Policies for the Good of the User, not Just the Library

Although the article “A Tale of Two Students” (American Libraries) is about schools, it could just as easily be about public libraries.  It contains two scenarios about school acceptable use policies.

In one scenario, Michael learned about appropriate online conduct, and “learned how to use social media to increase his productivity and learning. Specific projects embedded instruction about mobile group collaboration, blogs, microblog hashtags, photo and video uploads, and aggregating posts into an online publication. . .  His public school education has prepared him to be a productive learner in the 21st century.”

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

In the other scenario, Jessica attends school in a district where “all personal devices are banned. The firewall blocks many sites that would be appropriate for secondary students because the district maintains the same settings for all K–12 learners. . . . Jessica’s K–12 educational experience will fail to show her how the tools that are ubiquitous in the real world—personal devices and interactive media—can improve productivity and make her a more independent learner. In her 12-year academic career, Jessica will be offered precious few lessons in digital citizenship and ethical use. Any 21st-century preparedness Jessica develops will occur in spite of, not because of, her K–12 education.”

Take a look at your acceptable use policies.  Are they based on trust?  Do they allow the user access to critical modern day tools?  Public libraries must be able to prove to their taxpayers that they provide essential services.  If your policies are too restrictive, that is a difficult case to make.

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This entry was posted in Customer Service, Equal Access, Library in Community, Policies, Public Libraries, Social Media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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