Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pocahontas and the Ellisville Public Library

The library director of the Ellisville Public Library in Ellisville, MS, has announced publicly what the American Library Association [ALA] tries very hard to downplay--ALA rules control the local public library she directs. In fact she seems proud of the ALA's control over her library and expects everyone to accept the subversion of local library law.

Library Director Michelle Rogers proclaims:

Just as our country is governed based on the Bill of Rights, libraries are also governed by a Bill of Rights. The Library Bill of Rights is a document that was created by the American Library Association (ALA). All American libraries are expected to follow the basic guidelines of the Bill of Rights to guide their services.

Do people in Ellisville want to enforce their local library law that excludes certain material such as pronography the ALA allows in? Too bad! "All American libraries are expected to follow the basic guidelines of the Bill of Rights to guide their services."

The library director does the usual two step by saying, "I’ll be the first to admit to you that there are a lot of materials on our shelves I totally disagree with." But then explains how the ALA rules require that she allow in what the local community would not: "However, I have to respect the rights of others who may want to view these materials."

A library is created by some instrument of law. That law may say what the library allows and what it does not allow. Usually such laws proscribe pronography either explicitly or implicitly. Libraries must act within those laws; allowing pronography is acting outside such laws, namely, illegally. When a library chooses to ignore local library law and instead follow the ALA's policy that anything goes, it is possible they may be illegal activity. In such a case, the government that created that law needs to step in to ensure the legal entity it created is acting lawfully.

In Ellisville, the government and the citizens have a distinct advantage over other communities. The library director has admitted publicly that the ALA's "Bill or Rights" must "guide their services," not the local instrument of law that created the library.

Often the ALA de facto controls local public libraries and no one publicly admits that it is doing so. Ellisville's library director, however, has chosen to admit the obvious.

The local government does not first need to determine IF the library is no longer controlled by local law. That has become an established fact. Another established fact is that the library director has allowed in material it would not otherwise allow but for the ALA's "Bill of Rights." Now the government needs to take action to enjoin the library from violating local law.

This message I am writing puts the Ellisville government on notice that its Ellisville Public Library may be acting illegally. If any of the library rapes or molestations occurring nationwide as a possible result of ALA policy occur in Ellisville, then significant liability may extend not only to the library but also to the government itself. The government knew or should have known that the library may have been acting illegally and did nothing to stop it--therefore punitive damages may be appropriate. This very blog will be found during discovery by the potential victim's lawyers.

Given the library director admits she follows ALA diktat, and given she admits the library contains material it might not otherwise have but for the ALA, she is implying that the library is ignoring local library law. The government must act to correct this or it too may be exposing the community to grave harm both physically and financially.

Ellisville has a proud history. It is even named for a descendant of Chief Powhatan, Pocahontas's father. Does anyone in Ellisville, or anywhere else for that matter, think Pocahontas would blithely accept the subversion of local laws to the ALA's "Bill of Rights" by an apparent ALA acolyte? Would Pocahontas accept the exposure of children to the harms experienced in other libraries controlled by ALA acolytes who flout local law?

This information is based on:
"At the Library," by Michelle Rogers, Laurel Leader-Call, 28 April 2008.

Published April 28, 2008 11:17 am -

At the Library

By Michelle Rogers

Greetings from the Ellisville Library. I want to take a moment to discuss something that has come up at the library lately. While this hasn’t occurred in Ellisville, there have been a few isolated cases at the Laurel Branch. So I’m sure by now you’re wondering, what is she blabbing about? I’m talking about complaints about materials on our shelves. While you may not agree with everything that is on our shelves, it is policy that we provide the public with a variety of materials on various subjects and viewpoints. Just as our country is governed based on the Bill of Rights, libraries are also governed by a Bill of Rights. The Library Bill of Rights is a document that was created by the American Library Association (ALA). All American libraries are expected to follow the basic guidelines of the Bill of Rights to guide their services. Among other important policies, the Bill of Rights states, “Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation.” It goes on to say, “Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” I’ll be the first to admit to you that there are a lot of materials on our shelves I totally disagree with. However, I have to respect the rights of others who may want to view these materials. As the Ellisville librarian, this is something I have to deal with on a daily basis.

For example, when choosing materials to add to our collection, I must consider what would be best for patrons. It is my duty to provide materials from different viewpoints and ideas despite what my opinion may be. We are all unique and have different reading tastes, so it is important that libraries have materials to suit every personality. We do respect your concerns and opinions, however, so if there are materials you find obscene or offensive please let Library staff know.

We will handle these situations on an individual basis.

