Friday, November 20, 2015

LSTA Grant Subawards and CIPA: What's the Connection?

LSTA Grant Subawards

Many 2016 LSTA grant applications requested computers, tablets, and other Internet-accessible devices to expand library services to current and potential users.
LSTA funds are distributed by the federal agency Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) to each of the states through the Grants to States Program. It is important to remember, however, that as a federal agency, IMLS has rules and regulations that state agencies and local agencies (libraries and library systems) must observe to prevent rule violations and penalties to the library/library system. Grant applicants sign and submit a certification form (contract) agreeing that there will not be criminal activities (e.g. embezzlement, theft, bribery), will have drug free work environments, that library agencies will not engage in illegal lobbying, discrimination, or trafficking in persons. Additionally, applicants also agreed to Internet content safety that states:

"The library is either:

A. CIPA Compliant (The applicant library has complied with the requirements of Section 9134(f) (1) of the Library Services and Technology Act LSTA (e.g.filters devices accessing the Internet AND/OR direct Internet access)

OR

B. CIPA requirements do not apply because LSTA funds are NOT being used to purchase computers to access the Internet, or to pay for direct costs associated with accessing the Internet."
Child at a computer
Child at a Computer - Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Devices accessing the Internet or Internet access purchased with LSTA funds (including but not limited to computers, tablets, or smartphones), must comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), passed in December 2000 as part of the FCC. The Act mandates the use of Internet filters in libraries. This includes the purchase of computers for job resource centers or other off-site outreach endeavors. The purchase of Internet filtering software is not a permissible use of LSTA funds under the Wisconsin guidelines.

LSTA funding may be used for projects that include use and/or purchase of Internet-accessible devices that are non-CIPA compliant if matching local funds are used for the purchase of the devices. In these situations, LSTA funds can used for equipment, training, transportation, or other LSTA allowable costs related to the use of the Internet-accessible devices. If a library or library system does not filter, the actual Internet accessible device or access cannot be funded with LSTA funds. However, LSTA dollars can fund security cases, cables, storage cart, or training.  

CIPA Requirements

The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) states that schools and libraries seeking to receive support for internet access, internal connections, and basic maintenance services must certify that they are implementing measures to block or filter internet access to certain visual depictions.

The requirements of CIPA are:

1. Internet safety policy publicly posted - most libraries have an internet policy listed on their website.

2. Public notice, hearing, or meeting at which there is an open comment period regarding this implementation. Note: make sure that documentation of this meeting is kept.

3. Technology protection measure - having technology that blocks or filters internet access to the best of the library's abilities. A person can be authorized to turn off the filter or block for an adult for legitimate research or lawful purpose. What is important to remember in terms of what needs to be filtered is what is the following: "The protection measures must block or filter Internet access to pictures that are: (a) obscene; (b) child pornography; or (c) harmful to minors (for computers that are accessed by minors)."

If there are questions about this topic, contact Ryan Claringbole (ryan.claringbole@dpi.wi.gov) or Terrie Howe (teresa.howe@dpi.wi.gov).

Written by:
Terrie Howe & Ryan Claringbole, Public Library Development Team