Thursday, January 26, 2012

ALA OIF's Barbara Jones Misleads Entire Nation to Think Library Porn is Not a Problem While Library Filters Are

Barbara Jones, the Director of the American Library Association's [ALA] Office for Intellectual Freedom [OIF], has just used a major media platform to try to convince the entire nation that library porn is not a problem while library filters are.  I quote her then respond with reliable sources to prove my assertions.  You have to read these sources for yourselves to understand just how misleading and insidious is the ALA leader's attempt to turn the truth on its head.

First, here is the propaganda piece itself:
Now here is my response to this misinformation.  Read the sources, then decide for yourselves:

"Recent sensational media reports about 'porn in libraries' do not reflect the reality of library services today or promote meaningful dialogue in our communities."  This from the ALA's OIF that refuses to assist librarians and library workers under assault, literally, from the porn-promoting policies of local libraries following ALA diktat, like in Birmingham, AL:

"U.S. libraries are law-abiding public institutions that have earned the public trust year after year."  No.  False.  A very few libraries follow ALA OIF advice to skirt the law and end up defrauding the federal government of millions of dollars.  For example, every single library in Michigan getting federal government funding under "CIPA" for Internet Access is likely defrauding taxpayers, you and me:

"Child pornography, obscenity, and materials deemed 'harmful to minors' are illegal and not knowingly available in libraries."  Now that is false.  Consider Maria Pagan, Holyoke Public Library Director, who covered up for a guy viewing child pornography:

So one leader says child pornography is "not knowingly available" and the previous leader says librarians cannot judge what is child pornography.  Are you starting to get the picture of just how misleading is this misinformation by the ALA OIF's new leader?

"An ideal example is the word, 'breast,' which many filters block.  The problem is that in addition to blocking what might be offensive content, the filter also blocks 'breast cancer.'"  Now this lady has gone from misleading people to flat out lying.  She is lying.  She is in the very position to know better, and she chooses instead to lie, so she is purposefully lying.  Even the ACLU admits filters are 95% effective and no longer filter out health-related information:

"Filtering Internet content, though it is not an ideal solution. .... Librarians are trained to spot problems with public Internet use and work with others to uphold the library's written Internet use policies."  Did I not just quote Judith Krug as saying librarians are in no position to judge child pornography?  Here is another Krug quote, this one showing librarians do the exact opposite of what the new OIF leader just said, "I have a real problem when people say, 'Well I walked by and you should have seen what was on the computer screen.'  Well, don't look, sweetie.  It's none of your business.  Avert your eyes."

Further, the case that found filtering to be legal, US v. ALA—and notice Barbara Jones tellingly does not mention this case—says the opposite of what Jones says.  The case says filters are the best means for achieving the desired end, and other means are less effective or counter effective.  Jones says they are "not ideal," they "won't do it for them," then offers librarians as the ideal solution, even though the OIF's creator and four decade leader said people are to avert their eyes and librarians are not in a position to make judgments even if they did look.  So one OIF director says librarians are the solution while another says, "I get very concerned when we start hearing people who want to convert this country into a safe place for children.  I am adult.  I want available what I need to see."  Nice, huh?

"Working closely with law enforcement, Trustees, and other community stakeholders."  The misinformation continues from this ALA OIF leader.  No, they do not work closely with law enforcement since they are directed not to assist: "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...."

What a disgrace.  Here is the ALA OIF leader saying the exact opposite of what the US Supreme Court said in the case the ALA lost big that I linked above.  Here is the ALA misleader, Barbara Jones: "If you are a librarian or trustee, you know that there are all sorts of ways to design library space with such devices as recessed screens and pie-shaped carrels to meet the Internet access and privacy needs of the entire community and still offer First Amendment protection for the right to access needed information."  That is flat out false.  It is disgraceful that the OIF leader herself should make such a flat out false statement.  Why can she not simply address the issue in a truthful manner?  How can anyone believe a word the ALA OIF says?  Here is what the US Supreme Court said, and notice that it directly contradicts the very ideas put forth by the ALA leader: "In any case, the suggested alternatives have their own drawbacks.  Close monitoring of computer users would be far more intrusive than the use of filtering software, and would risk transforming the role of a librarian from a professional to whom patrons turn for assistance into a compliance officer whom many patrons might wish to avoid.  Moving terminals to places where their displays cannot easily be seen by other patrons, or installing privacy screens or recessed monitors, would not address a library's interest in preventing patrons from deliberately using its computers to view online pornography.  To the contrary, these alternatives would make it easier for patrons to do so."

"Make it easier for patrons to" "view online pornography."  So Barbara Jones, ALA's OIF leader, is using the loud megaphone of the Huffington Post to push false information that makes it easier for library patrons to view pornography, and it is right there in the US Supreme Court's own words.  I'm just the messenger.  At the same time she is lying that filters do not work.