Now that I’m off my soapbox I have some very exciting news! The Rural Development Authority has given us the green light to begin construction on the new library. The construction should begin shortly after some pre-construction details are completed. I know everyone is very excited and can’t wait for our new library. This has been a dream of the Laurel-Jones County Library System and the City of Ellisville for many years and finally that dream will be realized. The current discussion is that the project could be completed as soon as the end of this year or beginning of next year at the latest. So, in the meantime keep your fingers crossed. I want to mention something very important about the new library. Before the library can open we will need to have furniture and other supplies in place. Unfortunately at this time, we just are able to cover the cost of the construction with help from grants and other sources.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Burlington IA Library Director Misleads Public About Internet Filters

The library director in Burlington, Iowa, is misleading the public about Internet filters in the Burlington Public Library. At least as quoted, Library Director Rhonda Frevert sounds like someone mouthing the words of the American Library Association [ALA], a powerful organization that holds it is "age" discrimination to keep children from any material they wish.

In "Resident Advocates for Filters to Catch P0rn," by Darcie Hoenig, The Hawk Eye, 26 April 2008, Burlington resident Francis Hicks learned from a child that library computers in recessed stations were being used to view p0rnography. So he told the library's director who refused to do anything. Instead, the director said the library board already voted against filters. She then listed the exact same excuses the ALA advises local libraries to use. Paraphrasing for brevity's sake:
  1. Internet filters are not reliable.
  2. Internet filters underblock.
  3. Internet filters overblock.
  4. Internet filters often block health information, such as breast cancer.
  5. Internet filters are turned off for a "good deal of time" based on her own mini survey.
  6. Internet filters are easily foiled by "teens getting their kicks."
  7. P0rnographic files have deceiving file names.
  8. Internet filters create a "false sense of security."
  9. Internet filters "imply to parents that children will not find inappropriate material."
  10. Internet filters are not needed because in "only a handful of instances" out of 59,000 computer log-ins was "illicit material" "caught being viewed."
  11. Internet filters are not needed because uses must first "accept the library's policy on proper Internet usage."
  12. Internet filters are not needed because "library policies outline proper safety, behavior and electronic resources use."
  13. Internet filters are not needed because the library "encourages children and families to use the facility together."
  14. Internet filters are not needed because "it's ultimately up to parents to supervise what their children are doing at the library."
Phew! That's a lot of excuses to pack into a single news article. The ALA must have really prepared her well for how to handle media inquiries. ("'Bridge' to the positive. When asked a 'negative[' sic] question, answer briefly without repeating any 'hot' or negative words. Add a positive statement. Example: Q. Isn't it true librarians allow children to get p0rnography on the Internet? A. Absolutely not. Our role is to help children learn to use the Internet wisely and to help guide them to all the great sites that are out there.") But such excuses only serve to advance the interests of the ALA; they leave the Burlington community without the legal protections needed to protect its citizens from harm, namely, Internet filters.

The truth is Internet filters are now extremely effective. Even health-related sites are no longer blocked. (See ACLU v. Gonzales.) And since no computer software of any kind will ever be perfect, the problem with overblocking, to the extent it still exists, is easily avoided by asking the librarian to temporarily disable the filter or unblock the site.

And all this is constitutionally approved by the US Supreme Court in the case of US v. ALA. The ALA lost big in that case on these very issues; it's no wonder the ALA tries, usually successfully, to get local librarians to reraise the same issues already asked and answered by the US Supreme Court.

As to her mini survey that filters are usually turned off, hogwash. Filters are used successfully in many, many communities nationwide, often without so much as a peep.

Now part of the reason for using Internet filters is to prevent criminals from having access to the material that gives them the impetus they need to commit that library rape or child molestation. It happens in library after library that refuses to filter effectively.

Iowans have direct experience with children raped in public library bathrooms as a result of ALA-engendered unfiltered Internet computers. Anyone remember the Des Moines case? I was directly involved in uncovering that, so even though I'm from New Jersey, I know whereof I speak. See "Media - Wake Up to Library Crime Source" for more.

So if part of the goal of filters is to not attract criminals in the first place, to cause them to move on to another community misled by the ALA, then many of the Burlington Public Library director's arguments are irrelevant.
  1. Teens can foil filters? Irrelevant. Criminals are usually not the brightest bulbs. The filters will stop them.
  2. Got a "false sense of security" that your child won't see anything bad? Irrelevant. Besides, isn't the library supposed to educate parents about the risks? Remember: "library policies outline proper safety, behavior and electronic resources use." Criminals are expected to respect that, but not parents?
  3. Might Internet filters "imply to parents that children will not find inappropriate material"? Irrelevant. Besides, parents are supposed to be smart enough to "supervise what their children are doing at the library," so why are they considered so stupid as to think filters are 100% perfect or to get a "false sense of security."
Are you getting the point so I don't have to address each of the library director's false and misleading statements?

