Sunday, October 23, 2016

Plan to Report Child Pornography in Public Libraries

Graphic credit: Karen Jensen
Plan to report child pornography in public libraries.  Librarian Karen Jensen of Teen Librarian Toolbox asks, "Does your library have a plan for what to do in case a patron is caught viewing child pornography on your public computers?" and advises "don't wait until it happens to figure out what you're supposed to do":
Here are her main points, then read the entire post:
  1. You need to have a plan and train staff BEFORE something happens
  2. Know that pornography involving minors is a crime and you are legally obligated to report
  3. Preserve the evidence
  4. Have staff fill out a detailed incident report ASAP
  5. Take detailed notes during the process
  6. Advise staff on how to talk with the public/press
  8. Invite the police and your legal counsel to come train your staff
  9. If you have an incident, do a postmortem
  10. Know that you may never know what happens after the fact
Here is a list of the resources she provided:
Now let me add my two cents.  Karen Jensen is the first librarian I have seen to deal directly with this serious issue that affects all libraries.  And her advice is spot on.

Even her link to American Library Association [ALA] policy is good as ALA recently changed its policy; it now advises librarians to report child pornography—it didn't used to.  This change occurred, without any fanfare or any announcement at all by ALA, only after many decades and direct pressure from SafeLibraries and Orland Park Public Library child pornography whistleblowers Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan who went on to publish SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment.  See:
I also credit Jamie LaRue, who is the new leader of ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom [OIF], for finally changing ALA's policy, that Karen Jensen linked, to finally advise librarians to report child pornography.  If interested, linked here is an older, archived version that advises librarians are not judges so they cannot determine what is child pornography and may not call the police.  I recommend ALA OIF announce the change in policy so libraries nationwide can adjust accordingly.

In respect of that older policy, library lawyers advised librarians not to call the police on child pornography viewers as that would violate the child porn viewer's rights to privacy:

In one library KTJ represented, child porn was indeed allowed and covered up, and I got caught up in a federal lawsuit to try to silence me and the child porn whistleblowers.  We were not silenced and instead ALA finally advises librarians to report child pornography to the police.  See:

To this day, certain ALA policies continue to stand in the way of what Karen Jensen has recommended, and indeed that it likely part of why she recommended what she did.
Karen Jensen, on the other hand, correctly advises the exact opposite of ALA:
  • Preserve the evidence.
  • Have staff fill out a detailed incident report ASAP.
  • Take detailed notes during the process.
  • Invite the police and your legal counsel to come train your staff.
  • If you have an incident, do a postmortem.
I really commend Karen Jensen for writing one of the most important articles in any library media.  Everyone please read "Things I Never Learned in Library School: Dealing with Minors and Pornography," by Karen JensenSchool Library Journal, 18 October 2016.

Why is her work entitled in part "Things I Never Learned in Library School"?  Why aren't library schools teaching what Karen Jensen is revealing?  Why is it left to individual librarians to finally address such a serious issue?  I call on library schools to incorporate Karen Jensen's work—planning to report child pornography—into library school curricula.

Librarians, please retweet this @TLT16 tweet below, start planning to report child pornography in public libraries, and ask your alma maters to include her work in their curricula:

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