All public libraries in Idaho receiving public money (including EOR funding) and governed by the provisions of chapter 26 or chapter 27 of Title 33, Idaho Code, must comply with I.C. § 33-2741 regarding Internet Use Policies. All schools and libraries receiving E-rate funding must enforce a policy of internet safety and certify compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) (Pub. L. No. 106-554 and 47 USC 254(h)).

Libraries that would like help with their internet policies are encouraged to contact the Public Library Consultant and/or the Library Technology Consultant.

Internet Safety Policy

  • The law states that public libraries shall:
    • Develop policy (for minors and adults) under the direction of the library board of trustees;
    • Adopt policy in an open meeting;
    • Review policy every three years;
    • Include an effective date on the policy;
    • Post availability of the policy in a conspicuous place within the library.
  • The law states that the policy may:
    • State that it restricts access to internet or online sites that contain material described in the law;
    • State how the policy meets the requirements of the law;
    • Inform patrons that administrative procedures and guidelines for library staff to follow in enforcing the policy have been adopted and are available for review at the library;
    • Inform patrons that procedures for use by patrons and staff to handle complaints about the policy, its enforcement or about observed patron behavior have been adopted and are available for review at the library.

Terms such as child pornographyharmful to minorsminor, and obscene shall have the meanings (taken from federal law) that are defined in I.C. § 33-2741.

Filtering (technology protection measure)

  • The law states that public libraries shall:
    • Have filters in place for its publicly accessible wireless internet access and publicly accessible computers with internet access used by minors.
  • The law states that public libraries may:
    • Have filters in place for any publicly accessible computer;
    • Disable the filter for lawful purposes for any library patron, including minors.

Internet Safety Policy

  • The policy must address:
    • Access by minors to inappropriate matter on the internet and World Wide Web;
    • The safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications;
    • Unauthorized access including “hacking” and other unlawful activities by minors online;
    • Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors;
    • Measures designed to restrict minors’ access to materials harmful to minors.
  • The policy must:
    • Be addressed in a public meeting or hearing with reasonable public notice.

Filtering (technology protection measure)

  • Public libraries shall:
    • Have filters in place for all of the library’s computers, including staff computers.
  • Public libraries may:
    • Disable the filter only for adults for “bona fide research or other lawful purposes.”

Content Filtering

Both Idaho Code 33-2741 and the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) require the use of technology protection measures (filters) that protect against access to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors. For more information on the requirements of I.C. § 33-2741 and CIPA, please see those sections above.

Do we have to filter for adults?

Libraries receiving E-rate funding and complying with CIPA must have filters in place for all computers owned by the library, including staff computers. Idaho libraries that do not receive E-rate funding must comply with I.C. § 33-2741, which requires the use of filters only on library computers that are available to minors and connected to the internet.

What is my library required to filter?

The filter must protect against access to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors. Those terms are defined in I.C. § 33-2741(7) and CIPA.

When may we disable a filter?

For libraries receiving E-rate funding and complying with CIPA, filters may only be disabled for adults for “bona fide research or other lawful purposes.” Idaho libraries that do not receive E-rate funding must comply with I.C. § 33-2741, which allows library staff to disable filters for adults and minors for lawful purposes.

Do we have to filter our Wi-Fi when patrons bring their own devices?

CIPA applies only to library-owned computers. However, I.C. § 33-2741 requires content filtering on all publicly accessible wireless internet at public libraries.

How do I test if my filter is working?

Here are a few test websites without actual objectionable content that you can use to test if your content filter is functioning:

However, since these are test websites, they might not be blocked by all content filters. If possible, you may also want to try visiting a website with actual adult content to confirm that your content filter blocks it.

Which filter should I choose?

The filtering tool you choose should meet the needs of your local library. Any tool used by your library should consider the features and functionality needed to fit with your Internet Use Policies and procedures. See below for a list of filter options.

How much will it cost?

The cost will depend on your needs and on the product you choose.

What do I do when a patron tells me a site they want to access isn’t available with the filter in place?

