Congressman, in the hopes he and his aides read their email in the AM.

Dear Congressman,

I am writing to implore you to vote AGAINST the Deleting Online Predators Act as it is currently written. The Internet today is a interactive and dynamic one, where ANY website that allows you to sign in and interact with other users is a social software website including online department stores like Amazon.com, WebCT (used for online courses), news sites like Digg.com and Instant Messaging services used by over 75% of teens! An educational exception can be applied to each and EVERY use of blogs, wikis, and social software – I learn something new every time I log on to a social software website, where I read, discuss, analyze, create, think critically, search, hypothesize, and prove. I cannot echo Beth Yoke, Executive Director of YALSA, enough: EDUCATION, NOT LAWS BLOCKING ACCESS, IS THE KEY TO SAFE USE OF THE INTERNET.

By largest concern is for students themselves. According to the Search Institute (url), there are forty developmental assets that teens need to grow up into healthy, contributing members of our society. Things like support in the form of adult mentors who are not blood relatives (i.e. an aspiring teen writer talking to an author in an online chat or via MySpace), clear boundaries (i.e. by following rules set by individual libraries and communities), being viewed as resources (i.e. valued for their fan fiction and web building and video game modding) and socialization (i.e. journalling, sharing photos, and creating films), to name a few. Access to these asset-building social softwares are KEY to teens emotional and psychological and physical and spiritual growth! How would banning collaborative web applications stunt that growth?

My next concern is that librarians, who are on the forefront of this Internet safety issue (and ethical use of the Internet, I might add!) were NOT included in the committee, although this legislation affects those that get E-rates. Why were no librarians included, when such legislation would have such a major impact? We are working so hard to DECREASE the digital divide by provided access to those who cannot get it at home – people in impoverished areas of the country, often people who are minorities.

My final concern is that this piece of legislation takes power AWAY from parents, and I simply do not believe it is the job of the government to be a parenting institution.

Although I understand schools act in loco parentis, and that students may be distracted at school by games, instant messaging, blogging, etc, drill and practice is boring for kids who have grown up playing video games. They need a sense of engagement to think more deeply. Perhaps, assignments should integrate social software web applications to meet the needs of today’s students. It’s a whole new literacy out there! Let’s prepare kids for it – not censor it.

Kind regards,

Beth Gallaway, MLS
Library trainer/consultant
Hampton NH

Please Call Your House Representative Today!

URGENT Action Needed: The ALA Washington Office has learned that the US House of Representatives may try to expedite passage of H.R. 5319, the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA), TOMORROW, July 26th. The bill is moving forward as is, with no changes to the original language.

PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE’S OFFICE TODAY and ask that he/she oppose HR 5319. The Capitol Switchboard number is: 202-224-3121.

To find out who your Representative in the House is, go here.

To learn more about DOPA, please go here.

Thank you for your efforts to ensure that all library users will continue to have access to critical Internet resources via library and school computers!
Posted by Beth Yoke

Google Chat inspires Networking

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

I’m graduating soon, so I created a gmail account that I will have long after I leave my school. I found out quickly that gmail groups messages together so that listserv replies that normally would each show individually, now are nicely grouped under the original message. So I transferred all of my listservs to gmail, and joined another one.

This is all great, but gmail has another feature built in: Quick Contacts. Everyone that sends me a message, and has a gmail account seems to end up on the list. The chat works inside the browser so I haven’t had any problems using it on computers that block IM. The odd part is that people from the listservs that have gmail also show up on the Quick Contacts bar, which for a while made me wonder who they were. So I looked, and once I realized who they were I said hi. Now I know two people I would never have known if it hadn’t been for Google Chat.

The last thing I like about google chat is that the messages are saved in my e-mail. So when I chat with librarians I can go back and see the information we discussed. (This seems great for planning). I have become a big fan of gmail, because it allows me to have the same flexibility as outlook (tags, filters, spam control) while being browser based. I can check my mail and chat from anywhere.

The integration of these two technologies feels natural to me, much like the integration of personal webpages, blogs, mail, message boards, and now IM on Myspace. I would recommend students create a gmail account and register for a few listservs, because the experience will help you understand the world of teens better.

Long Overdue-A Place for Teen Activities

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

I finished reading the results of Long Overdue, the national study conducted by the Americans for Libraries Council that was just released last week.
As Beth G.’s post indicated, providing services to teens is a high priority to many, according to the report.

While it is great to see that this is a number one priority, the justification for it seemed to me to be more out of using a deficit model for teens than as an opportunity and place where they can create and contribute to the library. Statements such as, “Concerns about the relationship between drugs, crime and teenagers were especially salient among focus group participants” or “providing a place for teens to congregate” seem to be missing something in terms of empowering teens to offer programs with true youth participation opportunities. Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but maybe not-or perhaps by using a deficit model, it can be then justified hypothetically that since ‘our town does not have a crime problem among teenagers, the money does not really need to be spent to build stronger programs for teens at our library.’

Also, for a report to have the words ’21st Century’ in the title and not mention video games (please tell me I missed this in the report) is something I do not understand.