"The American Library Association can provide materials to assist in such civic engagement initiatives."  Right.  Like the ALA just informed the entire nation the exact opposite of what US v. ALA says.  Where is Alan M. Dershowitz when you need him—this ALA has got real chutzpah.

So, to sum up, the first sentence is, "Recent sensational media reports about 'porn in libraries' do not reflect the reality of library services today or promote meaningful dialogue in our communities."  The rest of her words were spent on trying to convince people that is not the case and that Internet filters are ineffective.  Given the reliable sources I have provided, are you convinced porn is not a problem in libraries, or filters do not work?  Are you suspicious why the ALA is trying to convince people that filters do not work, the exact opposite of what US v. ALA says?  Is the ALA OIF influencing your own local community public library?

And don't forget, Know the ALA.

As an aside, a librarian from a prominent NJ library asked me for my opinion on this Barbara Jones piece.  She said, "I honestly want to understand both sides.  I think ala does a lot of good, but is not always right."  I agree.  But she stopped talking after realizing she was using the library's Twitter account instead of her personal one.  I hope she doesn't get fired for having an open mind and speaking with me.  Isn't it sad librarians are afraid to speak with me?  Some aren't, however, and I hear from quite a few.  Talk to me!  I don't bite!


None other than Barbara Jones herself has already proven me right in at least one instance.  See:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

High School Student on Censorship

I received a hand-signed letter from a high school student that is so outstanding I decided to publish it, as is, eliding only her name, and without comment from me.  I only added a graphic that goes with her theme and any hyperlinks I could find.  Enjoy:

Dear Mr. Kleinman,

     My name is H P and I feel very strongly about the issue of censorship; generally I am against it.  I feel that, although some discretion is necessary for certain age groups, people should be free to enjoy the literature of their choice, regardless of the fact that some find it inappropriate.  I feel that censorship should not be practiced in a society that preaches the right to information and individuality.

     In my brief sixteen years, I have met many parents, all with different view points on raising their kids.  Yet one common ideal they all express, albeit to different degrees, was the protection of their child's innocence.  I realize that there are some extremely sick people out there who are the authors/originators of a lot of disgusting things.  My objections are not against pornographical items, simply literature that is unfairly judged and refused to people who are willing to read it.  I also realize that discovering all that is out there is a process that progresses with maturity and I respect parent's efforts to ease into that process.  However, a lot of the parents I have encountered take it to the extreme, demanding that because a certain book contains details they believe to be too mature for their child, the chance of reading it should be denied to hundreds of other kids whose parents might feel differently.  And it could not be simpler to do so.  It is as simple as someone saying, "Don't let anyone read this book . . . because I object to it!' (American Library Association).  Most libraries are lacking in some incredible stories, such as The Call of the Wild, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Gone with the Wind, and Of Mice and Men, despite the fact that they are literature classics and amazing reads.  The book, Slaughterhouse Five by Sarah Vonnegut, relating the story of a Nazi POW barrack, was recently banned to the restricted section of school libraries in Republic, MO where it will only be available for check out by parents/guardians (National Coalition Against Censorship).  This may solve any concerns parents may have about their children reading it behind their backs, but what about the other students whose parents allow, and even encourage, them to read such book?  Because of this, "ridiculous notion of a 'compromise', a 17 year-old will have to bring Mom or Dad to check out books of inarguable artistic and educational merit" (National Coalition Against Censorship).  Most American teenagers have a very busy life, what with school, homework, and extracurricular activities.  Parents as well have a day full of work and little time off.  If someone wanted to read that book, where would they find the time to ask their parents down to the school to check it out?  Where would their parents find time to oblige?  Because of one parent's over concern this student has now lost the opportunity to read what might have been a very good, eye opening book.

     Even fun books like the Harry Potter series are being challenged.  Parents do not like the idea of their kids being exposed to witchcraft and some violence displayed in the books.  Some people even went far enough to burn and/or cut up some of the books.  Most kids are not happy about this.  A young lady named Amanda posted on a website regarding the Jesus Party's Anti-Harry Potter Conference and Book Cutting, "They're saying that this book is violent what do they think they are showing by cutting up the books!!!!!" (  Statistics show that classic books are more likely to be challenged (  Books such as Ivanhoe and Uncle Tom's Cabin, amazing stories with themes and plots that are challenged because of some material that may be unpleasant.  While the material may be inappropriate for younger ages, it is generally not directed towards such an age group.  Such books can usually be found in junior high and high school libraries depending on content.  Themes exposed in junior high might be of some small issue, but in high school, the idea of banning books is ludicrous.  In high school we truly discover who we are and grow into mature adults.  If we are seen as too young to be exposed to certain themes, when will we ever be ready?  Most people do not realize that, "Censorship is always a dangerous thing.  It can, mentally, hinder someone's right to knowledge" (angelfirecom).  Protecting the innocence of a child is one thing, but where do we cross the line from protection to denial of rights?  As an American, I have the right to express myself in my own way, whether through what I say, wear, or do.  Most express themselves through what they say, acting on their right to free speech.  In any given case, you are going to find someone who disagrees with an opinion.  And yet when someone goes so far as to silence that opinion, they are doing more harm than good.  What they do not realize is "Yes, supporting freedom of speech means you may have to hear and see expression that you don't like.  But if you cave in to censorship, you will still hear expression[sic] you don't like- from the Powers That Be- and be left without a voice to counter it.  Don't be fooled" (Feminists Against Censorship).  Personally, I express myself through what I read.  When I am denied the chance of reading a book I think to be interesting because someone whom l have never met before has a problem with a bad word here and there, it really ticks me off.  If someone has a problem with a book, why not just put it down.  Why would they ruin the chance to read it for someone who might be able to see past the questionable language and some mild adult content and truly enjoy the story.  Just because they did not enjoy it, does not mean anybody else will.

     Censorship is becoming a big issue in our society and I am glad that I have had the chance to attempt to open your eyes to the repercussions.  I hope you will encourage parents to continue doing what they think is best for their child, while keeping in mind that it is not the same for everyone.  Although parents have a right to be concerned about the materials their children are being exposed to, not all parents have the same view on how much is too much.  Censorship restricts our exposure to new ideas and restricts our access to information.  But most of all, censorship restricts our growth as human beings.  Thank you for listening.



     H P

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Guidance for Plaistow Public Library Director, Trustees, Patrons, and Local Government on the Legality of Filtering Porn Out of Libraries

Dear Plaistow Public Library Director,

I have just read an article about a library porn incident in your Plaistow Public Library, Plaistow, NH:

It says a Board of Trustees meeting will occur Monday night to discuss the incident.  This email is intended to provide you, the Board, the patrons, and the Plaistow government, with information some may find enlightening.  I will publish this for others to see as well.  My knowledge of the specific facts pertaining to the immediate incident draw mainly from the Union Leader article, so I'll quote from that, then comment.

"Workers at the Plaistow Public Library got a surprise last week when a printer began spitting out pages of pornography."  Please note that librarians and library employees may consider this to be sexual harassment and may file EEOC complaints or civil suits:

"Police were notified of the incident, but Deputy Police Chief Kathleen Jones said no crime was committed because the images involved adult pornography, which isn't illegal."  Yes, that is true, but that does not mean a public library has to allow such activity even if legal.   More on that soon.

"Librarians say they’re not in the business of monitoring what people do on library computers, and most don’t have filters to censor Web sites."  Yes, librarians need not necessarily monitor what people do.  "Close monitoring of computer users would be far more intrusive than the use of filtering software, and would risk transforming the role of a librarian from a professional to whom patrons turn for assistance into a compliance officer whom many patrons might wish to avoid."  Rather, there are perfectly legal and effective means to block certain material from library computers, as the quote intimates, and it not "censorship."

When the media write about "filters to censor Web sites," they have stopped reporting on facts and entered the world of opinion.  In other words, the story provides a spin that has more to do with the viewpoint of the writer than the law and the reality of the situation.  In reality, with properly configured Internet filters, no "censorship" occurs.  Besides, even if a web site is inappropriately blocked, the law (discussed below) specifies a patron can simply ask for the site to be unblocked.  By the way, besides the text, the title of the Union Leader article presents an inaccurate picture.  An accurate and more interesting title would have been, "Porn in Library Startles Librarians."

Further, a site blocked here or there does not compare with the sites the library itself blocks and no one even notices.  There is something called the "Deep Web."  It consists of seven eighths of the entire Internet.  Google does not reach into the Deep Web.  However, there are specialized means of reaching into the Deep Web.  Libraries often make absolutely no effort to employ those specialized means.  So libraries themselves may be blocking eight times as much information as could ever be blocked by filters.  I am not impressed that a filter blocks one or two sites while libraries block millions by not helping patrons navigate the Deep Web.  Besides, a patron can ask for an unblock anyway.

"Like most libraries, the Plaistow library has a policy spelling out the rules for Internet use."  Be honest.  No perpetrator ever follows those policies/rules.  I know of case after case of "surprised" library directors who proclaim the "acceptable use policy" should have stopped the inappropriate activity.  Examples:

Internet filters work to filter out inappropriate material—acceptable use policies do not.  Such policies are effective, however, in making people feel good that something is being done.  (The same goes for "privacy screens.")  I think having an effective means to manage a public library is better than having policies that make it appear an effective means is in place.  Indeed, many libraries claim they do not use filters because they do not want parents to be lulled into a sense of security—exactly what they are doing themselves with acceptable use policies.  It is a double standard.  As long as the Plaistow Public Library continues to place its trust in a piece of paper, incidents like the one that occurred will continue to occur, and eventually some child, patron, or library worker will be seriously harmed.  If your town is worried about liability, think about the consequences if something like that should happen, especially now with the library and town government being put on notice of the uselessness of paper policies and the double standard used to defend them.

"The policy states that use of library computers to access obscene material, child pornography or material that is harmful to minors is prohibited."  Obviously the policy had no effect on the guy printing out the obscene material.  Obviously the paper policy is useless.

"'We felt that by printing and then leaving them in the library without picking them up, it was almost a challenge for the staff.  Someone had to take those copies out of the printer.  We were definitely surprised at how many pages were printed,' she said."  "Almost"?  Continue to downplay such incidents and eventually legal action may be taken, as illustrated above.

And they guy didn't pay for those copies.  Isn't that theft?  After all, libraries will send the police after five year olds for overdue books:

"Gavrish said she’s been director for about a year and in that time has had to speak to only a few people who were accessing what were believed to be inappropriate sites."  So that establishes that there are numerous incidents.  At this point it should be obvious that the "acceptable use policy" is not only a failure, but is already known by the library to be a failure.  So to the extent the library continues to promote its policy as effective, it is knowingly misleading the public, and possibly intentionally.

"In most libraries I've been in the feeling is it's a public library and we're not here to monitor what people do.  We're here to provide access to free information.  We just don't feel it's up to us to decide what people can look at."  Since when is pornography considered "information"?  Since when did libraries adopt an "anything goes" policy despite community standards? "We just don't feel it's up to us to decide what people can look at."  That's nice you feel that way, but you are in a position of public trust.  You need to act in light of that public trust, else you are violating that public trust.  You may most certainly and legally block pornography from public libraries, you simply refuse to do so.

Dean Marney
You see, public libraries are not open public fora where anything goes.  They are "quasi" public fora where, among other things, pornography may be legally blocked using Internet filters.  It has been nine years since this was decided by the US Supreme Court in US v. American Library Association (  Nine years.  No library director can possibly be unaware of this.  It makes me think your actions as library director to mislead the public are not only knowing, but also intentional.  To be clear, US v. ALA said, "[P]ublic libraries' use of Internet filtering software does not violate their patrons' First Amendment rights...."

Even major media is catching on to the misinformation and calling for the placement of filters in public libraries:

Here is library director Dean Marney, for example, who speaks out about the "dogma" the American Library Association [ALA] and its acolytes use to mislead people, so library directors are definitely aware of US v. ALA:

Your own patrons are finding out about this now too, thanks to me:

"While no crime was committed, Plaistow police said they would still like to know who printed the images so they can run the name through the sex offender registry because some offenders aren’t allowed to be viewing pornography."  Valid point (except perhaps for theft of services for the unpaid copies).  However, many libraries intentionally destroy such information or fail to collect it in the first place, or make its retrieval difficult, having been guided to do so by the ALA:

"The New Hampshire State Library also has an Internet acceptable use policy that says it doesn't censor legal activities."  Again, such policies do not work.  Again, it is not censorship to comply with US v. ALA and filter out pornography from public libraries.  The NHSL saying it is only goes to show New Hampshire has a bigger problem than just Plaistow.

"It also has an Internet disclaimer stating: 'The State Library has no control over the materials found on the Internet.  The library cannot censor your access to material nor protect you from information you find offensive, controversial or inappropriate.'"  That is true but misleading.  Of course the State Library has no control over the materials found on the Internet, but it leaves out that Internet filters can filter out inappropriate material legally and effectively.  Of course the State Library may not censor access to material, but it is not "censorship" to block pornography from public libraries.  When it says, "information you find offensive, controversial or inappropriate," it is really saying the material is none of those, rather, "you" are the problem.  It is a confrontational tone that does not belong in a State Library policy, especially in light of the other misleading statements.  I am CC'ing State Librarian Michael York on this so he can correct this situation, though I doubt he will.  And I'll use Governor John Lynch's online form to send him this message as well.

I hope these comments of mine and the associated references help you and others be aware of the basis for legally filtering out pornography from your public library.  I hope you and others become aware that acceptable use policies are not effective.

If there's one big take away from what I have written, it is to read US v. ALA all the way through.  Only then can people make an informed decision, instead of one to which they have been led.  The case decides filters are constitutional first, then it applies that decision to libraries accepting certain federal funding.  So even if the library does not accept that funding, the case remains applicable, as if that is not obvious.

Anyone wishing further information, feel free to contact me.

Please distribute this message to all members of the Board of Trustees in sufficient time so it can be read and considered before Monday night's meeting.

The town government should also have a copy as well so it can consider if the library's current policies are exposing the town to potential liability.  The following may be relevant:

Thank you very much.

-Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries


The library/media snow job continues unabated: