What to say when you are told that you work in a bad library because you filter the Internet:

"We support the guidelines outlined in the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom regarding internet filters, but we also listened to our library patrons who were concerned with how pornographic images were displayed on library computer screens.

We received complaints about images of nude women and women engaged in sex acts. Library patrons felt that these images sexualized women and created an unfair and unwelcoming environment. Women in particular felt threatened by these images.

We support intellectual freedom, but not in a way that victimizes women."


I've memorized that last part for whenever some librarian makes that condescending face when I say we filter, "Of course, we support intellectual freedom, but not in a way that victimizes women." And then I'll make my own superior face.

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That's right. You tell them. =)

If someone wants to view something else, they have other places as options...

But a library is a learning environment.

Go find a computer you can use for free. Then complain.

Effinglibrarian, you are effing okay by me.

Let me ask this. Do you have that policy in writing, or some policy that general enforces that viewpoint? Please provide the text/URL. Clearly that could be a example for others who value intellectual freedom but not in a way that victimizes women, as you put it. They may wish to consider wording their policies similarly.


this is not official library policy... anywhere.

I don't follow your reasoning. Pornographic images are filtered out not because they sexualize women and threaten women-- they are filtered because they are pornographic. What about male on male pornography? Do you filter this becasue it sexualizes men-- no-- you filter it because it is pornography. JT

Exactly. Also this isn't the difference between some religious woman seeing a Sports Illustrated issue or some topless photos of someone on Facebook. This is straight pornography. That is most likely to be banned under general Library rules anyway.
Common sense rules really.

Personally I'd like to see a vote of the Library users as to what they think should be allowed. I think you'd get more people voting for unfiltered than filtered.
And I mean people who use the library, not those who have heard about it and are outraged.

- Would you prefer unfiltered Internet access that allows porographic images to be show on library computers?

- Would you prefer Internet access that blocks pornographic images from being shown on library computers?

you mean like that kind of survey? I'd like to see the results on that one. or maybe you'd prefer to word it to suit your needs and say things about freedom and avoid the messy pornography wording... ?

I think I'd probably give examples of types of sites that should or shouldn't be blocked actually especially as that would be a good way of filtering, rather than going by criteria decided by someone elsewhere with no knowledge of local needs.

After all theres a difference between looking at hard core pornography sites (which should be blocked anyway in a library) and a variety of other sites that you might see partially or half naked women (FHM for example).

I'd guess that it would be easy to see what sites had been looked at and/or sites that people have problems with.

My point isn't about it being filtered or unfiltered, it's more to do with the 'reasonable' demands of your customer base. I don't like the way that one group (religious, political or age-based) seems to be able to walk over what the majority of people want.
For me it's the same as if you had books that someone said was disgusting and should be banned for 'Reason X'. That person's views aren't more important than the majority of users that would want that book despite what the complainant thinks.

Mind you the survey you put up is a perfectly valid one. Surprisingly enough some people might just want the ability to look at pornographic images. Of course if you used those questions you would need to define what you would call a pornographic image. Is a topless woman pornographic? Is a crotchshot of a man in tight briefs pornographic? Or are you talking about people indulging in oral or penetrative sex?
Need to give examples and pin that down to ask those questions in my mind.
Many people would think the first two are ok, but not the later. In which case you'd need to change the way things are filtered!

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