Saturday, May 31, 2008

Demonstration Proves Library Filters Work; San Jose Councilman Pete Constant Counters Library Director's False Claims

San Jose (CA) Councilman Pete Constant, aware that San Jose Public Library Director Jane Light is propagandizing to try to prevent using legal Internet filtering software when she says filters do not work, decided to demonstrate publicly that library filters work and do not block health-related web sites. This is exactly as the ACLU expert testified in ACLU v. Gonzales. (Here are more stories on this San Jose matter.)

Sure enough, the demonstration of Websense Internet filtering software worked perfectly. credits Councilman Pete Constant for refusing to be taken in by propaganda and for acting to demonstrate exactly how false are the claims of filtering opponents. Further, credits the media similarly, for seeing through the propaganda, as can be seen clearly in this story, such as when Library Director Jane Light says "so ... avert your eyes" when the vaunted "privacy screens" are proven to be a total failure: "Porn, Sex Crimes At Libraries; I-Team Investigation," KGO, 29 Nov 2006. Let this serve as an example to other governmental leaders and the media not to take what library directors say against filtering at face value.

Here is the news report on the filter demonstration:

"SJ: City Councilman Demonstration Proposed internet Filtering Software for Libraries," AP, 31 May 2008.



San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant gave a presentation today about a brand of Internet filtering software that he believes will effectively filter pornography and other obscene materials at computers in the city's libraries without blocking legitimate uses.

More than a dozen people showed up at a San Jose City Hall conference room to watch Constant use a laptop computer with the Websense filtering software installed successfully to access a number of health and research-related Web sites that he claims filtering opponents have said the software would block. He used the Web site for Planned Parenthood as an example.

"There's a section of the Web site that's about sex education and it's accessible,'' Constant said.

The Websense software is currently being used successfully by the Phoenix, Ariz., public library system and it is also used by the city of San Jose to block pornographic and other obscene Web sites on the computers used by city employees, according to Constant.

San Jose Public Library Director Jane Light has told the City Council that installing filtering software would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars that the library system cannot afford given the city's tight budget situation.

Constant told the audience this afternoon that the City Council is scheduled to discuss the issue on June 17.

(© 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. In the interest of timeliness, this story is fed directly from the Associated Press newswire and may contain occasional typographical errors. )

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Soros, the ALA, and Terrorists

George Soros has given $350,000 to the American Library Association [ALA] to further "privacy rights." See the ALA's press release entitled, "Open Society Institute Gives American Library Association $350,000 Seed Grant for 21st Century Privacy Rights Institute," 21 May 2008.

I'm no George Soros expert, so can anyone please tell me if this represents a problem?

According to the editorial, "The Soros Threat to Democracy," Investor's Business Daily, 24 Sep 2007, George Soros wields great influence in a nontransparent way to harm American democracy in major ways, such as by assisting terrorists and illegals. For example, the article says the Open Society Institute "gave more cash to other left-wing lawyers who persuaded a Texas judge to block cell phone tracking of terrorists. They trumpeted this as a victory for civil liberties. Feel safer?" "[T]he public makes decisions about issues without understanding the special agendas of groups behind them. Without more transparency, it amounts to political manipulation." Please read the entire article--I am assuming the editorial board of IBD is a reliable source.

And now Soros is funding the ALA in the area of civil liberties.

Judith Krug, the de facto leader of the ALA, referred in the press release to "our nation's librarians" being "the front line of America's privacy wars." Is she implying that local community members are the enemy? She wants librarians to "lead Americans in a conversation about the importance of privacy to sustaining a democracy in the 21st century [sic]." This is the same women who decried a librarian's reporting to the police the presence of a 9/11 terrorist--I suppose it violated the terrorist's privacy and the ALA's efforts to "usher in legislative protections." For whom, the terrorists? See also "Librarians for Terror," by Lee Kaplan, FrontPage Magazine, 17 Aug 2004.

Given all of the above, and given both George Soros and Judith Krug appear to believe terrorists are entitled to privacy, though I am not making that statement, is the $350K infusion from Soros to the ALA for "privacy" any cause for concern?  Please explain.

It is okay to ask these questions in the interests of intellectual freedom, right?


