Librarians Turn Wikipedia Blackout Into a Teachable Moment

Posted January 18, 2012
Associated Library: WCFLS

From School Library Journal

Wikipedia is turning off its lights at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), a move that's inspired school librarians to turn the blackout into a teaching opportunity.

"I might make a quick button that says, 'Can't get to Wikipedia? Ask me,'" says Cassandra Barnett, former president of the American Association of School Librarians, and a high school librarian at Fayetteville (AR) High School. "I thought, my gosh, what a perfect opportunity to talk about the subscription databases we have. Or walk over to the shelves, take a book and show them an overview of their topic where they don't even have to log on to a computer."

News site reddit, and blog Boing Boing will be darkening their sites as well. The blog publishing service WordPress is offering plug-ins for users to black out their blogs and Google is adding a message on its site expressing its opposition to the antipiracy legislation. (Find a list of protestors here). The collective goal is to protest the two bills, which are aimed at stopping online privacy but also potentially grant the U.S. government the ability to shut down sites that are infringing on copyrighted content.

By Lauren Barack