I can't resist adding one more--yes, the library director must think people actually are stupid because we are expected to believe that library usage policies or the need to "accept the library's policy on proper Internet usage" before using the computer will actually deter the child molesters and rapists. "Excuse me, Mr. Rapist, I know you might have your eye on my little toddler, but you did click the button on the computer to accept our usage policy, so please play nicely." I'm sure I don't need to say this but acceptable usage policies haven't stopped a single crime.

Let's look again at the library director's actions. Someone brings to her attention that people are accessing p0rnography at the recessed stations and children are seeing this. My reaction would be how, where, we have to stop it. I'll bet that's the reaction of the majority of citizens. I'll bet the law that created the library implicitly or explicitly excluded p0rn. (P0rn is perfectly legal to exclude under US v. ALA.) Instead, she makes at least fourteen excuses, essentially excuses for p0rnography in the public library, and totally leaves out anything about or in US v. ALA.

She even tacitly admits p0rnography should not be allowed--she said p0rnographic files have deceiving names. Deceiving names? Who's deceiving whom? Claiming p0rnographic files have deceiving names and get past Internet filters anyway implies p0rnographic images are not appropriate in the public library, and they are not (depending on the community and its laws), yet she merely makes excuses when such material is brought to her attention! Who cares about the kid when there are ALA directives to follow, right? Talk one way, walk another. I mean this lady is really an expert on spinning stories to make them look different than they are, a model ALA acolyte.

I am hereby putting the Burlington, IA, community and government on notice. Should any criminal activity occur as a result of unfiltered or improperly filtered Internet computers in your public library, you stand a good chance of a lawsuit that may result not only in consequential damages, but also punitive damages. If it is determined your library knew or should have known following ALA policy instead of local community interests and laws would result in harm, there may be liability. Further, if it is determined your government knew or should have known the library was acting outside the law that created the library but did nothing to require the library to adhere to that law, the government itself may be separately liable.

You know what's really sad? Remember I said the ALA holds it is "age" discrimination to keep any material from a child? Well that comes from the ALA's so-called "Library Bill of Rights." These "Rights" were first drafted in 1938 by Forrest Spaulding, director of the Des Moines Public Library. The word "age" was added in 1967 and "reaffirmed" in 1996. It's really sad that the addition of that word may have come back to haunt the toddler raped in the same Des Moines Public Library where the "Rights" originated. Does anyone think Forrest Spaulding would be happy with what has become of his "Rights"? Will the citizens of Burlington be the next victims lulled into complacency by the ALA acolyte's prepared excuses and misinformation?

If anyone know Francis Hicks who plans to attend the library board meeting May 22, please ask him to contact SafeLibraries. I will attempt to help him wake up his community to what's going on. "This isn't a fight I plan to give up easily," he said. "It's not just me, but I'm going to be the one to stand up and fight until the end."

Anybody have anything to say about this? Thank you.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Library Director Lies to Stop Filters; Desperate Move to Mislead Public Contradicts the Library's Own Policy


Lies In the Media
Lies In the Library Web Site
Galling Contradiction of Library's Own Policy
Notes for Fact Checking Purposes


Library Director Metta Lansdale uses lies and contradictions to stop political efforts to filter the computers at the Royal Oak Public Library in Michigan. [NOTE 1] Too strong a statement? Then what do you call it when the US Supreme Court in US v. ALA says Internet filters on public library computers do not constitute censorship, yet the director says they do? What do you call it when filters are so effective and no longer block out health-related web sites that even the ACLU testifies to this, the court in ACLU v. Gonzales found the Children's Online Protection Act to be unconstitutional precisely because of this, yet the director says the exact opposite? Worse, what do you call it when the library's own policy prohibits pornography but the director opposes filters that legally and effectively block it, then misleads people to decide as she would--against filters? A rose is a rose is a rose [NOTE 2], and a lie is a lie is a lie. Things are what they are.


Lie 1:

"'[A]dults are adults and they have a right to look at what they want to," Lansdale said. 'It's [sic] is a form of government censorship when libraries put on filters.'" "Survey: Most Libraries Don't Filter Computers in Adult Labs," by Catherine Kavanaugh, (Royal Oak) Daily Tribune, 17 April 2008. [NOTE 3]

False. Read US v. ALA [NOTE 4] to see why this is false in several ways. I could say more but I want you to read the case then think for yourselves.

