Hillsborough County recently implemented an e-book program for elementary and middle school students throughout the county. The online library, called “Read on myON,” was funded by the Hillsborough County school district, along with community partners such as the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative. The myON library offers access to over 2,000 e-books that students can read wherever they have Internet access. The goal of the project was to offer students from less-advantaged communities easier access to reading materials. Now, access to myOn has expanded to also include students from all different types of schools in the area. You can read more about this program here.
During an initial pilot version of myON, some parents voiced concerns over the lack of a parental controls option. They were upset about certain books that featured autopsy scenes and witchcraft, among other things. For more about the parents' objections, click here.
In response to those concerns, Capstone Digital, the makers of myON, is investigating the addition of a parental controls option, which would allow parents to delete from their children’s accounts any books that they deem to be inappropriate. The county school district has also taken some of the books that during the pilot version stage were seen by some parents as graphic or inappropriate, and restricted them from being accessed by elementary schoolers. Edit: In a comment to this post, a Capstone Digital senior product manager states that this move was taken in accordance with the school district's challenged books policy.
According to the American Library Association: “Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal and equitable access to all library resources and services available to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights. The American Library Association opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.” However, the ALA does also state that: “We affirm the responsibility and the right of all parents and guardians to guide their own children's use of the library and its resources and services.” For more from the ALA on this topic, click here.
What do you think? We would like any feedback you may have, about this or other intellectual freedom issues you may see appearing in Florida libraries. Add a comment to this blog post or email Robin Shader, the chair of our Intellectual Freedom committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or myself at email@example.com, and the rest of the committee will discuss your comments over email.