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Journal cover: Library Review

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Online from: 1927

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Internet access in UK public libraries: notes and queries from a small scale study: EDITORIAL

Document Information:
Title:Internet access in UK public libraries: notes and queries from a small scale study: EDITORIAL
Author(s):David McMenemy, (Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)
Citation:David McMenemy, (2008) "Internet access in UK public libraries: notes and queries from a small scale study: EDITORIAL", Library Review, Vol. 57 Iss: 7, pp.485 - 489
Keywords:Internet, Public libraries, United Kingdom
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/00242530810894004 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this editorial is to discuss the findings of a small scale study of internet access in UK public libraries. It aims to examine all aspects of access, from the moment the service is requested, to the acceptable use policy (AUP) for each library, to specific Internet sites that are banned.

Design/methodology/approach – The methodology involved unobtrusive testing, commonly referred to as mystery shopping. A total of 14 different library authorities spread across the UK were visited by the researcher.

Findings – Variances in access to the internet in public libraries in the UK exist. Of concern was the lack of time staff in most libraries allocated to explaining the AUP the library was asking the researcher to sign. In some libraries the AUP was actually bypassed by the staff member entirely. Other concerns related to the differences in internet filtering adopted in the libraries visited, with legitimate sites blocked in some and not others. The quality of the experience was also lessened by inadequately designed front-ends and the lack of helpful guides on using the internet.

Originality/value – The paper should be of interest to public librarians and others interested in the implementation of internet services in public libraries.

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