I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the new teen center which the San Francisco Public Library is planning. It will have multimedia equipment and mentors and is modeled after the Youmedia teen center at the Chicago Public Library. The teen librarians in the cubicles next to where I work in the children’s department are very enthusiastic about this center. Many teens use social media according to a Pew internet study. It says that 95% of teens between 12-17 are online and 80% use social media. I thought that because teens are frequent users of social media, and the library is planning to increase its use of these networks that writing a guide to policy for teens was a good plan.
I began to plan my research for this guide. I first contacted some of the teen librarians. I also contacted a children’s librarian familiar with social media. I then contacted the librarian in charge of digital strategy at SFPL. The following are the contacts I made:
(Collins, J. personal communication, March 22, 2013) ( Davidson, C.L.personal communication, March 23, 2013). (Hannan, E., personal communication, March 22, 2013) (Hannan, E. personal communication, March 23, 2013), Hannan, E., personal communication, March 26, 2013), (Worona, J., personal communication March 25), (Worona, J. personal communication, March 26, 2013). (Worona, J., personal communication March 27, 2012), (Worona J. personal communication, March 28, 2013).
I discovered more examples of these policies such as one from the Monterey County Free Library (MCFL). This policy is current, has some useful ideas, but had a rule against people discussing politics on social networking sites, which appears to violate the First Amendment.
Other sources I used included the the Young Library Services Association (Yalsa) Toolkit, which had information about how librarians can work with teens, to write social media policies, and a book called Teens, Libraries and Social Networking: what Librarians Need to Know which had many useful references.
I also found the article from the class readings, called “The Need for Student Social Media Policies.” to be useful because it described the purpose of social media policies and how to write them.
However, it seemed that there was a dilemma in the information on SFPL’s web site, including The Library Bill of Rights which says that libraries should challenge censorship, and the information I got through interviewing one librarian who said that the public affairs department at SFPL deletes posts that are “off topic.” The challenge in writing this policy was to balance the language in the library’s policy against censorship with the library staffs’ practices in monitoring social networking sites.