Lie 2:

"Filters are very arbitrary, blunt instruments that in some cases do more harm than good and I'm talking about adults trying to get legal information." "Library Seeks Input on Filters for Adult Computers; Director Urges Residents to Write, E-Mail Opinions," by Catherine Kavanaugh, (Royal Oak) Daily Tribune, 27 March 2008. [NOTE 5]

False. Read ACLU v. Gonzales [NOTE 6] to see why this is false in several ways. More recently, though after the director made some of her comments, independent studies show filters have improved even further still. [NOTE 7]

Lies 3, 4, and 5:

"'It's none of our business what people are doing on our computers. I don't want staff and passersby to have to look at what someone is looking at and I don't want people looking over their shoulder,' Lansdale said. Lansdale, who says she is appalled by what people find online, opposes filters because they block credible information about health and history and their mere use prejudges people coming into the library. 'What you end up doing is putting people in a situation where they have to come to a librarian and say, "I was doing a search that was blocked." It raises suspicions on you,' Lansdale said." "Libraries Debate Web Filters; Patrons' Privacy Rights Weighed After Many View Porn," by Jennifer Chambers, The Detroit News, 9 April 2008. [NOTE 8]

False. It is your business when illegal activity is taking place. Further, filters may be disabled or sites unblocked for bona fide reasons, not for the viewing of material that is illegal or that falls outside the bounds of the library's enabling statute or charter, etc., or its own policy, as we shall soon see. Adult pornography or similar constitutionally protected material may be implicitly or explicitly proscribed by the legal document that created the library in the first place. The library director has no right to exceed that authority. None. The government must step in if she does. Further, good filters no longer block health information. And "prejudging" people or "raising suspicions"? That too was asked and answered in US v. ALA in the context of embarrassment. Both US v. ALA and ACLU v. Gonzales prove the director is wrong here again.


Stepping beyond these public efforts to use the media to mislead the public into opposing library filtering, look now at the "Library Position" on the library's own web site [NOTE 9]:

"Filtering computers restricted to use by adults competes with the interest of right of access to constitutionally protected material. Filtering for adults raises questions as well as ire and occasionally lawsuits when filters are imposed on adult populations in public libraries."

False. I have already revealed how the courts have addressed that. And there will be no "ire" when the porn viewers move on to another community's unfiltered library. But see that scare line about lawsuits? Not a single lawsuit has been brought based on the Children's Internet Protection Act [CIPA] or the 2003 case of US v. ALA. There may be one or two filtering cases, but they are not the same issues as are being raised in Royal Oak. How that measures as "occasional lawsuits" is beyond me. Consider also that instead of lawsuits, numerous states have passed or have drafted legislation to bring the positive effects of CIPA to a statewide level. [NOTE 10]

"Students cannot complete homework assignments when sites are incorrectly blocked and adults cannot complete searches for health information or recipes. Internet filters often block material that should be allowed; objectionable E-mail attachments cannot be reliably blocked."

False, again based on the court cases I cited, among other things. By the way, those must be some recipes!


Even more galling is how the library director contradicts the library's own policies in her efforts to mislead or propagandize the public. Quoting from "Royal Oak Public Library Policies; Services Section 5.40 - Internet Access Policy" [NOTE 11]:

"In keeping with its stated mission to be an informational, intellectual and cultural resource, the Royal Oak Public Library offers access to a variety of information sources...." Pornography and the like is implicitly NOT part of the library's "stated mission." The director is exceeding her authority by either preventing the use of legal and effective Internet filters to meet that stated mission, or by misleading the public and governmental leaders into doing the exact same thing.

"Users of the Internet are expected to use this library resource in a responsible and courteous manner, consistent with the purposes for which it is provided.... Responsible, courteous use of the Internet includes .... using the library's Internet resources for educational, information, communication, and recreational purposes...." Bingo. Case closed. Pornography does not fit into the library's own written policy.

Now compare that library policy to what the library director said: "It's none of our business what people are doing on our computers." How does she expect to enforce the policy then? If it is not enforced, why even have the policy? Why not just be honest and change the policy to say there is no policy, anything goes?

The policy also says, "recognizing that both library-owed computers and patron-owned computers ... will be located in very visible locations and can be viewed by users of all ages, backgrounds and sensibilities, users should choose Internet-access activities accordingly." What could that possibly mean if not pornography and the like? Is this a useless statement to be tossed away by an aggressive library director who uses the media and the library's own web site to make people forget the library's own written policy?

