Friday, September 21, 2012

Victory; Spokane County Library District Adds Internet Filters to Protect the Community; SafeLibraries Helped

Read this extremely detailed and inspiring post on how citizens successfully got Internet filtering applied in their local library, in this case the Spokane County Library District, Spokane, WA:
  • "Victory," by Sister Adamson (Tiffani Adamson), A Small Moment of..., 19 September 2012.

"The Board voted unanimously in favor of the new revisions of the Internet Use Policy.  Everyone in the room applauded and it was a victorious moment!"  I have heard of this phenomenon before:

Apparently, communities love when libraries act on behalf of the citizens instead of on behalf of the ACLU/American Library Association [ALA].

For everyone's convenience, allow me to reprint "Victory" below.  My only addition is when communities are threatened with ACLU/ALA lawsuits for library filtering, no one ever comments that not filtering may lead to far worse consequences.  Example:

And let me add this.  Should the ACLU/ALA use test cases to attempt to overturn the library policy, consider if countersuit for vexatious litigation and its treble damages would be appropriate as the ACLU is likely merely bluffing/posturing—ACLU has already lost in Washington state on this issue and ALA "dogma" has already been exposed as being false.

Now here is "Victory":



My "Stand for Something" post written almost 2 months ago has made it's way onto, and will soon be published on the Voices for Virtue website. It's been almost 3 months since the library incident and I have seen a huge response of supporters in favor of the SCLD making a change to their Internet Use Policy. 

It all began with one voice and then six at the board meeting in July, and now hundreds of voices have called, emailed, and written letters to Nancy Ledeboer and the SCLD Board of Trustees. Community leaders such as Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Senator Mike Patton and State Representative Matt Shea, as well as church leaders from all over the Spokane area have united on this issue and are continuing to share concerns and make the public aware.

In July, Heather Nerren and I got to work and created a Facebook page called, "Stop Porn in Spokane Public Libraries." As of now we have 449 members on this page and it continues to grow. Big supporters like Dan Klineman the watchdog of and Dawn Hawkins from have been contributing valuable information and news articles to our page in order to inform the public of similar library incidents that are happening all over our nation.

Dawn Hawkins has made information available to those who want to fight pornography in their own local library districts.

Click on the Facebook Page and you can download the files which are...

A general Plan for Local Leaders
ALA Statements
General FAQ
The Law

Yesterday evening the Spokane County Library Board met to discuss the revision of their Internet Use Policy. The room was packed with community members and leaders. Not one chair was empty and some people had to stand. It was indeed a remarkable showing of support! I am honored to have been a part of it all and grateful for those who boldly stepped forward to voice their concerns.

The new Internet Use Policy will be posted on the library website soon. The old policy and revision (draft) is on pages 33-39 of the meeting agenda

The Library Director of Information Technology, Pricilla Ice spoke and shared with us how the filters work on the computer. The district uses a Barracuda filter which is:

An integrated content filtering, application blocking and malware protection solution. It enforces Internet usage policies by blocking access to Web sites and Internet applications that are not related to library use, and it easily and completely eliminates spyware and other forms of malware from library computers. It blocks the following:

  • Blocks access to Web sites based on domain, URL pattern, or content category
  • Blocks downloads based on file type
  • Blocks applications that access the Internet, including IM, music services, and software update utilities
  • Integrates with "safe search" filters built into popular images search engines
  • Provides integrated gateway and desktop spyware protection
  • Uses Barracuda Web Security Agents compatible with Windows PC’s and Macs to enforce Internet policies on off-network computers.
It also categorizes filtering by age appropriateness.

After Priscilla spoke, a lawyer, his name escapes me, expressed his concern about the financial and legal risk the library would possibly face if legal action was taken by the ACLU. What was amazing to me, was the library moved forward on the policy change despite the future opposition they could face with the ACLU or ALA.

Nancy explained the revision to the policy which basically is that the computers will have filters on at all times and if a patron wants to have access to a site that they need unblocked for research purposes they will have to fill out a request form, including the website they want to view. The library will have 72 hours to respond. The librarians have every right to say no if someone want to access sexually explicit material. Patrons may also ask for certain sites to be blocked if they deem them inappropriate.

The library staff will be monitoring the computers more frequently and any violators of their Internet Use Policy, will be asked to leave and/ or banned from the library for a year. If anyone sees suspicious activity they are asked to report it to the library and they will notify the police.
There is more to the policy of course and not all of it was discussed for sake of time, so I would encourage you to read through it and be educated. Share it with friends, your children and teens.

Several people were allowed to comment to Nancy and the Board before the voting of the policy took place. Everyone was respectful in their comments and the board generously addressed each of the comments. I felt the meeting went rather smoothly and thanked God that Good men and women stood up for the right.

I was very emotional throughout the meeting, several people thanked me for my boldness in bringing this issue to light and the board repeatedly apologized for the incident having occurred. I felt that I was validated in my efforts and I am grateful for those who stood beside me.

My comment to the board was something like this...

"...It takes one time for a child or teen to see a pornographic image and it can be enough to cause a lifelong addiction. I reiterated my experience at the library on July 2nd and mentioned that my 6 year old son would've easily see the pornography and become addicted from that one time. I shared my concern with them about the placement of their computers and how easy it was for a child, teen, or adult walking by the man to see pornography he was viewing.

"When I go to the library, I allow my children to look for books in the Children's Area and I migrate over to the self-help section which is right next to the computers. My children tend to walk over to the adult/teen section in search of me, to share with me the books they've found. They did that day and I immediately shielded them from the pornography. "

I then asked the Board to consider changing the placement of the adult/teen computers and thanked them for their time and efforts in hearing out the concerns of the public and revising their Internet Use Policy. They said they would think on that.

