children accessing porn; adults turning off filterware

Kristine Buchanan kbucha at
Wed Jul 9 10:24:57 EDT 1997

  I agree.  I have always viewed librarians as the guardians of our First 
Amendment rights.  Growing up, I can remember the, in my opinion, brave 
librarians who refused to take "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" off 
the shelves.  Books already selected for the library that people wanted 
to remove after they were acquired.  How people cannot see that filtering 
is the same process of denying access to an already acquired medium is 
beyond me.

On Tue, 8 Jul 1997, Shaken Angel wrote:

> On Tue, 8 Jul 1997, Mark Wilden wrote:
> > > From: Burt, David <DBurt at>
> > > 
> > > First, the argument assumes that
> > > use of the Internet is an unlimited resource. Use of the Internet in a
> > > public library is a finite resource.  Just as a library only has so many
> > > books, a library only has so many blocks of Internet time to allocate to
> > > its patrons.
> > 
> > Actually, this is the first good argument for filters I've heard. Hypothetically, would you
> > support a system that turned off the filter if no one else was waiting?
> Personally, I think the "time argument" vis a vis Internet access in a
> public library situation is the *only* area in which it can be compared to
> more traditional library resources.  Given that Internet access, once
> purchased, does not require any extra space or money (unlike books, or
> magazines, where the selection process is quite valid; a library can't buy
> every book in the world but they *can* get every public Web site in the
> world without incurring extra costs), the argument by the pro-censo^H^H^H
> (okay, okay, I'll say "filtering" from now on :) filtering camp about
> Internet resources being more or less equal to the selection process used
> on traditional media is, in my opinion, moot. 
> If one is to apply the argument that Internet access should be restricted
> by time, then the only solution that makes sense is one that is
> Web-content neutral.  If time is an issue at a given library, have folks
> sign up for one-hour blocks.  What they *do* with this one hour should be
> up to *them*; they're (theoretically) taxpayers, they should be able to
> read what they want in the library without having a third party's morality
> judgments forced upon them.
> Case in point: David and Ronnie despise porn.  Someone else despises
> religious rants.  I despise organized sports.  A lot.  I'm just about
> paranoid enough to say that the mania over organized sports is going to be
> the death of civilization.  However, if I'm walking around my library, and
> I see someone using one of the public WWW stations to access ESPN's site,
> am I going to grab them roughly by the collar and toss them out of their
> library on their ear?  Am I going to yell, "OUT, you DAMNED SPORTS
> ADDICTS?" as I quiver with my righteous wrath?  No, I'm not.  Because I
> don't believe in forcing my morality upon others.
> Here's the point.  Sports speech is protected by the First Amendment. 
> Porn is protected by the First Amendment.  Religious rants are protected
> by the First Amendment.  No library or librarian should actively try to
> subvert the First Amendment.  Yes, I know, those nasty little Amendments,
> that reprehensible Bill of Rights thing, really gets in the way of each of
> us trying to force our specific personal beliefs on others, but what are
> you gonna do?
> -- john f., miami university library systems
> opinions are mine.

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