Internet filtering for libraries can be a hot-button issue these days. There are a lot of opinions out there on whether libraries should filter the viewable Internet content for patrons.
If this is something that your library decides to do, there are a wide range of options and features available to fit your individual needs.
There is an array of at least 10-15 Internet filtering products on the market, and it can be overwhelming to find exactly what you are looking for. For starters, we have a process that should help you to determine which product fits the needs of your individual library.
The price, features, and administrative burden can vary from product to product. It is a good way to get an understanding of the market, and what types of options are available.
An IT consulting company can help you to choose the right filter, depending on what you are looking to accomplish. They can also help ensure that whatever product you are interested in can be configured to meet the specifications of your library.
So What Is Internet Filtering?
Most libraries these days have between 20 and 50 computers open to public usage at any given moment. Internet filtering would allow the library administration the ability to determine what information is viewable on those computers.
Some of the products on the market may allow the administrator to adjust the filter for certain websites if needed. For example, if a student were doing research on breast cancer or gun control, it could involve adjusting the filter to allow the viewing of otherwise blocked content.
Not all products on the market would allow for the capability of an adjustment. For some filtering systems, it might be a more cumbersome process than for others.
Once your library has made the decision that it would like to filter content, it is important to understand what kind of capabilities and flexibility that you would like your library employees to have within the process. It is important to find a system that can fit within your library’s budget.
These are decisions that could require some technical background and assistance to make sure that your library is making the right Internet filtering purchase. Contact us today if you are looking to have a conversation about the right Internet filter for your library.
RWK IT Services is based in Frankfort, IL and serves the Chicagoland library market.