Letter to the Editor of the Star-Tribune:

Internet Porn at the Library

Every day we, too, are subjected to pornography left (sometimes intentionally) on the screens and in the printers. We do not like it either. We feel harassed and intimidated by having to work in a public environment where we might, at any moment, be exposed to degrading or pornographic pictures.

While the American Library Association (ALA) and our Minneapolis Public Library administration have taken the firm stand that restricting Internet access in any way is unacceptable censorship, most of us working directly with the public disagree. The issue is not one of intellectual freedom, but rather whether obscene material should be publicly displayed. If a Penthouse magazine cover must be kept out of public view in a grocery store should not the same principle apply in a public library?

Compromise solutions do exist, and are being used successfully at other libraries. Sophisticated filters could provide intelligent monitoring on those terminals in high access areas of the library.

Contrary to the "official" line of the ALA, filters can be designed to allow searching of topics such as "breast cancer," while at the same time blocking most pornographic sites. And for patrons wanting unrestricted access, a number of nonfiltered terminals could be located in a less-traveled area of the library. With such an arrangement no one's rights would be violated.

Libraries across the country are coming to the realization that they must deal responsibly with the problem of Internet pornography, or permanently lose patrons . . . .

At our reference desks we hear numerous complaints, often from parents with children or teenagers in tow, and many say they are not coming back unless the situation is improved. Yet letters and calls to our director and to the Library Board have gone unheeded.

[Source: http://www.usdoj.gov/osg/briefs/2002/3mer/2mer/2002-0361.mer.ja.vol.3.html ]

[ Adamson v. Minneapolis Public Library ]

This URL:  http://www.SafeLibraries.org/Adamson


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