Monday, April 18, 2011

Michigan Libraries at Risk of Massive E-Rate Fraud; Michigan Library Privacy Act May Need Amending

Michigan libraries are at risk, but it is not for the reasons claimed by the "information activist librarian," linked below.  Read on to see an email I sent to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder about the potential for massive E-Rate fraud by Michigan libraries and the possible need to amend the Michigan Library Privacy Act.

I call for an investigation by the Michigan government and/or media.  That's my money that may have been fraudulently obtained.

Dear Michigan Governor Rick Snyder,

Having spoken today with one of your legislative aides, I submit the following information regarding Michigan libraries.

I am aware some library advocates are urging those in the library community to contact your office to pressure you to act as they wish.  For example, see "Michigan Libraries At Risk," by Anthony Molaro, The Information Activist Librarian, 15 April 2011.

I am writing to inform you that some Michigan libraries may be defrauding the federal government of millions of dollars.  This information may be of value to you as you consider the matter of library funding.

In a nutshell, some Michigan libraries are getting federal funding under the E-Rate program for Internet access (as opposed to telecom access) that is available only after certifying all library computers are filtered.  However, a Michigan state law requires all libraries that filter to have at least one unfiltered computer.  Even one unfiltered computer eliminates access to federal E-Rate funding for Internet access.  No Michigan library should be getting funding for Internet access due to that state law, yet many do, and for years.  They must have certified they filter all computers.  But they know they do not due to compliance with state law.  Libraries are a great community resource, but they should not obtain funding fraudulently.  Worse, they should not demand more money on top of the money fraudulently obtained as first the fraudulently obtained money needs to be returned to the federal government.

It is the Michigan Library Privacy Act that requires one computer to remain unfiltered.  397.606: "By reserving, to individuals 18 years of age or older or minors who are accompanied by their parent or guardian, 1 or more terminals that are not restricted from receiving any material."
Of course, I could be wrong.  But it is likely a simple matter to research.  If it is true, Michigan libraries may have fraudulently obtaining millions.  Should people/organizations with unclean hands now have their financial demands rewarded?  Governmental leaders or the media should perform an investigation.  This is a starting point for research on what library received what, how much, and when:  (To me, any funding received in 2004 and beyond is relevant as US v. ALA finding CIPA constitutional was decided in 2003.) 

Perhaps consideration should be given to changing that state law.

I have been examining this issue for years and have already reported three libraries (non-Michigan) to the FCC.  If I may assist in any way, please let me know.  In particular, if you obtain contradictory information from a library source, contact me for additional information as such information is often merely "dogma." 

Thank you.

Respectfully submitted,

Dan Kleinman

Library News:


It seems my call for changing the state law to avoid CIPA fraud is engendering a call for statewide filtering.  And I appreciate receiving and am happy to add an opinion of the Michigan Attorney General:

Gmail Safe Libraries

Attorney General says ALL library computers can lawfully be filtered

AFA-Michigan Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 7:02 PM
Reply-To: AFA-Michigan
To: "",,,,
The Michigan attorney general's office last year issued an opinion (see attached) affirming that a local library board can -- in compliance with state law -- require that all public access computers in a public library install and use pornography-filtering software.

Michigan law should be amended to require that all public libraries in the state do so.

Gary Glenn, President

DOC_4_19_2010_9_11_35 AM.pdf



  1. Um, Mr. Kleinman? Would pointing out a misspelling in the first sentence of your letter to the governor count as an ad hominem attack? Because if it does, I won't mention it. Thanks.

  2. @Some Punk Kid, thanks for writing. Go ahead, say what you like, keeping in mind "Comments of a personal nature and linkspam may be removed." I saw a spelling error and corrected it before I saw your comment. Any more?

  3. Yes, actually. I believe the first sentence should read, "...after speaking with one of your legislative aides...".

  4. Not a direct quote, by the way. I was working from memory just then. :)

  5. @Some Punk Kid, thanks! You are correct! And I fixed it, thanks to you. To me you are not just some punk kid. You are welcome to read and comment here any time (or is it anytime--I have to be careful with you!). And if you should add a link to your own site, if you have one, I will not consider it linkspam.


Comments of a personal nature, trolling, and linkspam may be removed.