Sunday, August 21, 2011

Birmingham Needs Another MLK Moment; No Justice for Sexually Harassed Librarians

Martin Luther King
Jr. in Jail
Birmingham, AL, needs another MLK moment.  Martin Luther King, Jr., in his famous Letter From Birmingham Jail, 16 April 1963, said, "We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that 'justice too long delayed is justice denied.'"

Compare that with the Birmingham Public Library as led by Director Renee Blalock.  Justice is not only delayed, but it is simply absent.  For years.  And librarian after librarian suffers with no help from the library, the city, nor from the American Library Association [ALA].

Dr. Gina
When I was offered a chance to speak to Birmingham, I jumped at the chance to get people there to wake up and restore justice where others have not.

I was interviewed by Dr. Gina Loudon on the "The Dr. Gina Show" on 101 WYDE FM.  Listen here for the specific information I provided Birmingham that also applies to many other communities whose libraries are infected by the ALA's anything-goes policy:
"If you don't like it leave."
Did Sandi Lee say that?
Imagine if you were repeatedly sexually harassed while on your job, you complained to your boss, and your boss said if you don't like it, you can leave.  Imagine if this happened to multiple employees over multiple years and no one did anything about the boss or the policy that allowed this.  Imagine if your employer repeatedly defrauded the federal government by submitting falsified documents and accepting ill-gotten gains.  Where's the justice?  How would you feel?

Just because it's a library, you get to get away with this?  The ALA sure thinks so.  As Cory Doctorow said at an ALA George Soros funded, "youth privacy" conference before advising the ALA to teach children to defy their parents, jailbreak devices, etc., "And frankly, you can't get say bad things about a librarian without sounding like kind of a jerk."  Does Birmingham think so?

I've written about Birmingham before—now it is time for the Birmingham community to consider what I said on the Dr. Gina Show then demand the truth, and justice for the librarians, not unlike the justice demanded in a Birmingham jail in 1963, almost 50 years ago.  Here are my previous posts on the topic:
If anyone wants my help or simply has questions about my opinions, please let me know.

If this were my community, I would not stand for this and I would insist my government take action to stop the library from acting outside the law.  The government's previous failure to act has led to the second incident and has left it exposed to potential escalating legal liability.  Does the library's adherence to ALA policy really intimidate you so much you will continue to allow the library to act outside the law?  What would MLK do?


Thanks to me, the library community is starting to take note of the injustice in Birmingham and elsewhere, and this email resulted in hundreds of page visits:

"[lita-l] 2nd Federal 'Sexual Hostilities in Worplace' Lawsuit Filed by Library Workers," by LaVerne PoussaintDeepMed Library, 22 August 2011.
From: LaVerne Poussaint 
Subject: [lita-l] 2nd Federal 'Sexual Hostilities in Worplace' Lawsuit Filed by Library Workers
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2011 13:41:52 -0700 (PDT)

For the clueless [regarding ALA members attacking LaVerne and calling for censoring her: - definitely an eye-opening read]:

Why are you still sending e-mails to me on civil discourse?

How has it transpired that my opposition to the crude and illegal fellatio uploads [to an ALA message board] now turns on the false fulcrum of my lack of "civility" and not upon a focus of the heterosexual male prerogative [yes, I must "go there"] which considered it suitable to penetrate and push pass the boundaries of professionalism in such a way?

I would not deign to upload a cunnilingus graphic on ALAConnect.  Why?  Because there should be boundaries.  My private propensities are mine alone - and those with whom I share particular pleasures.

The selfsame dynamic evidenced on ALAConnect is what has been now forced before the Bench and Bar.  The Library Foundations are now party to the suits as enablers and facilitators; those mandated with representing the interests of the library workers are defendants, not plaintiffs.

Let us no longer pretend that this is about lack of my manners; there's something far more subtle and malicious going on here.

...And if you think what was written is lacking in civility, your ears would burn if you heard what I'm actually thinking.



Updated link to recording with Dr. Gina Loudon (as well as other older links):

I also note @BPL blocked me on Twitter for my reporting on this, and only in 2019 did it finally unblock me.  See:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Nyack Public Library Porn That Would Make Andrew Carnegie Proud

An Interesting View of
the Lighting Fixtures Down
a Nyack Public Library Staircase
This post will be about Nyack Public Library porn.  The kind where you see a beautiful library, not the kind where a library allows what the law says may be excluded.

You see, I recently investigated the Nyack, NY, library for porn, based on "Library Concerns Presented to Trustees," where a librarian quit for reasons that sounded like those present in unfiltered libraries, but I found no cause for concern during my cursory review.

