|CIPA Author Ernest Istook|
Sadly, Seattle is following a strategy promoted by the American Library Association, which regards pornography as just a routine aspect of protecting the First Amendment. But they generally omit an important qualifier: When taxpayers are paying for the computers they have a right to insist that children are protected.You think?
Although many libraries now apply CIPA, others - encouraged by lawyers for the American Library Association - deliberately reject federal funds to avoid the requirement of filtering patrons' access to the Internet. Unconfirmed reports claim a third of our public libraries are using this tactic. They should not be criticized for not tapping into the federal Treasury, but their motivation is worrisome.Legal tactics? A third of public libraries using these tactics? Anyone want to continue to claim the ALA has little to no control over local public libraries?
Nobody should have the Seattle experience of shocking their children, nor of having librarians who are indifferent to the problem.Now isn't that a shame? "Indifferent" librarians? Indifferent to children?
Not all are indifferent, and I am quietly building an organization of those who are not, but more on that much later. Librarians willing to stand against harmful ALA policy, tactics, and indifference that endangers children may wish to contact me. All will be kept confidential.
Now read this, by Ernest Istook, the CIPA author, and the source of the above quotes:
Libraries Need Not Expose Kids to Porn
The Heritage Foundation
PUBLISHED MONDAY, FEB. 27, 2012
Librarians can be strict. In Seattle, for example, you can't eat, sleep, go barefoot or be noisy in a public library. You can, however, "watch graphic porn on a public computer in front of kids," the Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently reported.
You don't need to be a literary expert to figure out that making computer porn available is not the highest and best use of limited public resources. And certainly patrons, whose tax payments keep the doors open, deserve better than to have their children exposed to hard-core pornography.
As a former chairman of a metropolitan library system, the story from Seattle appalled me. But it didn't surprise me at all.
Sadly, Seattle is following a strategy promoted by the American Library Association, which regards pornography as just a routine aspect of protecting the First Amendment. But they generally omit an important qualifier: When taxpayers are paying for the computers they have a right to insist that children are protected.
I know because I authored the federal law on this, and it has passed muster with the Supreme Court. In 2003, the high court upheld The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in United States v. American Library Association. Earlier federal attempts to address the problem had all been rejected by the court.
The 6-3 ruling affirmed the constitutionality of CIPA, which requires public schools and libraries that receive Internet-related federal funds to use blocking filters to restrict access to pornography.
The Supreme Court agreed that the Internet is "no more than a technological extension of the book stack." The justices wrote that each public library has "its traditional role in identifying suitable and worthwhile material; it is no less entitled to play that role when it collects material from the Internet. ... Most libraries already exclude pornography from their print collections because they deem it inappropriate for inclusion. ... It would make little sense to treat libraries' judgments to block online pornography any differently."
Because "libraries cannot possibly segregate, item by item, all the Internet material that is appropriate for inclusion from all that is not," the Supreme Court agreed that using filters to exclude categories of websites is appropriate and constitutional.
Adults who so request may have the filter temporarily turned off, but this intervention gives librarians the opportunity to make sure no one is using an unfiltered computer in an area open to children and other patrons.
Although Congress' other approaches had been overturned, connecting this filtering requirement to receipt of federal funds was key to gaining Supreme Court approval, because use of government funds is commonly allowed to include restrictions.
Although many libraries now apply CIPA, others - encouraged by lawyers for the American Library Association - deliberately reject federal funds to avoid the requirement of filtering patrons' access to the Internet. Unconfirmed reports claim a third of our public libraries are using this tactic. They should not be criticized for not tapping into the federal Treasury, but their motivation is worrisome.
These libraries still rely upon public funds from the state or local level. Lawmakers who provide that funding have an opportunity to protect children. States and local governments can do so if they use CIPA as their model. They can require that schools and libraries funded by local and state governments must protect children from Internet porn by installing these software filters. No such filter is perfect, but they protect children and they help parents who want libraries to be safe places for their entire family.
Nobody should have the Seattle experience of shocking their children, nor of having librarians who are indifferent to the problem.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Ernest Istook, a fellow at The Heritage Foundation, served 14 years as a Republican congressman from Oklahoma. Readers may write to him at: The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; Web site: www.heritage.org. Information about Heritage's funding may be found at http://www.heritage.org/about/reports.cfm.
This essay is available to McClatchy-Tribune News Service subscribers. McClatchy-Tribune did not subsidize the writing of this column; the opinions are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of McClatchy-Tribune or its editors.
2012, The Heritage Foundation
Reprinted by SafeLibraries under US Copyright Fair Use §107. Clearly, on SafeLibraries, this article is reprinted for educational use and community discussion, etc.
NOTE ADDED 3 MARCH 2012:
That OpEd was written by Ernest Istook, the author of the Children's Internet Protection Act. It appeared in numerous outlets across the country. Basically, he said the ALA is misleading many communities nationwide resulting in continued harm to children. Exactly what I've been saying, by the way.
One would think the CIPA author saying the ALA is thwarting CIPA, particularly given the ALA's big loss in US v. ALA, would be a major story in honest media.
Predictably, not a single main stream library media source has covered that story. The author of CIPA says the ALA is misleading communities on CIPA, and CIPA is central to the ALA and its so-called "Office for Intellectual Freedom," the heart of the ALA where it spends most of its money for lawsuits, and the library world is silent. No articles in the ALA's own American Libraries? Nothing in Library Journal? School Library Journal, hello?
When you ignore a story so it WON’T have legs, that's a part of the propaganda game. And Library Journal is independent from the ALA. When an independent journal won't cover the story, as major a story to the library world as it is, that's evidence of intimidation, in my opinion.
By the way, above I called for people to contact me if they wished to band together to oppose harmful ALA policy, tactics, and indifference that endangers children. Several have already done so. Really, there will be only so much longer the ALA can help bury major stories about the ALA's own malfeasance.