Midwinter Meeting San Diego, CA
Tuesday January 11, 2011

Choose Privacy Week

OIF is very pleased to announce that it has been awarded a two-year grant in the amount of $105,650 from the Open Society Institute (the Soros Foundation) for privacy programming.  OIF had previously received a 3-year, $350,000 grant from OSI that enabled the development of the first-ever Choose Privacy Week.  With the new grant, OIF will be shifting its focus to topics of government surveillance; privacy and young people; and privacy in the cultural context of immigrant and refugee communities’ use of libraries.  The grant will help OIF gain even greater traction with Choose Privacy Week and develop this annual event into an institution, similar to Banned Books Week.  The Open Society Institute has a strong interest in libraries’ role of informing their communities about privacy, and they have been very pleased with OIF’s work thus far.  Visit to learn more about Choose Privacy Week and the resources OIF has developed to help libraries engage their users in a conversation on privacy.


The ALA's OIF and its George Soros-funded efforts to teach children nationwide Soros's "open society" political views via the ALA has now been given an award from "Consumer Action"—for "protecting consumers [and] immigrant communities" in a manner having nothing to do with librarianship, the mission of the ALA:

  • "Consumer Action INSIDER - June 2012," by Consumer Action, Consumer Action, 31 May 2012:
    Consumer Action has chosen three honorees for its annual fundraising benefit and awards ceremony on Oct. 2 at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. ....

    At the event, Consumer Action will honor three distinguished awardees making major contributions to protect consumers. ....

    The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (ALA OIC) will receive our 2012 Consumer Excellence Award in the Community Organization category.  We honor the ALA OIF because of its outstanding efforts to educate consumers on their privacy rights via participation in privacy coalitions, Choose Privacy Week at local libraries and development of the Privacy Revolution ( website.  For 2012 Choose Privacy Week the office made an excellent short video called "Vanishing Liberties," which focuses on the loss of privacy and civil liberties for immigrant communities.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hartford Librarians Should Sue to Rid ALA Influence

Librarians in the Hartford Public Library, Hartford, CT, are subjected to daily harassment and a hostile work environment. An 11 year old girl is raped by three guys. Public drunkenness is condoned by library management. Patrons behave criminally and library managements shrugs shoulders. The situation is so bad librarians and even the librarian's union have been forced to go public to get attention. And there is so much more.

The facts as reported in "Hartford Public Library: A Study in Bad Behavior," by Tina A. Brown and Steven Goode, The Hartford Courant, May 18, 2008, are so egregious, you have to read this for yourselves to believe it.

A similar situation occurred in the Minneapolis Public Library and that resulted in the EEOC finding the library guilty of sexual harassment, and the settlement of the resulting civil claim amounted to $435,000. See Adamson v. Minneapolis Public Library.

I urge the Hartford librarians and AFSCME Local 1716 to sue the library management and Hartford itself to, at a minimum, force the removal of the American Library Association [ALA] policies as reshaped and reapplied by local ALA acolytes. Use Adamson as your model. The ALA promotes the "anything goes" policies your library management is apparently following; identify them and stamp them out. I will help if you ask. Sue Hartford itself as well for not stopping the library from exceeding its legal authority, which it appears to me from this article that it may have. Send the message that this is a public library, not the ALA's personal policy playground. Protect the citizens and the library employees from harm. It's easy to do if you can get the media and the public to filter out the usual ALA propaganda--that's the hard part.

Here is the full text of this unbelievable story, because you should not miss a single word and would not believe this otherwise:

Hartford Public Library: A Study In Bad Behavior


Courant Staff Writers

May 18, 2008

Click here to find out more!

A $42 million makeover has transformed Hartford Public Library into a gleaming expanse of glass and well-lit, open space that warmly welcomes visitors.

Measured by a dramatic increase in library visits, the invitation has been widely accepted. The changes inside the library's three floors went beyond adding space, reconfiguring the layout and increasing the number of books, DVDs and computers. It's become a busier place, noisier and more vibrant, something in which chief Librarian Louise Blalock — named National Librarian of the Year in 2001 — takes pride.

But it's also a place where the behavioral norms traditionally associated with libraries are often breached, according to interviews with staff members and internal library reports obtained by The Courant.

The reports document drinking and drug use, with staff members reporting that empty liquor bottles and drug paraphernalia are often left in the restrooms. Sexual activity has been reported on several occasions. The problems reached the point where the restrooms on the library's second and third floors have been locked, according to library staff.

Acts of violence inside the library, while infrequent, do occur: In January, a patron complained of being robbed at gunpoint inside a first-floor restroom; internal reports say a subsequent investigation by security staff was unable to determine what happened.