Many other comments were made thanking the board for their revision and sharing concerns about pornography. The lawyer's concern about the ACLU suing the district for blocking sites was also addressed by Dave Ross, one of the directors of Public Affairs for the LDS church in the Spokane Valley. He said something to the effect that, " The district shouldn't care about a legal battle when it comes down to protecting our children and the community."

I agree, if it comes down to a legal battle, the fight to protect our children is more important than the legal fees for the library district. I am sure the community would step up and give financial support if this were to happen.

Overall, I am pleased that they have taken this issue seriously and have taken the appropriate action to not allow porn sites in the SCLD. I felt the library board had genuine concern for the safety of our children and will be asking the Library staff in each library to be more conscientious by monitoring the computers better. 

Board members Mary Lloyd and Ann Apperson did however express their concern to us about making sure, as parents we talk to our children about Internet safety in general. They want us to keep a close eye on our children in the libraries. They mentioned that no public place is safe and we shouldn't allow our children to be alone at the library or use the Internet without a parent watching over them. 

Please read this post, "Talking to your Children About Pornography"  for some excellent information and resources that will help guide you as you talk with your children and teens about the dangers of pornography.

The Board voted unanimously in favor of the new revisions of the Internet Use Policy. Everyone in the room applauded and it was a victorious moment!

Just received the following email from the SCLD:

This letter is to update you on actions taken at the Spokane County Library District Board of Trustees regular meeting on September 18, 2012.
The Trustees approved a revised Computer, Wireless Network and Internet Use Policy effective October 1, 2012. This new policy prohibits the following while using any District resource:
· Engaging in illegal activities
· Accessing, viewing, or printing any illegal, obscene or sexually explicit material
· Engaging in activities that compromise computer or network security
The District utilizes filtering technology which will now begin providing two levels of filtering - “basic” and “enhanced”:
All member accounts, all library computers, and the Wi-Fi network are filtered at the basic level. The following categories of information are blocked with basic filtering: illegal, compromising computer or network security, and sexually explicit material.
Additionally, all accounts for members under the age of 13, and library computers located in the children’s area, are set to the “enhanced” filtering level: The enhanced filtering level blocks all of the same categories of information that are blocked with basic filtering, as well as other categories, as determined by the District, to be for adult or mature audiences only.
A library member may request that an Internet site be blocked, or unblocked for bona fide research or other lawful purposes, by completing a review form. Decisions about whether to block or unblock a site will be in accordance with District guidelines, within 72 hours of request.
Spokane County Library District appreciates the opportunity to engage in respectful discussions about the issues we face as a community, and we appreciate your participation in this conversation.
Jane Baker
Communication Manager | Spokane County Library District
4322 N Argonne Rd | Spokane, WA 99212

I want to take a moment to publicly express my appreciation for everyone who wrote letters, sent emails, and made phone calls to the Library Board of Trustees over these past 3 months. A big thank you to the churches that united together to voice their concerns and the dedicated leaders in the community that stepped up to support this cause. 

I especially want to thank Nancy Ledeboer and the library Board of Trustees for the countless hours they spent reading emails, letters, and answering calls from concerned citizens and carefully drafting a revision of their Internet Use Policy. I am hopeful that it will be a success and am happy to support the SCLD once again.

Lastly, I thank God for giving me the strength to Stand for Something, to be His voice in bringing darkness to light and for placing righteous and honorable people on my path to help pave the way for a victory. I couldn't have done any of it, without Him and without those who stood with me. I am honored to know you and call you a friend.

I'd like to encourage anyone who wrote to the SCLD or attended the Board Meetings to take a few moments to send a note of appreciation to Nancy and the Board. They took a huge step in the right direction for the safety of our community and it was not without a risk of future opposition and lawsuits. They took a brave stand and deserve our thanks and support. This decision is not a popular one with the American Library Association or the ACLU. Many libraries across our nation are dealing with this same issue and will hopefully support this cause as communities voice there concerns. 

NANCY LEDEBOER, Executive Director for the SCLD

4322 N. Argonne Road
Spokane, WA 99212

Chair: Tim Hattenburg
Vice Chair: Mary E. Lloyd
Trustee: Ann Apperson
Trustee: Daniel Davis
Trustee: Mark Johnson

If you could please contact the Spokane Public Library and encourage them to change their policy as well. They will be meeting soon to discuss their policy. 

Here is the contact information for the SPL:
Mail to:
Pat Partovi
c/o Spokane Public Library
906 W Main Ave
Spokane, Washington 99201

(509) 444-5300


Mail to:
Board of Trustees
c/o Spokane Public Library
906 West Main Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201-0976

Board Members:
Jack L. Fallis, Jr., Chair
Janice Marich, Vice Chair 
Jim Kershner, Trustee 
Nathan G. Smith, Trustee
Anne Walter, Trustee


  1. Wow. This is a fantastic update. Hats off to you, Tiffani, to the board for their response, and to all who helped make this happen.

    1. Thank you, Mormon Women, for your comment here. And for the Pinterest Pin! Yes, Tiffani has done an outstanding in not only being successful but in documenting things so others can follow her lead.

      And my hat's off to Safe Schools, Safe Libraries Project who help out tremendously and whose helpful documents are linked in the "Victory" blog post above.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Emily. Consider going here and commenting as well: "Victory," by Tiffani Adamson, A Small Moment of..., 19 September 2012, if you haven't already.


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