Perhaps you’ve been following the discussion on the Kanlib-l list regarding the lawsuit between the ACLU and the Salem (MO) Public Library?  Here is an article from the Southeast Missourian or you can read the actual complaint (pdf).  This online discussion has prompted a few questions about Acceptable Use policies, Internet filtering and OpenDNS, which replaced the Kanguard filtering system in 2010.

First, a bit of history – when OpenDNS was identified as a free and viable alternative to Kanguard, the System Directors agreed to switch to this option, or libraries could go with a filtering option provided by individual Internet Service Providers.  More about that can be found at the April 15, 2010 post Introducing the New and Improved Kanguard.

Second, some reminders – if you are confronted with a patron asking that the filter be disabled, you can use the “Key” provided to each library in April 2010 (a blue NEKLS thumb drive with step-by-step instructions) to temporarily disable, and then re-set, the OpenDNS filtering system on individual computers.  If you cannot locate your Key or need assistance in using it, please contact the NEKLS Tech Team.

I urge you and your staff to practice using this key, so that if this potentially-stressful situation occurs, you are prepared to manage it in a helpful and professional manner.

Third, some information – OpenDNS has the ability to block over 50 categories, from Pornography to Movies to Sports.  We recommend the Low setting, which blocks Pornography, Sexuality, “Tasteless” and Proxy/Anonymizer.  This setting complies with the requirements of CIPA.

Last, but not least – if you and your Board would like a few sample of Acceptable Use Policies from other libraries in the System, we have several we can share.  Now would be a very good time to review your Internet policy and procedures, in light of this lawsuit.