While Barnes and Noble and Amazon get several mentions as competitors for the relevance of libraries-what about Netflix or even social networking sites that provide a community many are seeking-which might be blocked in libraries and schools receiving e-rate funding? (side note: as Eli Neiburger says, ‘we’re in the content business, not the book business).

I hope people will respond about this report-either on the blog-especially to Beth G’s. discussion questions or in their own communities. What about teens themselves? I hope they were asked for their opinions too.

Teen Tech Week (TTW) Logo

Posted by Linda W. Braun

I just read about the Teen Tech Week logo contest winner on the YALSA site and loved learning the story of the teen winner. How appropriate that he was in the library when he got the call. How appropriate that he did research on logo design. How cool it must be to be a teenager and be recognized for this kind of achievement.

Five finalists are also shown on the YALSA TTW logo winner page. Since I’m on the TTW Task Force I know that the quality of the entries was impressive. I know that the winner actually had real competition. We went through more than one round of votes in order to make a final selection.

Congratulations to Ahmad Ghadban!

74% of Americans believe that providing services for teens should be a high priority for libraries

More ammunition for advocating for the need to serve young adults in our communities via the public library, forwarded today, July 20, 2006 to the YSCON listserv from Jim Rosinia, Youth Services Consultant at the State Library of North Carolina:

“Last Tuesday, the Americans for Libraries Council, a nonprofit library advocacy group, released “Long Overdue: A Fresh Look at Public Attitudes About Libraries in the 21st Century.” It reports the results of a national study of the general public as well as interviews with national and local civic leaders. The study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and conducted by Public Agenda (a nonprofit, nonpartisan opinion research organization).

Quote from the press release, Americans Say Public Libraries Are Essential to 21st Century Communities:

“Four areas of opportunity resonated most with the public and leaders alike:
(1) providing stronger services for teens;
(2) helping address illiteracy and poor reading skills among adults
(3) providing ready access to information about government services, including making public documents and forms readily available and
(4) providing even greater access to computers for all.”

“The public is very concerned about teenagers and feel that providing safe and productive activities for teens should be a high priority (72%) for their communities. This is also an area where the public potentially holds their local governments accountable as they believe local government both can and should do more for teens. In the public’s reckoning, libraries can potentially fill the gap: 3 out of 4 Americans (74%) believe providing services for teens should be a high priority for libraries.”

Jim cited two resources:

Learning in Motion: A Sampling of Teen Library Programs
This Americans for Libraries Fact Sheet highlights three model programs and advocates for more of the same.

“Long Overdue: A Fresh Look at Public Attitudes About Libraries in the 21st Century.”

This full report includes a two-page summary, and “5 Things Civic Leaders Should Know About Libraries and the Public.”

Jim noted that of the “Five Things Civic Leaders Should Know About Library,” the fifth lists the “four specific opportunities for public libraries to integrate themselves more fully into the life of their communities” — the first of which is “a safe and engaging place for teens.”

For discussion: Providing stronger services for teens was NUMBER ONE on the list. If teens are such a high priority for our communities, why aren’t libraries earmarking more funding for teen spaces, collections, staff, and programs? Should young adults get the same amount of space as children in the library? An equal program budget? How about, proportional? If young adults make up 12% of the town’s population, does young adult services receive 15% of the library staff, materials, and programming budgets? 15% of the floor and shelf space? 15% of the webpage?

~posted by Beth Gallaway

tune in Thurs. to radio show covering DOPA

On Thurdsay July 20th at 10:05 AM (central) I’m scheduled to be interviewed about DOPA by Ricci Ware of San Antonio’s KTSA radio station. You can listen live at www.ktsa.com. This is a call-in show, and the interview is supposed to last 10 minutes. If you’d like to call in and share your opinion about DOPA and/or social networking sites and libraries tomorrow, the number is (210) 599-5555 or 1-800-299-KTSA (5872). You can also send an email to feedback@ktsa.com. Ricci Ware bills himself as “San Antonio’s most recognized conservative radio voice,” and you can learn more about him and KTSA at www.ktsa.com.

To learn more about the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA), go here.

To learn about Congress’s recent hearings on the proposed legislation, go to here.
-Posted by Beth Yoke

Social Networking and Teens

Posted by Linda W. Braun

A couple of weeks ago a small YALSA committee put together a document about the positive aspects of social networking in teen lives. Beth Yoke presented (for the official Congressional record) the document last week when she testified at the Congressional hearing on DOPA. The document is a living document that will grow and change as new information, resources, and ideas are generated. In the near future the group who put the origional document together will add information on how librarians can educate their communitities about the positive aspects of social networking. This new verson should be ready in late August or early September. (Just in time for the new school year.)

The file is downloadable (in .pdf) so you can check it out.

Rey Mysterio to speak about teens and reading

Tune in to Fox News’ show, Heartland with John Kaisch, on Sat. July 22nd at 8 PM (Eastern). World Wrestling Entertainment’s superstar Rey Mysterio will be live talking about his involvement with encouraging kids and teens to read and with his experience as a spokesperson for Teen Read Week. Maybe you have a particular topic or question you’d like Mr. Kaisch to cover with his interview with Rey, or you’d just like to give him your take on teens and reading. If so, you can contact him at Heartland@foxnews.com. Learn more about Heartland here.

-Beth Yoke