What I did find, however, was a library so beautiful that I took snaps so you could see this yourselves.  And the library is one of the Andrew Carnegie libraries.  Even the area was beautiful, e.g., a half a block away was the Hudson River and the Tappan Zee Bridge.

I now present my pictures to satisfy your own craving for library porn, the kind that would make Andrew Carnegie proud:

Nyack Library Historical Society Sign

Andrew Carnegie Portrait and 1903 Dedication 
in the Nyack Public Library

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address Monument 
at the Nyack Public Library

Nyack Public Library Front Entrance

Nyack Public Library Main Entrance

Tile Artwork in the Nyack Public Library Bathroom

Tile in the Nyack Public Library Bathroom 
of The Boy Who Cried Wolf

A Bust of a Woman and a Fresh Cut Flower 
in the Nyack Public Library

A Display Case of Nyack Past 
in the Nyack Public Library

A Display Case of Nyack Historical Postcards 
in the Nyack Public Library

The Clock and Fireplace 
in the Carnegie Room 
of the Nyack Public Library

Statue of an American Indian 
in the Nyack Public Library

A View of the Carnegie Room 
of the Nyack Public Library

An Arboreal View Out a Window 
of the Nyack Public Library

A Cafeteria in the Nyack Public Library

A Display Case in the Nyack Public Library Stacks

A View of the Ivy-Covered Nyack Public Library 
from Above the Main Entrance

An Interior View of the Nyack Public Library

A View of the Hudson River Out a Back Window 
of the Nyack Public Library

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church Out a Front Window 
of the Nyack Public Library

Another View of the Cafeteria and its Beautiful Lighting 
Within the Nyack Public Library

Beautiful Lighting in the Nyack Public Library

Artwork in the Nyack Public Library

Artwork in the Nyack Public Library 
of the Nyack Public Library Itself

More Artwork in the Nyack Public Library

Artwork in the Nyack Public Library 
is Displayed Attractively Right in the Stacks

Artwork in the Stacks at the Nyack Public Library

Computer Workstations in the Nyack Public Library

The Crowded Computer Room 
in the Nyack Public Library

The Teen Room 
in the Nyack Public Library

The Ivy-Covered Nyack Public Library 
From Across the Street

Entrance to the Teen Room 
in the Nyack Public Library

An Columnated Walkway with Plantings 
at the Nyack Public Library

Community Meeting Room 
at the Nyack Public Library

The Tappan Zee Bridge Over the Hudson River 
Seen From Hudson Street 
Alongside the Nyack Public Library

The Tappan Zee Bridge Over the Hudson River 
as Seen From the Park Behind the Nyack Public Library

Gospel Music in the Park Behind the Nyack Public Library

The Back of the Nyack Public Library

Inside the Community Meeting Room 
at the Nyack Public Library

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Turning the Tide on Library Porn; Predicted Excuses for Not Filtering All Library Computers

US v. ALA: library filters okay
It appears, at least in Roxbury, NJ, the tide is about to turn on a public library misleading its community by claiming the First Amendment requires public libraries to allow Internet pornography.  You see, a mother whose child saw the porn an adult was viewing on the library computer complained to the library, but it refused to help since it was following American Library Association guidance.  So she went to the media.  That was when the tide started turning.  Thank you, Lori Bradley.

News 12 New Jersey's Matt Murphy Gets the Ball Rolling

Ann Grossi's misleading statement
News 12 New Jersey produced an excellent report that caught my attention and I got directly and immediately involved in the Roxbury matter since I am in the same NJ county.  I provide details here: "Public Library Law Allows Porn Exclusion and Allows Governments to Ensure Same," including a link to Matt Murphy's original story on this issue.

Basically, I pointed out to the media and the local government exactly how the community was being misled, such as with the library attorney's claim of First Amendment protection for anything at all in a public library, whereas the US Supreme Court says, "public libraries' use of Internet filtering software does not violate their patrons' First Amendment rights."  Compare that to the graphic at right which is Ann Grossi, Esq.'s, misleading statement that basically says the exact opposite.  Personally, I find the US Supreme Court is more credible than Ann Grossi and more reflects common sense and community standards, and I'm in the same county as that community.

Tables Turning Against Public Library Porn

Now I learn my intervention may have turned the tide on library porn in Roxbury.  Be sure I'll be taking this message nationwide, that accurate information can enable communities to use legal means to protect citizens from harm, and that library misinformation will no longer be enough to lull people into obeisance.  And it is misinformation to advise a community the exact opposite of what the US Supreme Court says.