The library also has a theft problem. Without a security system in place, CDs and DVDs disappear with regularity.

Blalock says such incidents happen from time to time and she is reluctant to institute a more restrictive environment because the library is — and needs to be — a place that welcomes all, a view shared by several past and present members of the library board.

Stephen B. Goddard, a longtime board member and past board president, said the incident reports are "nothing new" and are minute compared to the half-million-plus visitors who use the library each year.

"In 24 years, from time to time there have been a handful of incidents," Goddard said. "I have chalked that up to what any public institution in a hyperactive environment is going to face in cities today."

"To Louise, things like the rights of patrons are paramount," Goddard said, adding that the board feels fortunate to have had Blalock at the helm for the past 14 years.

Blalock, who spearheaded the library's transformation, said she decided not to set rules of behavior or install security cameras or theft detection devices and instead emphasizes a free and open environment. She said she has directed her staff not to call the police if they can safely escort a patron out of the building.

As a draft statement of principle for the library puts it: "All customers have a right to use the library according to their life and learning style as long as it does not interfere with the right of others to use the library."

But some employees say Blalock has taken that philosophy too far and has failed to deal with the realities of running a library in an urban setting — something library officials in cities across the country are confronting as they grapple with homelessness, drug use, gang activity and other ills.

In the name of openness, they complain, patrons are forced to endure the misbehavior of others. The result, they say, is a chaotic workplace. Some staffers say conditions have gotten so bad they decided to go public with their complaints that the administration has failed to provide adequate security.

The inadequate level of security "has pushed us to a point that people feel that they have to go public with it," said David Ionno, vice president of AFSCME Local 1716, the union that represents library workers. "There's going to be an incident where a librarian is going to get hurt."

Drinking, Sex

The breaking point, for some, came with back-to-back incidents earlier this year. The first was an altercation outside the library that continued inside, then back outside to Arch Street, where a young man was stabbed. That was followed the next day by an incident in which an 11-year-old girl was picked up by three young men inside the library, taken to a city motel and raped.

Those incidents may have gone beyond the norm, but those who work at the library say it is the norm that is troubling. Staff incident reports reviewed by The Courant document 60 incidents — most occurring since January 2007 — of alleged acts of criminal or disturbing conduct. Library officials such as Blalock and Goddard say the number of incidents pales beside the visitation at the main branch, which is expected to reach 415,000 this fiscal year, ending June 30.

Drinking and drug use are particularly worrisome to library staff members, who say they are often forced to deal with intoxicated and belligerent patrons — a job for which they say they're not trained or qualified. Internal reports filed by staff members this year include several episodes, including one in which a patron was caught drinking in the bathroom and harassing a visitor.

For more than a year, library maintenance worker Leo Laffitte collected empty liquor bottles from the restrooms and took them to the third floor so managers could see that patrons were drinking alcoholic beverages inside the building. His efforts were met, he said, with shrugged shoulders and no attempts to stop it.

Finally, in April, Laffitte said he pulled empty 40-ounce beer bottles and liquor bottles from a trash bag and put them on public display while visitors were attending a manager's retirement party. He said he thought that if the administrators were embarrassed by the display, they might start addressing the issue. He never got a response.

At least eight acts of lewd or sexual behavior in the library have been documented by library staff since February 2007; only once, according to records released by the library, was an individual banned from the building for a substantial length of time.

Staffers said they've interrupted individuals masturbating and couples engaging in sexual acts in "the old fiction" section, in the media room and in the restrooms.

One worker overheard a young couple on the third floor last October talking about how they "needed to get a room," according to a report. Rather than go to a motel, the couple went into a third-floor bathroom. When they were caught there, they moved to a second-floor bathroom where they were found inside a women's stall, an incident report said.

Staff members also are concerned about who is using the Internet at the library. Ionno said that on occasion, staffers have reported seeing patrons viewing inappropriate material. The staffers have then checked the state's sex offender registry and found the person's photograph posted, he said.

After one incident in May 2007, the staff called police after seeing a man viewing child pornography on a library computer. The man told the officers "he just got of jail on Monday and was aware of the crime of watching child porn," according to the library report. The report does not indicate whether the man was arrested.

Later that month, a patron was caught viewing pornography in a public area when children were present. The security staff booted the man out of the library for three weeks, the incident report said. In October 2006, in an incident that generated widespread attention, Scott Murtagh, a homeless, convicted sex offender, was caught in the midst of a lewd act while viewing child pornography at the library.