"Library staff cannot consistently and effectively monitor the public's use of the Internet." No surprise, really, but although it is not being done consistently, at least it is done occasionally, right? So why should people believe the director when she says, "It's none of our business what people are doing on our computers."


Royal Oak Public Library's own written library Internet use policy makes it clear that pornography and the like is not to be allowed. Yet library director Metta Lansdale says, "It's none of our business what people are doing on our computers." She says other such statements in numerous media reports. In addition, her statements in the media and the library's own web site in opposition to library filters are entirely contradictory to US v. ALA and ACLU v. Gonzales. A careful reading of those cases will make that clear to anyone with an open mind. The library director is following a whole different set of rules other than those written by the Royal Oak community.

"Let's get people in a room, tell them what we are doing and why, tell them advantages and disadvantages of filters, and let them discuss it and give their opinion," Lansdale said. Does anyone think the library director misleading the public further can be trusted for honest information in compliance with the library's own policy? Can there be any result other than what the library director wants, instead of what the law and the library's own policy require?


[NOTE 1]
[NOTE 2]
[NOTE 3]
[NOTE 4]
[NOTE 5]
[NOTE 6]
[NOTE 7]
[NOTE 8]
[NOTE 9]
[NOTE 10]
[NOTE 11]

Friday, April 11, 2008

Media-Wake Up to Library Crime Source

The media need to wake up to the potential source of some library crimes. The following actual email relates to just such an incident and the positive effects that can result:

Dear Lynda Waddington of the Iowa Independent,

Regarding your article "New Trial in Library Abduction Case Sparked by Disregarded Request for Lawyer During Questioning" ( ), I make the following comments:

The last sentence says, "Once it was revealed that Effler had previously used computers at the library to view p()rnography over the Internet, the case sparked a firestorm of calls for Internet filtering of content at public libraries."

I believe it was Abby Simons of the Des Moines Register who revealed this. See "Library Sex Offender Incident Fuels Internet Filter Push; Offender Admitted Viewing P()rn on Library PCs," by Abby Simons, The Des Moines Register, 21 November 2005.

Look carefully in that article and I am named (and my older organization as well). Do you know why I am named? Because I called Abby Simons when she wrote her first article about the crime and left out the computer angle. I told her it looked like p()rn viewing may have been involved like in other communities such as Philadelphia, so she might want to investigate that.

She did, and a month later out came her story making the connection. She called and thanked me. That news story of hers ultimately led to the Iowa state legislature attempting to pass SF 2108, 2006. Naturally, that was shot down, likely based on the usual false and misleading information made up by the American Library Association [ALA] and its local acolytes. (I am not kidding -- I can show you the false and misleading information in state after state where the ALA continues to force its way -- let me know if you need me to supply the supporting information. Iowa is just another in a series of well-orchestrated propaganda successes for the ALA. Alaska is currently undergoing the usual disinformation campaign.)

I am not saying this for any kind of self interest. Rather I am saying this to tell you how I am involved in this story so that you will take me seriously when I offer to provide commentary on the issues involved.

Therefore, please consider me as a resource for anything related to my role in this matter, any legislative attempts to pass statewide library filtering law, or any statements the ALA or the IowaLA or any other librarian or related association might say as they continue to mislead the public. I will provide you with accurate information based on verifiable, third-party sources that you can use without the need for attribution to me. The point is the truth, not my getting into another Des Moines story. The point is the children.

Thank you. Please (all media members and legislators reading this) call me with any questions for any reason at any time. Abby Simons (and thereby Iowa generally) benefitted from such a talk, maybe others will too. At least be aware of my availability should your state legislature attempt to pass such legislation again. I support the right of the people to make an informed choice for themselves, not a misinformed choice after being misled by a formerly trustworthy source.

Monday, April 7, 2008

ACLU Propaganda and Library Filters - Case Study in How Governments Are Misled

The ACLU propagandizes local governments on library Internet computer filters. The latest victims are San Jose, CA and Sacramento, CA. Below is my response to this blog entry from the ACLU of Sacramento County: Library Censorship - Same Old Issue, New Medium:

Looking to Understand Why ACLU v. Gonzales is Not Mentioned

Having read the entire blog that was linked, I'd like to ask a question.

Why was ACLU v. Gonzales not mentioned? Not in the blog, and not in the letter(s?) sent to local governments. Another ACLU case is mentioned, the one in Washington, but not ACLU v. Gonzales, so you are aware of other related ACLU cases and you include them in your letters.

ACLU v. Gonzales, E.D. Pa., March 2007 [ACLU expert and court agrees Internet filters are about 95% effective and no longer block out breast cancer and other health-related information—so effective that another law, COPA [Children's Online Protection Act], was found unconstitutional].

