Friday, November 27, 2009

Chatting Up Child Victims in Montpelier, VT, Courtesy of ALA Policy Controlling Yet Another Community's Public Library; Parole Board Should Consider Library Complicity

Oh look.  A child predator who went to jail for a few months of his 3-4 year sentence for "attempting to lure a minor and possessing child pornography" used Yahoo Messenger on a public library computer to lure his next child victim.   This was at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in lovely Montpelier, VT.  The library's reaction?  He hogged the computers:  "The librarian stated that [the man] had been in the library frequently and that he has been monopolizing the computer several times a day in violation of the library’s own policies."  See "Man Denied Bail for Violating Conditions of Probation," by Jaime Cone, Brattleboro Reformer, 26 November 2009.

Why might this have happened?  "In 1997 the Board adopted an Internet Policy recommended by the American Library Association."  Uh oh.  The library adopted the ALA-recommended policy.  Clue one something is wrong.  Oh, that's right, the ALA does not control local community libraries, we're supposed to believe.  Nevermind.

Clue two something is wrong:

Internet Access
The Internet, a world-wide network of computer networks is an essential medium for obtaining and transmitting information of all types.  Therefore, public access to the Internet is germane to the Library's mission.

However, the Internet is an unregulated medium.  It also provides access to information that is inaccurate, illegal or that some may find offensive or disturbing.  The Library will identify on its web site specific Internet sites that have potential interest for Library users.  But the Library cannot control a user's access to other Internet resources.

That is flat out false.  The library can and may control a user's access to the Internet, it just refuses to do so because the ALA has directed how the library will act, according to the library's own admission.  It's right there in black and white.

The perp said he was "incredibly dishonest and manipulative about this stuff."  Perhaps it's the library itself that has been incredibly dishonest and manipulative.  

I think a better title for the media report would have been "ALA Policy Controlling Public Library Endangers More Children; Kellogg-Hubbard Library Falsely Claims It Cannot Control Internet Usage," by Jaime Cone, Brattleboro Reformer, 26 November 2009.

The perp has a violation of parole meeting coming up.  I suggest he argue that the library is partially at fault for refusing to take action that may have prevented his behavior in the first place.  I suggest the parole board consider the library to be under the control of a foreign entity, the ALA, and that control made it an "attractive nuisance" that the perp could not resist and that endangers children.
Will the local community allow this to remain another sad statistic, or will it do what it must to protect its children by kicking out the anything-goes policy of the ALA in the public library?   Is it the public's library or the ALA's library?   Ask the ex-con with the duct tape, camera, and the variety of alcohol found in his car in lovely Montpelier, VT.


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