Saturday, June 23, 2007

KCLS Offering Public Access to Social Networking Sites

King County Library System (Washington) Offering Public Access to Social Networking Sites

Web-based "social networking" websites have become a cultural phenomenon, particularly for young adults between 16 - 34 years of age. Because many of today’s youth connect through various Internet sites libraries across the country are beginning to use social networking tools to promote library programs and services for teens and young adults.

Beginning Monday, October 2, 2006, KCLS will offer all patrons access to social networking sites, including,, among others.


Studies show that young people increasingly rely on social networking sites for social and cultural experiences. Many have found that using social networking helps build information technology ability, creative writing skills, enhanced social development and cultural integration. By using these sites wisely, teens can strengthen their learning skills and build healthy social networks.

While young people with financial resources often access social networking sites from their home computers, children from less affluent backgrounds may rely solely on public libraries and schools for their information technology needs. Blocking access to social networking sites unfairly isolates this segment of the population, further isolating at-risk kids from peer support systems and limiting their social and cultural experiences. Access to social networking Web sites may enhance networking skills — and ultimately the professional futures — of kids who may already lack social resources.

KCLS strongly encourages parents or legal guardians to discuss Internet safety with their children and to monitor and supervise their online activity. All patrons are encouraged to report abuse or inappropriate solicitations to the website's administration, local law enforcement,[or organziations concerned with Internet safety].



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