Security Measures

What it all adds up to, library staffers say, is an atmosphere that is more chaotic than it needs to be were more stringent rules and security measures in place.

The library has one full-time security supervisor who is based at the main library and oversees a staff of 18 part-time security guards who are spread out among the main library and its nine branches. Library managers say there should be four guards on duty at the main branch during a regular shift; the security supervisor was instructed in late February to notify management when there are fewer guards available.

The library also has invested in Vocera, a voice-activated mobile communications system that staff members use by speaking into microphones they wear around their necks. "If they need backup, they can ask staff to assist them," Blalock said

Library staffers say they are concerned about dealing with situations they're not equipped to handle. One of the episodes that brought the issue to a head took place on Feb. 9, when a group of youths tried to attack a younger male inside the library. A staff member's incident report stated that three youths, aged 14 or 15, ran through the library yelling and swearing after the attempted assault.

"They continued to swear as I escorted them out the door," a female employee reported. "They were ranting against the 'witch' [me] as my husband was walking in. ... While I was dealing with this, there was another customer, a woman who was loudly complaining to our security guard that she witnessed two men viewing pornography on the machines next to her. She herself was causing a disturbance," the incident report said.

The employee, who has 15 years of experience, pleaded for help in figuring out how to handle such volatile incidents. "I feel that I am placing myself in an insecure and hostile environment. The training that would be best is if I could shadow a female manager. That way I would learn how to best handle aggressive, threatening behavior from people who are twice my size and thirty-plus years younger and stronger," the employee wrote in the incident report.

Another security deficiency, staffers say, is a lack of scanners that would alert staff when someone tries to leave with unchecked books, videos or music. Such devices are staples at most public libraries, but not at the Hartford main branch.

"In the old building if you went through the towers and if something hadn't been scanned, it would beep," Ionno said, adding that the smaller branches in Hartford continue to use them.

A $75,000 scanner system was ordered as part of the main library's renovation. When it arrived, Blalock had it installed, but then had it removed and sent back, partly because the system didn't fit with the library's new style and partly because it was ineffective, she said.

"There is nothing that is fail-safe," Blalock said. "At some point, we'll have something that works. ... We are investigating having cameras. There is no one thing that we can guarantee. ... The larger issue is things are taken out and not returned."

In West Hartford, where the main branch of the library recently reopened after a $9 million makeover, the usefulness and aesthetics of the monitoring system were not in dispute. There, to augment two existing sets of gates at exits, a third set, costing about $7,000, was installed.

"It goes off often enough that people know it works," said Glenn Grube, the library's director of technical services. "It deters the impulse."

In Hartford, the theft of media materials amounts to about 5 percent of the collection annually, Blalock said, but the library loses far more material from patrons who fail to return checked-out items.

"There is some theft," Blalock said. "We're trying to control it to the best of our ability. In the current climate it's the cost of doing business."

Blalock's Library

On the first floor of the New Haven Free Public Library, signs that say "Quiet" and "No Cellular Phones" are posted on almost every table.

In the Silas Bronson Library in downtown Waterbury, signs warn patrons of video surveillance cameras. Patrons are offered the choice of reading books and magazines or using the Internet, but one thing is clear from the signs taped to every workstation: eating, drinking and talking on the telephone are prohibited.

Such postings are what Blalock calls an old-fashioned strategy to create an artificial, controlled environment.

"The library isn't quiet anymore," Blalock said, pointing proudly to her library's participation in The Big Read, a reading promotion program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Librarians read aloud to homeless men and women twice a week on the main floor, and participants are offered candy bars and juice to attract them.

Asked what happens when her customers misbehave or violate library rules, Blalock said she advises her staff to walk a customer — they don't call them patrons — outside.

"Do we always call the police? No," Blalock said.

Blalock said, though, that she calls the police when she needs to. "We believe on one occasion we had people in here which belonged to gangs and were using MySpace to encourage other young people to join," she said. Blalock called the police.

She also said that security has been instructed to monitor the restrooms and that the second-floor bathroom was locked because of a ventilation problem. Unless patrons are caught in the act of using alcohol or drugs, there is nothing that the staff can do, she said.

"It's hearsay," she said.

"Ninety-nine point nine percent of customers who use the public library make appropriate use of library services and collections," she said in e-mail. "The Library is open to all and everyone is treated with respect and courtesy. Library customers have the freedom to use the library, but they do not have the freedom to interfere with others rights or to behave in an unacceptable manner. That is our policy and my philosophy.

