Communicating patron rights and responsibilities transparently: creating a model internet acceptable use policy for UK public libraries

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Abstract

Facilitating access to the Internet is an important part of the public library mission, and is crucial in ensuring that all citizens have the possibility of access to contemporary digital information and public services. Part of managing this access relies on the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), an agreement between the library and the user regarding the conditions of access. This article reports on a national UK study of public library AUPs and the development of a new national model policy for public libraries, and which can be considered as ‘best practice’. The article reports analysis of AUPs across the UK, with specific focus on how they communicate the use of filtering, and surveillance. This research adds new insight by studying the content of AUPs and contributes to the limited research that exists on public library AUPs in the UK. The research analyzed AUPs from 205 authorities in the UK, a return rate of 99.5%. The resulting conclusions and synthesis of relevant guidance on AUPs led to the formation of the model policy presented in this article.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalPublic Library Quarterly
Early online date7 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • public libraries
  • acceptable use policy (AUP)
  • qualitative content analysis
  • filtering
  • surveillance

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