Back in 2010 I wrote a piece entitled “Two Libraries, Two Attitudes.” In that article I took the Greenville County Library to task for their Internet blocking policies. At the time they blocked lots of sites, such as Twitter and most blogs, because their Acceptable Use Policy stated that the computers couldn’t be used for chat. By extension, this included most forms of social media, including Facebook, Myspace, and other similar sites.
The other night one Brian Dykes, who apparently is an employee of the library, left a comment stating that the information in that post was now incorrect. The snarky tone of the comment aside, I decided to take Mr. Dykes up on his challenge, and revisit the library to see if they had, in fact, reformed their policies.
I took my laptop over to the Taylors branch of the library. When I connected to their WiFi I had to agree to their AUP before proceeding. The AUP had not changed since the 2010 posting. It still had the injunction against online chat.
However, my brief survey showed that things had, in fact, changed. Facebook, Twitter, and just about every blog I visited was open. Media sharing sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and Chirbit were also unblocked. Just about every major social media site was open. In fact, there was much more open than we allow in my school district.
Of course, there were some things that were blocked the should rightly be blocked. My standard test is Playboy.com, and it was blocked. DailyMotion was blocked as well, as it does contain some adult content. Per terms of their AUP, sites such as Google Talk were blocked. I didn’t check Skype, but I’m sure it falls under that category.
GCLS does have an active Facebook page, and they now have a YouTube channel. They are making progress, but I still contend that an organization with employees that leave comments such as the one Mr. Dykes left on this blog means that they still have a lot to learn about social media. However, since GCLS has made improvements in other areas, perhaps he can learn, too.