"As staff we care for one another and take responsibility. When there is inappropriate customer behavior, staff must intervene.

"I know there are some employees who are fearful; the library has always had some who do not feel safe in an urban environment.

"But most of us thrive and want the challenge because we believe the work is important and we can make a difference.

"The Library is a great success story for the city of Hartford and it is recognized in the state and nationally for a comprehensive and inclusive program of service."

Tensions Elsewhere

The tension underlying the debate between Blalock and the staff — between openness vs. security — is something urban libraries across the nation are facing. The American Library Association held workshops during its annual meeting this spring in Minneapolis to discuss issues associated with crime and the homeless.

"The library is a wonderful place, and we think of it as a gateway to ideas. But when you walk in the door, human nature isn't suddenly changed," said Chip Ward, a former library deputy director in Salt Lake City, whose essay on what is happening in urban libraries, "What They Didn't Teach Us in Library School," is being made into a movie.

"When you face new situations, you have to do more problem-solving," he said. "I had a drug problem and I brought in an undercover cop. ... The best thing to do is to have good communications about what staff is experiencing and how the administration is handling it."

The library hired a security force and developed programs geared toward providing services to the homeless and teenagers who threatened the safety of patrons, Ward said. Librarians elsewhere have confronted similar problems and have used police and professional security.

"We have police officers in the branches all the time," said Maggie Killackey, spokeswoman for the Chicago Public Library.

Aside from issues of library philosophy, any additional security at the main branch would cost money. That is at a time when the city council is considering cutting the budget for Hartford Public Library by $500,000. The library has spent $8.4 million this year, exceeding its original adopted budget of $7.9 million. The city wants to see the budget restored to $7.9 million next year.

If the cut is adopted by the city council, board President Geraldine P. Sullivan said 23 of 120 staff positions will be eliminated in July. She said it would be Blalock's decision whether any of the security positions would be cut.

Sullivan said she wasn't aware of the full scope of the staff's concerns until The Courant started asking questions in March. She said, however, that the board has pushed since October for the library to create its own procedures and guidelines for handling behavioral problems. Those procedures and guidelines are still being finalized.

"It's a very delicate balance providing a welcoming environment, so everyone uses the library, and enforcing problematic behavior. ... People have different standards about what offends them. That's why there should be some guidelines," Sullivan said. "Two months ago, I might not have said that until I heard about staff concerns."

Ionno said the union would like to see the security staff professionalized and given the power to detain customers who break the law. He said the staff also wants young people to be kept away from the adult computer area so they aren't exposed to explicit content being viewed by some customers and they want pornography filters to be installed on computers in the children's area.

And lastly, Ionno said, the staff expects the administration to back them up when incidents do occur.

"Stop moving us to another branch when something happens," he said, referring to incidents when staff members have been transferred after reporting problems with customers. "It doesn't solve the problem and it makes us feel like we did something wrong."

Sullivan said Blalock has left an indelible mark on the library and continues to have the board's support. "Louise has improved the library by light years," Sullivan said.Sullivan said when she grew up in Hartford in the 1950s, she used the Camp Field branch, where librarians strictly enforced the rules.

"Maybe today's library isn't Mrs. Small saying 'be quiet, be quiet.' I don't want this story to make anyone feel threatened by using this public space."

Contact Tina A. Brown at

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Retarded Teen Raped in Library Bathroom and Library is Unaware

A retarded teen is raped in a public library bathroom and the library didn't even know! Here is the article "RAPE! Teen Sexually Assaulted at Library," followed by my letter to the editor:

RAPE! Teen sexually assaulted at Library
By Gersh Kuntzman
The Brooklyn Paper
May 10, 2008

Two men raped a mentally retarded teenager in the bathroom at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central branch on Grand Army Plaza on April 14, cops said.

According to police, the victim, who suffers from Down Syndrome and cannot communicate verbally, did not indicate to her family that something had happened to her, but her relatives figured out that she was in pain and took her to the hospital.

Once there, doctors discovered trauma and other evidence that she had been sexually assaulted, cops said.

A spokeswoman for the library said it was unaware of the incident. She said the library had not been contacted by the police.

