ILA Legislative Committee Chair John Thill and ILA legislative adviser John Watts met with Representative Clow (R-Twin Falls) today and discussed a draft process to research, assess, identify, price and install wifi filters in public libraries throughout Idaho. After much discussion, your ILA board has decided to take a collaborative approach to wifi filtering in order to find a solution that centers on behavior policies, preserves access to information, and is funded at the state level.
Thill and Watts shared with Chairman Clow the problems facing the small and medium libraries, in particular the inadequacy of inferior filtering systems and potential long term costs that could be avoided by proceeding conscientiously. ILA's recommendation is to ask either the Office of Performance Evaluation (OPE) or Department of Administration to perform a statewide study of the cost and impact of various filtering solutions.
A hearing in the House Education Committee on Chairman Clow's bill is likely to occur on Friday.
ILA's next steps are to continue talking with our library-supporting legislators to emphasize the need to complete a full assessment of the total costs of wifi filtering before authorizing state funding or issuing an unfunded mandate to public libraries that would potentially have drastic effects on resources and programming that libraries could offer.