ACLU v. Gonzales is totally 180 degrees opposed to your claims here in this blog and in the letters you send to governments. An ACLU expert testified filters work really well and no longer block out material that used to be wrongly blocked. Yet here in this blog and in letters to local governments absolutely no mention is made of ACLU v. Gonzales or any of its underlying facts or its legal conclusions.

I find this to be a serious omission bordering on flat out propagandization. For example, you say, "Some local legislators are citing minuscule problems with library users accessing sexually explicit internet sites as an excuse to impose internet filtering and restrictive use policies that will keep essential health, LGBT information, and political information out of reach for many." Not according to your own ACLU expert in ACLU v. Gonzales, but you make no mention of that. Instead you say the opposite.

But I could be mistaken. Perhaps you have a good reason for completely failing to disclose what the ACLU expert argued and the Court found in ACLU v. Gonzales, something that seems to me to reveal an intentional misleading of local governments, particularly where you include other ACLU cases. Therefore, please answer why was ACLU v. Gonzales not mentioned?

"If the issue of library internet access comes to your neighborhood, please help maintain open access. Contact us for more information about how to fight library censorship." Information or misinformation?

And why do you even call it "censorship" when a case the ACLU itself lost in the US Supreme Court, US v. American Library Association, found Internet filters do not constitute censorship?

I wish you would raise legitimate factual or legal concerns instead of making arguments based on making believe ACLU v. Gonzales and US v. ALA do not exist. And I just disclosed the tip of the iceberg. How do you expect to be considered authoritative when you appear to be outright propagandizing?

Please answer substantively. Ad hominem argument is not acceptable and will only show you have no real answer.

Thank you.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

ALA Conceals Policy Outrage by Ignoring Fired Librarian

The American Library Association has again ignored the plight of a librarian who acted in the best interests of the community. In doing so it has covered up that its policies are often reflected in local library policies, and those local policies sometimes defy local law, community standards, and common sense.

Scott Savage got ignored by the ALA after he was accused of discrimination for recommending a balance of political viewpoints in a college freshmen reading list. Brenda Biesterfeld is getting ignored by the ALA after she violated ALA-style local library policy by reporting criminal activity to the police.

The Scott Savage story from Ohio State University is best told by the victim himself. Please read "Persecuted Librarian Censored Again," by Scott Savage, 9 May 2006. Mr. Savage has filed suit to right this wrong, no help from the ALA, of course. See "The Columbus Dispatch : Librarian Sues OSU to Get His Job Back." As one author put it, "Predictably, as the Virginia Tech librarian told WND, 'the American Library Association has had an incredible silence about Scott Savage. Here's a librarian under attack for recommending a book!'" See 'Marketing of Evil' Locked Out of College Libraries; Bestselling Book Stocked Only in Fraction of Facilities Carrying Liberal-Left Titles, by WorldNetDaily, 26 Apr 2006.

Along comes Brenda Biesterfeld working in the Lindsay Library, part of the Tulare County Library System in California. She catches someone in a criminal act and is ordered by her supervisor not to report it to the police. She follows the supervisors advice, but when the criminal shows up again on another day, she calls the police against those same direct orders. For this she is fired.

The library's policy ignores local law and common sense. But it does mirror the guidance it receives from the ALA. "As for obscenity and child pornography, prosecutors and police have adequate tools to enforce criminal laws. Libraries are not a component of law enforcement efforts...." [ ALA source. ] So not only has the fired librarian defied her supervisor, she has also defied the ALA. Result? She's fired, and the ALA is silent.

Here's the story. On February 28, 2008, Ms. Biesterfeld first observed the criminal activity and was ordered not to call the police. On March 4, she called the police who then arrested the criminal who had returned to the library for more. There's a reason why we have laws, and had they been followed the first time the criminal activity might not have been recurred. Be that as it may, on March 6, she was fired.

The City of Lindsay is furious with the County of Tulare, accusing its employees of lying, "Both Mr. Lewis and Ms. Hill [, the fired librarian's supervisors,] have reinforced a culture of control and misrepresentation of events and facts." Undeterred, the County covers its tracks by refusing to reveal specific justifications for the firing and by back filling the librarian's record with new, negative information. Before the firing, the librarian, on probationary status as a new employee, had good work reviews. After the firing, suddenly the record changes and her previous good work can be summarized by this coverup: "Overall her performance is way below passing and she just doesn't utilize her time well." Source: library letter dated day after librarian was fired.

