On 21 August 2008, out comes "No Library Bond Money Until Internet Porn Issue Solved," by Cynthia Walker, The Gilroy Dispatch, 21 August 2008. It is sad to see how long this library has been able to drag its feet on protecting children from harm. "By Dec. 1996, we saw our first incidents of obvious minors accessing pornography in libraries. We were stunned when our trusted friends, the librarians, told us that it was a child's right to look at anything he wanted. 'Please respect the privacy of the child.'"
Alas, "the libraries responded, citing ALA Policy, that all library resources must be available to all library patrons, regardless of age." Years and years of meetings and media, all to no avail.
Local control over public libraries is impossible when the ALA and its local acolytes dig in their heels. This is precisely why state CIPA legislation is needed.
Consider the following familiar refrain from "Vote No on Prop. 81," Editorial, The Gilroy Dispatch, 19 May 2006:
"Speaking of local control ... even after six years, it still rankles that our librarians refused and continue to refuse to adopt a policy prohibiting access to pornography by minors on library Internet terminals. When every day new incidents reveal the ease with which sexual predators solicit children online, any claims that the library is a safe place for kids ring hollow. The values espoused by the American Library Association are so divorced from the values of our community that we would seriously consider withdrawing from the Joint Powers Authority and going back to the days of a city library under local control, rather than giving one thin dime to an institution controlled by an organization that believes in 'all materials for all patrons regardless of age.'"
The Gilroy story is long and sad and neverending. Local library control has been denied by ALA acolytes for over a decade and counting in Gilroy. Apparently, the words of the US Supreme Court in US v. ALA (2003) mean nothing to the ALA and the Gilroy librarians: "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree." Something stinks in Gilroy, and it's not garlic.
I urge everyone to read "No Library Bond Money Until Internet Porn Issue Solved," by Cynthia Walker, The Gilroy Dispatch, 21 August 2008:
By Cynthia Walker
[FOR REASONS OF COPYRIGHT CREDITED TO THE GILROY DISPATCH, I ONLY SHOW SOME PARTS OF THE ARTICLE. BUT PLEASE GO TO THE LINK FOR THE WHOLE THING -- IT'S WORTH IT.]
In Nov. 1996, the Internet was installed in county libraries. My friend Matthew expressed some uneasiness to me. "There's pornography on the Internet," he told me. "What if children get into it?" I scoffed, "Oh, Matthew, the librarians would never let that happen."
By Dec. 1996, we saw our first incidents of obvious minors accessing pornography in libraries. We were stunned when our trusted friends, the librarians, told us that it was a child's right to look at anything he wanted. "Please respect the privacy of the child."
.... In March, the libraries responded, citing ALA Policy, that all library resources must be available to all library patrons, regardless of age.
.... We responded to the library's letter. On May 18, 1997, we took a police officer to Gilroy Library to demonstrate that illegal material is available on children's terminals. The officer was shocked; he, like most other sane individuals, assumed that the library was using some sort of filtering technology. He took a report. Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu verified that material was illegal (obscene), but said: no victim, no crime. The library did nothing........ And in June 1999, the Board approved existing guidelines as "policy." Librarians will not monitor. Parental consent for minors is not required. Open access to all patrons, regardless of age. Consequently, if a patron complains that a child is viewing pornography, a librarian, at her discretion, may move the porn-surfing patron to another terminal or tell the offended patron that the porn-surfer has a right to privacy.
| ||Cynthia Walker|
Cynthia Anne Walker is a homeschooling mother of three and former engineer. She is a published independent author. Her column is published in The Dispatch every Friday.