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Big developments in the ongoing library filtering case Bradburn v. North Central Library. On Monday, both the library and the ACLU motioned for summary judgments. The motions are on my Bradburn page here. The ACLU and the library’s motion, along with statements of fact and memorandums in support can all be found here. There are a bunch of declarations to work through that I’ll post later. The most interesting of which is Dr. Paul Resnik, a library science professor who has published several pieces of research on filtering (see my research page here, specifically the Kaiser Foundation study he authored and his research paper on filtering testing). Resnick found that out of 60,000 actual pages accessed by library patrons, only 20 were incorrectly blocked – sounds like almost the definition of “de minimus” to me. I’ll add Resnick’s new work to my filtering tests page later. -- Read More
San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant is concerned with children viewing "second-hand porn" while visiting San Jose's public libraries, which includes the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.
"Children can get porn anywhere. If they don't see it at the library, kids will see it in other places," said Sarah Jasso, a psychology major.
Despite a groundswell of local controversy, it doesn't appear strong-arm measures like impenetrable filters or limited Internet access are in the Gwinnett County Public Library's future. Instead, library leaders plan to ask thousands of Gwinnettians for suggestions on moving forward. Library board members agreed Monday to a large-scale survey that, in theory, will take the pulse of far more library users than those who have come forth thus far with suggestions on Internet issues.
Ruth Hardy, a library user, sparked debate over Internet access after she witnessed a man viewing pornography last year at a local branch, she said. The Gwinnett system has more than 75,000 registered minors who frequent its 14 branches.
San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant accused the city's head librarian Wednesday of foot-dragging and shoddy research on his proposal to filter pornography out of library computers. Constant told Library Director Jane Light he was "disappointed" in her progress report to a council committee on his October proposal for the city to reconsider Internet filtering on library computers. A final report is due in March.
"I don't honestly feel we're going down a path to finding solutions," Constant said. "I feel we're going down a path to finding reasons not to do this."
A board member of a Canadian library argues that the porn industry has figured out what its customers really want and how to provide it in the Internet age. Other content providers -- such as newspapers and libraries -- need to do the same.
People hate librarians enough to take it all the way to the Supreme Court.
In the U.S. vs. the ALA, the attorney for the respondents, Paul M. Smith makes a case that library patrons can't be required to suffer the stigma of asking a librarian to unblock a "porn" filter. Essentially, that asking a librarian for this help is so traumatic that it should be declared unconstitutional. So that ultimately, the entire filtering issue comes down to the "stigma" of asking the librarian for help.
And this is the basis for this case, people hate us so much that they can't bear to ask us for help even if that help allows them to watch videos of people screwing.
After I bloggered about this today, I thought about my conclusion and realized something else.... this "stigma" argument was presented by the counsel representing the ALA(!!!???).
What is it supposed to mean when the association formed to represent your interests in public and political arenas, admits in public documents that it's an undue burden for someone to ask for your help? (Yeah, I realize this isn't funny.)
Popular knitting blogger CrazyAuntPurl describes a scene where she sees obviously inappropriate pictures on a library computer. When she takes offense and talks to the staff person about it-- the sympathetic person notes that many staff members have also complained, apparently with no effect.
Notably--her rant is focused more on people's lack of decency these days and she's a pretty brash blogger, so it takes a lot to offend her.
In news that surprises no one reading this site, Gwinnett County Public Library patrons discovered that the library's public internet filtering doesn't always work.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the full story, but what got me was this line:
"At a public library in Norcross last week, it took less than 15 seconds to find pornographic photographs on a computer terminal."
Really? 15 seconds? That seems to be a long time to launch a browser, bring up Google Image Search, and search for "boobs."
Popular blog Boing Boing points to one library's interesting method for dealing with library filtering, utilizing large signs designating "filtered" and "unfiltered" internet access. Says the submitter of the photo, "The 'unfiltered' side faces the reference desk so the librarians can monitor usage but they say it has reduced abuse and given adults uncensored access to the internet." Pic and entry here. An interesting comment debate follows, discussing whether the signage constitutes a privacy invasion.
The San Jose Mercury News Says Filtering was a bad idea a decade ago, and still is. Responding to a minor nuisance at the downtown library by dampening the rights of inquiry and speech of all patrons at every city library is an unacceptable trade-off.