Library Attorney Singing Different Tune Thanks to SafeLibraries 

Ann Grossi sings a different tune
You see, the library's attorney is now singing a different tune.  See the video for yourself in yesterday's News 12 New Jersey report on the issue, namely:

Matt Murphy reports:
The 2003 US Supreme Court decision in the case of United States versus the American Library Association states, "public libraries' use of Internet filtering software does not violate their patrons' First Amendment rights."  In June, Roxbury Public Library board attorney Ann Grossi insisted restricting access would be in violation of the First Amendment.  But since my June story aired, she now says the library is in the process of reviewing its policy and practices surrounding the use of the Internet.

And what was the difference between June and now?  I appeared in a Roxbury Township Committee and told them that they were being misled on that very point and that they have the legal authority needed to require compliance with the law.  And one of the Committeemen is also on the library's board of trustees, and he clearly heard the other Committeemen favorably receiving what I was saying.

SafeLibraries Quotes From the Story

FYI, here is the totality of my quotes from yesterday's story:
  • "When the public's being told that libraries are open public forums where anything goes, including pornography, they are being misled."
  • "That's correct, you can't censor what people watch.  However, it's not censorship to keep pornography out of a public library."
  • "The Supreme Court says you can apply the book selection policy which keeps out pornography from the books over the Internet with the use of filters."
  • Dan Kleinman adds that many public libraries choose not to restrict adult content fearing a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Major Success for SafeLibraries

I view this turnabout as a major success for SafeLibraries, with the potential that the ideas I present may grow nationwide.  The emperor has no clothes.

Here again are those ideas written up as talking points:  "Public Library Law Allows Porn Exclusion and Allows Governments to Ensure Same."

List of Predicted Excuses for Not Filtering All Library Computers

There will be major obstacles in the way of a library such as Roxbury deciding to filter all computers.  But those major obstacles will simply consist of more propaganda and misdirection from the very people so successful at it previously.

