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Timely Internet info for parents and kids

First, thanks to James Jacobs and the rest of the crew at FGI for the privilege of being guest blogger for October. And what a time to be blogging about government information! I can’t say it better than Joshua Micah Marshall of Talking Points Memo, who asked yesterday

Is it me, or is all hell breaking loose in this country’s politics? We’re in the last month of an election cycle and there are maybe four or five stories, each of which could totally dominate the national political news on their own. And each is flaming out of control at once …

So, I was going to talk about the New Mexico State Library’s OCLC Digital Archive project (and still will), but the timing on this was too perfect. My bio mentions that we receive and process state agency pubs for distribution to our state depositories. Fresh out of one of the boxes yesterday was Internet safety guide for parents / Internet safety guide for teens from the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General. You can view the titles separately in PDF or HTML format on the New Mexico AG’s website. The print version is a single, 6.5-in.-square booklet with the two titles printed back-to-back and upside down to each other (known to catalogers and hardly anyone else as a tete-beche, in case you need some cocktail-party trivia). While I’m aware of some NGO sites dealing with Internet safety, I haven’t taken the time to search for other state or federal government pubs on the topic. Anyone know of others?

Now, one reaction I have to something like this is to be a little nervous that government, at any level, takes this much interest in the Internet and what people are doing with it. Librarians have been tirelessly speaking out about the possible negative effects of CIPA, DOPA, etc. On the other hand, kids surfing the Internet can run into problems, and I’d much rather see government pubs and websites giving people tips about how to educate and monitor their kids on their own rather than passing lots of laws and imposing regulations.

This being election season, I can’t resist pointing out a political tie-in to one of the most closely watched House races in the country. Patricia Madrid, New Mexico’s state AG, whose name appears on this booklet, is running as a Democrat against the four-term, Republican incumbent, Heather Wilson, in New Mexico’s 1st House district. Madrid has made child Internet safety a centerpiece of her campaign from the beginning, months before the Foley scandal broke. And somewhat awkwardly for Wilson, this morning’s Santa Fe New Mexican reports that she served on the board overseeing the House pages from April 2001 to January of 2005. The latest Albuquerque Journal poll showed them tied at 44 percent each. Sounds like an interesting race to watch.

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