Where is the ALA in all this? In almost a month the ALA has published only one story on the issue. The ALA Council, quick to attack the Bush administration and support various radical causes, has said not a word. The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, quick to browbeat local communities nationwide or wishing it could "drown" jailed Cuban librarians, has said nothing to question why a library employee for almost ten years (in different locations) is fired, why is she told her loyalty belongs to the County instead of the community, why is her record back filled with derogatory information, etc. The ALA is right there in Sacramento supporting the ACLU in its effort to make p*rnography legal in public libraries by saying, "One person's 'p*rnography' is another person's 'Venus de Milo' or Michelangelo's 'David,'" but here, in Tulare County, silence.


Even the former ALA Councilor Jessamyn West has sadly noted this silence: "I really wish ALA had come out and made some sort of a statement on this, but I'm not sure what it would have said." [ source. ] I have commended Ms. West in the past for exposing the ALA's silence about the truth about so-called "Banned Books Week."

Exactly what is it that the ALA wants people to ignore by maintaining radio silence so loud even its own former councilors recognize it. Might it be its own policies as exemplified in Tulare County are totally in opposition to local community law and interests and should not be adopted into local libraries? Might it be waiting for this story to disappear from the news so other communities do not become aware, thus do not remove similar ALA policies from their own public libraries?

They are public libraries, after all, not ALA libraries. The ALA's silence speaks loudly that the ALA is hoping other communities will not examine their own library policies too closely. The ALA likes the status quo where most libraries revere ALA policies over local law, common sense, and community standards.

Is this what you want in your own communities? Will the ALA's silence help bury the issue so you'll take no action to remove similar policies from your own public libraries?

Comment below and tell everyone what you think.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

One Man Changed Library Policy And Explains How

One man changed his local library's policy at the Nampa Public Library in Nampa, Idaho, USA. SafeLibraries has asked this man to explain how he did it. While the change itself (regarding books) is not related to SafeLibraries' main interest (educating the public about Internet filters vis-a-vis the ALA), the method of effecting change is potentially very educational and should be interesting/useful to read. Here is his response:

On March 10, 2008, a huge victory was won for families in Nampa and throughout the state. The Nampa Library Board, in a 3-2 decision, decided to pull from the shelves two books that could be considered nothing less than hardcore pornography. The books, entitled "The New Joy of Sex" and "The Joy of Gay Sex," contained illustrations, pictures, and photographs that were so graphic even the 10:00 news could not show them in their newscast. So the question became: why then were they on the public library shelves, in a place that is supposed to be family friendly?
I first became aware of the books in December of 2005 when a friend of mine informed me of how her 14 year old son had found a copy of "The Joy of Gay Sex" sitting on a table at the Nampa Public Library. She then told me what she saw in the books--graphic, detailed illustrations of various homosexual sex acts. I thought at first that surely this was not as bad as she had made it seem--after all, kids run around the library, so surely they would not have anything of this sort sitting on the shelves, right? I decided to investigate further, and what I found was absolutely horrifying. As a parent, I was shocked to see these two books sitting on a shelf right next to books on racism and World War II!
Thus began the long, almost 2 year battle with The Nampa Public Library. The first time I went to the Library Board, I was informed that some people in our community need these reference books to "see how things go together." Surprisingly, in a 5-0 vote, they decided to keep the books on the shelf. So I took the next step--I went to the Mayor and City Council. I brought my concerns to their attention, gave them information (including photocopies of the pictures) of what was in the book, and put the ball in their court. They responded well, by requesting the Library hold a special Board meeting to discuss the issue.
This meeting was well attended by the public, as the basement of the Library was packed with people there to see what would happen. The Mayor’s office had been bombarded with phone calls and e-mails from people demanding the books be removed, thanks to the help of Generation Life and the Idaho Values Alliance helping to get the word out! The Mayor spoke, as well as a representative from City Council, both lending support and requesting the Library pull the books. However, we would be denied again, as the Library voted 4-1 to keep the books but move them to a higher shelf.
Some thought this was a good compromise, and have asked me why I did not agree. It is quite simple, really--because our concern was not just with the 4 and 5 year olds that might see these book--the teenagers as well. Studies have shown that exposure to pornography in the childhood and teenage years can be damaging to kids, effecting how they view sex, and how they view relationships in general, by giving them an unrealistic idea of what to expect. On top of that, pornography is very addicting, with some experts saying it is more addictive than heroine! Marriages and families have been torn apart because of pornography addiction. While it may be true that it seems like everywhere you look you find porn images, that does not excuse the Library from having it on its shelves--in reach of kids.
It is important to note that the whole basis of our complaint was not because of written content, but only because of the graphic, detailed illustrations, pictures, and photographs that littered the pages of these books. The word that is written takes a little bit of time to absorb--you do have to read it. However, in the case of these images--it only takes one brief look and it is branded in your mind.
After going to the Library Board twice, I was unsure how to proceed next. So I waited and prayed. After some time, I became aware that 2 new board members had been added to the Library Board. After some prayer, and being approached again by people in our community, I felt that it was time to try again. So on March 10, once again, there was a showdown about these books. There was much heated debate, as this time the meeting was open to public comment. People came out on both sides of the issue, and spoke passionately about their feelings. The main point of those in favor of keeping the books: censorship. After about 2 hours of public comment, the Library Board voted. This time, it was in our favor. A 3-2 vote took the books off the shelf--permanently--and into the director’s office. They are still available to be checked out, but they must be requested from the director. In the meantime, the Board will be examining the purchasing policies of the Library, and perhaps in the near future they will be completely removed from the Library.
It is important to note that this was not censorship--the government is not banning the book from the public. They are still available to anyone at private bookstores and online. The Library Board simply did what the Library does on a regular basis--select books for removal from the shelves. By doing so, they have taken steps to making the library a safe place for families again. And why shouldn’t it be? The Library, after all, is not an adult bookstore--it is publicly owned for people in our community of all ages to enjoy, without parents needing to worry what pornography their kids--or teenagers--might see.
The moral of the story is this: we as Americans, and as Christians, should stand up for what is morally right and best for the society as a whole. We can have victory, even when it looks like we are facing a giant! Remember, Paul encourages us to "take on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Paul never encourages us to sit or look the other way--so let’s stand for what is right!