Here is my list of predicted excuses and suggested responses:
  • There are so many other concerns that face libraries, such as funding, that something that occurs so few times is really not our focus now.  That's the "Oh look, there's a squirrel over there" defense, anything to take focus away from the issue.
  • US v. ALA only applies to libraries that accept federal funding.  That's the "We know better than you" defense.  In reality, the Court discussed the library issues first, then applied them to the federal funding issue.  Just because a library does not accept federal funding does not mean the case is otherwise of little value.  For example, is this of no value if a library accepts no federal funding for Internet access:
    "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."
  • Who's to decide what is and what isn't pornography?  That's the "Let's make believe US v. ALA doesn't exist" defense.  You see, 1) the Court addressed that issue and 2) if no one can decide what is pornography, then the entire case of US v. ALA is entirely without value, but that cannot be since US Supreme Court decisions are never to be interpreted in a way that makes them useless.
  • Filters don't work well, and privacy screens and acceptable use policies are much better.  That's the "Let's hope the people don't read US v. ALA" defense.  The Court said it is filters that work, not shoulder tap policies, not privacy screens, not recessed computers, and not moving computers. Further, extensive evidence shows nothings works as well as filters.  Media reports are even catching on and showing, for example, just how useless are "privacy screens."  And acceptable use policies?  Their self-policing, voluntary nature makes them essentially worthless.
  • Filters block "breast cancer" web sites and that's censorship.  That's the "Go for the emotional message so we can keep pushing our agenda" approach.  While overblocking breast cancer sites used to be true, it is no longer the case.  Quality filters properly maintained no longer filter out health-related information.
  • So few children are raped or molested in libraries, why don't you direct your legitimate interest to a place where more children are being hurt in that fashion and work there.  That's the "Compliment the person then misdirect them anywhere else" defense.  Lovely idea, but no dice, especially where the harm being done might be a result of the library's own failure to comply with library law by allowing an anything-goes attitude.
  • Libraries are protected by a shield of autonomy from governmental control.  That's the "Let's avoid the real issue" defense.  The real issue is not that the government seeks to invade the shield of autonomy.  It doesn't.  Rather, where the library has acted outside that shield, the government may require it to comply with the law.  And US v. ALA is right there with support for that.
  • Requiring filtering might cause people embarrassment and that would violate the First Amendment.  That's the "Don't look behind the curtain" defense.  US v. ALA addressed that issue and it is simply of no consequence.  Any library expert supporting any issue already asked and answered in the negative by US v. ALA as if it were never previously addressed is misleading you.
  • The library is in the process of reviewing its policy and practices surrounding the use of the Internet.  That's the "Go away" defense, depending on the circumstances.  They want you to allow time to pass and forget about the issue.  Of course libraries legitimately review policies all the time.  But sometimes it is just a means to delay things and only cosmetic changes will occur, if any, or useless alternatives will be proposed, like improved acceptable use policies, moving computers, or using privacy screens.  I suspect the Roxbury situation will be the latter and the government will need to intervene if filters are not proposed for every computer.  No way will Ann Grossi advise that it is perfectly legal to filter all computers and that all computers should be filtered, I predict.
  • SafeLibraries cannot be trusted because Dan Kleinman opposes pornography and is otherwise unfit or untrustworthy.  That's the "Saul Alinsky was here" defense.  Setting aside that not being true, the argument over the issue should not become ad hominem.  And I am not imposing my will on anyone.  Rather, I am suggesting people become educated, I am guiding people to that education, and US v. ALA is the bright line to follow, not SafeLibraries.  Leave me out of the story.  Local libraries laws may also come into play.  They trump American Library Association policy embedded in local policy any day of the week.
  • Censorship is a slippery slope.  That the "Let's make up a legitimate-sounding non-issue/strawman defense."  Simply put, no censorship is involved where, as the US Supreme Court said, "public libraries' use of Internet filtering software does not violate their patrons' First Amendment rights...."  Further, to the extent some librarian might take too long to unblock a site, US v. ALA has already made provision for that.  It is called an "as applied" challenge.  In all the years since the case was decided in 2003, there has never yet been an "as applied" challenge, to the best of my knowledge.
  • Handling ACLU lawsuits will be too costly for the government.  That's the "Deer Hunter" defense where they hold a gun to your head.  You'll never, ever hear them worry about lawsuits brought by victims of library harms and how such suits have a greater potential for monetary damages, like the near half million dollar Adamson v. Minneapolis Public Library case where library management allowed porn and the librarians suffered as a result.  If you follow the law, the ACLU will have no basis for bringing suit.  Like in Burlington County, NJ, the ACLU threatened suit over a book showing two boys watching two men having anal sex.  But the library merely applied the selection policy to the book, found it wanting, and removed it.  No ACLU suit occurred because the library followed the law and the ACLU did not bluff, in this case.  Consider also the possibility for treble damages against the ACLU for vexatious litigation where it bluffs.  Where the ACLU threatens suit based on legal theories it itself lost in US v. ALA, that is dirty pool.  But if such a suit gets filed with the court, that might be grounds for vexatious litigation.  Example.  Nampa, ID.  The library, after three years effort, put four books inappropriate for children in a location that required only adults to ask for them.  The ACLU sent a threatening letter and the ACLU attorney said the issue was embarrassment.  Embarrassment to ask for one of the books would violate the First Amendment, supposedly.  Within one week the city caved to the ACLU.  Three years effort down the drain.  For what?  For embarrassment.  For an issue the ACLU itself raised in US v. ALA and lost on years previously.  Sounds like dirty pool to me.  So do not be frozen by fear of the ACLU.  If you get such a letter, let me identify all the propaganda in it for you so you won't cave.
  • State law requires one terminal be left unfiltered.  This is a legitimate reason for not filtering all computers.  So long as you are not claiming certain federal funding, you should be okay.  Take a gander at this: "Michigan Libraries at Risk of Massive E-Rate Fraud; Michigan Library Privacy Act May Need Amending."

SafeLibraries Is Offering Assistance and Seeking Donations

Edison Public Library
Should anyone face these issues and suspect they are being misled, please contact me for guidance.  Basically, you have the legal right to choose to filter 100% of library computers, and government can require libraries to do so if they only realize their own power.  Leave one computer unfiltered and that will not solve the problem.

Should anyone wish to help fund my efforts, like paying for the gas to travel to the interview in Edison, NJ, yesterday morning or to investigate the Nyack Public Library, Nyack, NY, yesterday afternoon, please use the donate button on the bottom right of this blog post, and thank you so much.  It'll give me gas to go elsewhere.  And I hope to have my report on the Nyack library available soon.

Finally, here's that story I'm in again:

NOTE ADDED 7 November 2011:

I was on television:

Note: I am requesting permission to republish the broadcast as it shows an example of major library leaders intentionally misleading the public about Internet filters on public library computers then blaming whistleblowers for why they need not explain themselves.

While I am adding this note let me add the following:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Public Library Law Allows Porn Exclusion and Allows Governments to Ensure Same

To prepare for a media interview, I put together a few talking points on why porn may be legally excluded from public libraries (see US v. American Library Association).  It gives a really quick overview of why governments may ensure public libraries are filtering out pornography even where the library refuses to do so.  Such information is completely absent from communities being misled to believe that porn in public libraries is a First Amendment right.  It isn't.

Here's the URL for my media interview talking points:

And now, presenting for your enlightenment: