Alabama Library Challenges (Hale County Library)

Chris Peterson filed this request with the Hale County Library of Greensboro, AL.
Est. Completion None
Status
Partially Completed

Communications

From: Chris Peterson


To Whom It May Concern:

We are a team of academic researchers studying information access and availability in public schools and libraries. We are contacting you as part of a national effort to help us better understand the scope and substance of the various challenges which arise in the course of administering a public library system or public school system.

Under Alabama's Public Records Law, we are requesting copies of the following public records:

-any complaints, requests, and/or challenges for removal, reclassification, and/or reconsideration of publications including books, magazines, movies, music, and/or other media, along with any associated records, petitions, and/or correspondence since January 1, 2003

-any current collection or curriculum development policy or policies governing your institution(s)

-any records related to Internet filtering, including but not limited to:

-any current acceptable use policies, web publishing policies, or equivalents

-any current contracts with Internet filtering services and/or providers

-any current categories of content which your provider offers to block, along with which categories your library or libraries currently block

-any modifications to the standard configuration of your filter, including lists of sites, services, URLs, keywords, or other identifiers which have been specifically configured as forbidden or allowed (i.e. "blacklists/whitelists")

We will use these records in our research. Please note that we are not asking for registration, circulation, or other private records protected by state law, and you should feel free to redact personally identifiable information from the records you send us, at your discretion.

You may respond to this request by sending electronic documents (e.g. emails, screen captures, spreadsheets, etc) or high-quality scanned PDFs to this inbox. If you cannot respond by email, please fax copies to 206-984-9551, with “MIA” written clearly at the top of the first page. If you do not have any documents responsive to our request, or if you have questions about how to respond, then you may email us at this inbox. In order to assist you in responding to our request, we have also posted guidelines and examples at http://mappinginfoaccess.org.

We understand that there may be fees associated with responding to our request. We ask that you waive any such fees in light of our project’s character, which is non-commercial, academic, open, and firmly in the public interest. If you are unable to waive fees, and if they are in excess of $20, please contact us with an estimate of fees before responding.

Thank you in advance for helping us better understand the important work that you do. If you have any questions about our request or our project, please email us at: team [at] mappinginfoaccess [dot] org.

Sincerely,

Emily Knox
Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Library & Information Science
University of Illinois

Shannon M. Oltmann
Assistant Professor
School of Library & Information Science
University of Kentucky

Chris Peterson
Researcher
Center for Civic Media, Media Lab
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 20, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 20, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Carolyn Hemstreet

We have not had any challenges, complaints, or requests to change or remove materials.
We use K-9 for filtering and are willing to unblock specific requests by adults for material the filter really did not need to block (medical info, for example).
We do have collection development policies which we have not revised recently. The basic ideas can be summarized in a few words:  provide up-to-date materials for research in print and on-line and to provide reading materials for enlightenment and entertainment suited to our patrons' needs.

If you really need more detailed policies on Internet and collection development, it will take me a while to pull all the information together.  Is providing this information a requirement or is participation voluntary?  If participation is voluntary, I would prefer not to volunteer.

Sincerely,

Carolyn Hemstreet

From: MuckRock

Ms. Hemstreet,

Thank you very much for your response. This is a records request, which it is your legal obligation to fulfill as a public agency under Alabama law. If you have questions about our research, we would be happy to answer them, or you can see our project website: http://mappinginfoaccess.org/

For our research to be complete, we do need the actual policies and documents themselves. Please let us know if this requires clarification, or if we can assist you in any way with your search.

Thank you very much, and have a great weekend!

From: Carolyn Hemstreet

Well, a few questions then...what, if anything, do I have to send you related to having had no challenges?  How does one document nothing or is my statement sufficient on that item?  This is a really small library, so time and staff are a factor here in terms of getting some of this information together.  I'll do what I can on the other items you asked for.  I can look up policies related to collection development and Internet access, but I do not have a contract with the filtering system.  We take what we can afford--free stuff on-line if such is available. Our budget is very limited.  So for these items-- "any current categories of content which your provider offers to block, along with which categories your library or libraries currently block" and "any modifications to the standard configuration of your filter, including lists of sites, services, URLs, keywords, or other identifiers which have been specifically configured as forbidden or
allowed (i.e. "blacklists/whitelists")"--will a screen shot of what is on the filtering system's administrative page be sufficient?  I think it lists blocked categories. 

I don't mean to sound uncooperative, but some of what you are asking for does not exactly apply to a library in a county with three tiny libraries and maybe 17,000 people in the whole county in rural Alabama. If you find yourself sending reminders to several other libraries in my neighboring counties, part of the problem is the difficulty in supplying information to questions that don't quite fit the circumstances.    

If part of what you are trying to do is to get a better picture of the contrasting situations between libraries of different sizes, I applaud that. One size does not fit all.    I will appreciate your assistance.  Carolyn Hemstreet

From: MuckRock

Ms. Hemstreet:

Thank you for your response, and we are happy to answer questions about this request and our research.

If you have had no challenges during the indicated time period, your statement is sufficient.

On the remaining portions, we understand that not all libraries will have the same documents -- we have requested a wide range of documents with the understanding that not all libraries will have each category in their possession. If your library does not have a particular type of document as requested, please indicate as such in your response. Please do respond to all portions of the request in this way.

On the filtering system, screenshots of filtering settings are perfect.

We very much appreciate your candor and assistance with this request! Please don't hesitate to ask any further questions about the project.

Thank you.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 20, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 20, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Carolyn Hemstreet

I am sending a fax with items relating to filtering and computer policies.  The latter is a page posted near computers.  

I have a further question about the collection development policy. Ours has not been officially updated in several years, and I am having difficulty finding it.  We moved files a couple of years ago as we were doing renovations, and I'm not sure where the hard copy been moved to.  It was probably also saved on a floppy disk, but that is no longer available.  If it is that old, do you still want a copy...if I can find it? Carolyn Hemstreet

From: Carolyn Hemstreet

From: MuckRock

Ms. Hemstreet -

Yes, please send the collection development policy if you do find it.

Thank you for sending the materials you faxed -- we received them.

Has your library received any complaints, challenges or requests for reconsideration of materials over the indicated time period?

Thank you!

From: Carolyn Hemstreet

We have not, to my knowledge, ever received any challenges over books or other materials.  Carolyn Hemstreet,
Hale County Library 

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