Randy Jackson is the director of Youth For Revolution, a Christian Faith in action ministry. You can contact him by e-mailing, visiting our website at, or by phone: (208) 514-5962.

Response to Fresno Bee Re Fired Librarian

Below is my response to "Internet Poses New Challenge to Libraries; Tulare Co.'s Flap Over Child Porn Raises Concern," by Tim Sheehan, The Fresno Bee, 31 March 2008:

Dear Tim Sheehan,


Deborah Caldwell-Stone is quoted as saying, "it's up to the local library to decide what's in the best interest in its community." She is correct. And she adds, assuringly, "The ALA clearly does not condone child pornography." But what does not appear in the article is the heavy handed approach by the ALA in directing local libraries what to think is in their best interests, essentially leaving many libraries as satellites of the ALA--and open to child pornography.

Here is the advice the ALA provides to local libraries in one of its sample policies: "As for obscenity and child pornography, prosecutors and police have adequate tools to enforce criminal laws. Libraries are not a component of law enforcement efforts...." So in public the ALA opposes child pornography and says local libraries should decide what is best for their own communities, but in reality the ALA is directing local libraries to ignore child pornography. Ignoring child pornography seems to be what happened in the Lindsay Library. Coincidence?

As further confirmation of how the ALA leads local libraries to follow ALA policies instead of community standards, notice how both the library and the ALA argue that no one can really judge what is child pornography. Caldwell-Stone puts it best, "One person's 'pornography' is another person's 'Venus de Milo' or Michelangelo's 'David.'"

"What one person might object to is constitutionally protected material," says Caldwell-Stone. Correct, but that is intentionally misleading. According the US v. ALA, public libraries are not open public fora where anything goes. All constitutionally protected material does not get automatically included in all library collections. Indeed libraries are created by some legal instrument that describes explicitly or implicitly what material is acceptable in the public library and what material is not acceptable, even if that material may be constitutionally protected. For example, US v. ALA explained Internet filters may be used to extend existing book collection policies and practices over the Internet, and those existing policies exclude certain constitutionally protected material. So, thanks to local library enabling legislation, otherwise constitutionally protected material may represent a violation of local law. The ALA should not be advising local libraries to violate the very local laws that created them.

Most shocking is that the ALA and Caldwell-Stone lost on these issues in US v. ALA, yet they are continuing to argue these same issues already asked and answered by the US Supreme Court five years ago. Notice the use of ad hominem argument to further obfuscate the issue, "Libraries are truly a democratic institution and should represent everyone, not just a loud majority," said Deborah Caldwell-Stone. What if the "loud majority" is legally correct?

Shame on the ALA, but more shame goes to local communities if they continue to be misled by the ALA or allow the media to report ALA misinformation without question. It does appear, however, that Lindsay leadership is not fooled by the ALA, and Tim Sheehan's article was even handed. Slowly, communities are waking up to the negative influences of the ALA's grip over local library policy. That is good news for children and communities nationwide.