Saturday, May 27, 2006

Net Neutrality Fight Heats Up in Congress

Legislation was introduced in the House May 2 that reportedly was designed to prevent telecom operators and broadband service providers from selling favored access to some websites or video stream connections for an additional fee. The Network Neutrality Act of 2006 (H.R. 5273) states that companies may not “block, impair, degrade, or discriminate against the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to access the content, applications, and services available on broadband networks, including the internet.”

Drafts of several telecommunications bills said to be aimed at enabling phone carriers to get into the video business are currently making their way through the House and Senate, Reuters reported May 2. None of them specifically address “net neutrality,” or the idea that telephone or cable companies should provide services to all customers at the same cost, the system basically in effect now. Telecom companies have argued that they deserve the right to charge premium rates for faster, unrestricted service to make their investment in new technologies viable, the Cnet online news service reported May 2.

“Those who cannot afford the premium rates—nonprofits, the public sector, libraries, schools, and colleges—would be relegated to the equivalent of third-class mail,” American Library Association Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff told American Libraries. “This legislation has an impact not only on libraries and their ability to deliver first-class service to patrons, but to the general public as well.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

According to a CNET article dated May 10, 2006, MySpace, Facebook and other social networking Web sites may be rendered inaccessible by most schools and libraries following provisions of a recently proposed federal law. The same article indicated that House members had endorsed new legislation that would cordon off access to commercial web sites that let users create public Web pages or profiles and might include sites such as AOL and Yahoo's instant-messaging.

The bill is known as the "Deleting Online Predators Act" or DOPA.

According to CNET some Web site managers have taken steps in recent weeks to reduce concerns expressed by parents and others. According to the CNET article, MySpace has assigned a large portion of its staff to provide customer care and security concerns.

A full copy of the article may be viewed at

Monday, May 15, 2006

AASL develops a position statement on instructional classification

CHICAGO - The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has posted a new position statement on Instructional Classification of School Library Media Specialists.

The position statement was developed by the AASL Task Force on Instructional Classification to voice support for the inclusion of certified school library media specialists as part of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) definition of "instructional" school staff and services. AASL believes that school library media centers are classrooms in which school library media specialists teach and students and teachers learn.

AASL's Board of Directors appointed the Task Force on Instructional Classification during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January, in response to the concerns of members over the proposed "65% solution" legislation. The legislation, being considered in many states nationwide, mandates that 65 percent of all funding for schools be spent on "direct classroom instruction." This presents a problem for school library media programs and staff, when the proposed legislation uses the current definition from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) classifying school library media services as "non-instructional."

"AASL is working to achieve universal recognition of the critical role of school library media specialists in K-12 education and we hope to influence the education community and gain support for our efforts," said AASL President J. Linda Williams.

The new position statement is available at