Provided the site is used for lawful purposes, you may be able to “whitelist” the site by adjusting your filtering software to allow the site. Talk to your IT support about how to whitelist sites and about adjusting the filtering levels to lower restriction levels to avoid the unnecessary blocking of sites needed by library patrons. You may also turn off the filter for a patron that needs to access content being blocked by the filter, if allowed by CIPA and/or I.C. § 33-2741 (see above).

What is a lawful purpose?

The legislation does not provide for a definition of lawful purpose. As a guide, one might determine that if an activity is not prohibited by an existing law, then that activity could be considered a lawful purpose. Always consult with the library’s attorney concerning legal questions.

What does it mean to whitelist?

In this application, the term is used to refer to specifically allowing a website to bypass filtering software that might otherwise block it.

How much content should my filter block?

The filter settings should reflect your library’s Internet Use Policy. It is not necessary to block so much that it inhibits the ability of library patrons to meet their ordinary information needs. Consider unintended consequences when applying your filter settings. For example, blocking all gambling sites may unintentionally block information about the Idaho lottery.

DNS (Domain Name Server) is how an internet-enabled device (like a computer, smartphone or tablet) is able to look up where websites are located. For example, when you visit, DNS is able to locate the actual numerical IP (Internet Protocol) address of the web server where the website lives.

A DNS-based filter can be configured on individual internet-enabled devices and/or on the routers, firewalls and/or wireless access points that the Internet-enabled devices connect to. A DNS-based filter replaces the DNS offered by your internet provider and prevents filtered websites from being located.

DNS-based filters are generally free or inexpensive, but may lack customizability and can be difficult to disable when necessary to enable access by adults to filtered sites.

  • CleanBrowsing Adult Filter & Family Filter
    • $0
    • CleanBrowsing’s free content filters do not require an account and are pre-configured to block adult content. These free content filters cannot be customized.
    • CleanBrowsing also offers paid plans that allow you to configure which categories are blocked (including blocking or unblocking specific websites). Paid plans start at $5/month for 20 devices.
  • OpenDNS Family Shield & OpenDNS Home
    • $0
    • OpenDNS Family Shield does not require an account and is pre-configured to block adult content. OpenDNS Home requires a free account but you can configure which categories are blocked (including blocking or unblocking specific websites).
    • These products are intended for home use and thus may not be suited to libraries. OpenDNS Umbrella Prosumer is available for small businesses (including libraries) for 1-5 users at a cost of $20/user/year.
  • DNS Filter
    • as low as $60/year (but could be more if you exceed 1 million DNS requests in a month)
  • SafeDNS
    • $80/year for 5 devices (limit of 100,000 DNS requests per day), $150/year for 10 devices, $350/year for 25 devices
  • WebTitan Cloud
    • $405/year for 25 devices

A software-based filter is generally installed on individual internet-enabled devices and blocks filtered websites from being accessed. Some include other useful features for library public computers, like session timers and the ability to block selected applications.

Software-based filters are generally inexpensive and can be temporarily disabled by library staff when someone needs access to a blocked website.

  • Microsoft Family
    • $0
    • This product is intended for home use and thus may not be suited to libraries.
  • CYBERsitter 11
    • $34.95/year for 3 devices, $42.95/year for 5 devices, $99.50/year for 10 devices
  • Net Nanny
    • $59.99/year for 5 devices, $89.99/year for 10 devices, $119.99/year for 15 devices
      • These prices are for the Net Nanny Family Protection Pass which is available for consumer and home use only. Libraries wishing to purchase Net Nanny should contact sales at 801-508-3594 for commercial and volume pricing on ContentProtect.
  • Qustodio
    • $119.40/year for 5 devices, $239.40/year for 10 devices

A hardware-based filter is a network device that individual internet-enabled devices connect to block filtered websites from being accessed. Many hardware-based filters are multifunction network devices that can serve other roles in your network, including as a router, firewall and/or wireless access point.

Hardware-based filters are generally the most expensive option, but are often well-suited for medium-sized or larger libraries because they offer a single interface that can handle all the content filtering for an entire organization.

The Idaho Commission for Libraries does not endorse any specific product or policy for use as an internet protection measure. Information provided is for reference purposes.