©2008 The Brooklyn Paper

Now here is my letter to the editor for publication in The Brooklyn Paper:

A retarded child is raped in a public library bathroom and the library was not aware of this? What else is unknown to the library? Were the "two men" using the Internet computers to view p0rnographic material immediately before the rape, like happens in library after library nationwide?
Maybe the librarians do know something. Maybe they know they are misleading the public by suggesting anything goes after the filters are disabled upon request?

Maybe. I don't know. But the librarians didn't know about a rape in their own library. That is unbelievable. And if it is ever determined that library policy is based on American Library Association [ALA] policy instead of on the law, and if that contributed to the rape in any way, then the resulting lawsuit damages may be unbelievable as well.

I urge the police to make a thorough examination, including all computer logs and possible security tapes. Oh, that's right, the library destroys such records to skirt another law, the USA PATRIOT Act, again following the ALA's lead. Recall Rudolph W. Giuliani decried the actions of the ALA regarding this law in 2005. So with the records destroyed, I guess Brooklyn need not worry about legal liability after all.

Fact Checking:
"Taking Liberties With the Nation's Security," The New York Times, 17 Dec 2005, p.A23, by former mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. See:
And while I'm writing about how the ALA drives local policy in New York City, here's an inspiring example that when the people find out, they rid themselves of the ALA's influence. You see, the ALA listed a certain s3xually inappropriate book in a top ten list (ALA | Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers), and as a likely result, a librarian ordered that book for hundreds of New York City schools. Then the parents found out. See "City's Ed. Boobs," by Carl Campanile, New York Post, Oct. 13, 2003. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Note to Vermont Governor Re S220 Library Confidentiality Legislation

Here's an example of another way the ALA pushes its agenda nationally. In this case, the Vermont Library Association decided to use ALA policy to create legislation requiring parents to get a court order to see their own children's library records starting at age 13. That legislation has been amended to age 16 as a compromise, but it has been sent to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas for his signature (05/07/2008). Therefore, I used the Governor's online, 1000 letter limit web form to send him this message:

Please don't sign S220 until the age that parents are cut off from children's library records is 18, not 16.

From what I can see so far, the Vermont Library Association came up with this sua sponte, and did so specifically naming the American Library Association as its source of inspiration.

Not only is the ALA external to Vermont, but the ALA has said despite what the US Supreme Court said in US v. ALA, ALA policy will remain unchanged. And that policy includes that it is age discrimination to keep children from any library material whatsoever. What the ALA is ignoring in the case it lost is, "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree."

The ALA does not agree with that, yet the VLA uses the ALA as inspiration? Please - 18 at least. The VLA's interests here lies with ALA policy, not with VT's children. Don't compromise on VT children.

On this subject, I sent out the following request for information:
Dear Charlene Dindo,

Re: Legislative History of S.220 ( ), please advise me of, or tell me how to get access to the legislative history of S.220. I am asking you since your name is associated with that linked document, but please forward this to someone who can answer the below questions if you can or may not.

In particular, I am looking to see the source of this legislation, namely, whether that source is internal (Vermont Library Association) or external (American Library Association) to Vermont.

Regarding the age of the children originally proposed to be protected from invasions of privacy by their own parents being age 13 and up, I would like to see if and how that age has changed any, if at all, during the legislative process, and why. I see the age is currently set at 16. How did that happen and why -- was it based on similar rights obtained by children in Vermont at the same age (like driving, voting, drinking) or was it based on "compromise," and who were the parties to the compromise and what were their arguments.

I shall assume these records are available under some open records law, and I will be happy to pay reasonable costs for photocopying any information that answers my request. Please call me at [# elided] to advise of the cost before it is incurred, but anything less than $25 has my blanket approval and no call will be necessary.

I will also assume public notice has been made of this legislative activity and that public records of public hearings are available, perhaps even transcripts online, and any related hearings. I would like to have the URLs for that information, and I would like to learn how I can obtain that information otherwise.

Lastly, if the bill is headed for the Governor's signature as a Vermont Library Association source suggests, please advise me of the expected date of signature and of the means to contact the Governor so that I may exercise my own intellectual freedom in this matter. Given this, if my requests for information can be available in a timely fashion so that I may make an informed comment, that would be greatly appreciated.

FYI, I have begun to follow this issue, and I have a public list of links to related materials here: I would really like to know what media coverage has been provided on the issue so that I may determine the extent to which that coverage was fair and balanced, then advise the Governor accordingly.

Thank you very much.

CC: Vermont Library Association; S.220's introducer; S.220's drafter; Mary Minow of LibraryLaw fame