Friday, April 20, 2012

Library Sexual Harassment Law Suit Settles

Days away from trial, another library sexual harassment suit has been settled:

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama --  A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by a former librarian who claimed Birmingham's downtown public library was a sexually hostile place to work, with some patrons openly viewing pornography on computers, groping her and performing lewd acts in front of staff or other patrons, including children.

The trial in the federal lawsuit filed by Barbara Ann Wilson in September 2010 was to have begun on Monday before U.S. District Court Judge Karon O. Bowdre. 

Bowdre, at 12:33 p.m. today issued a brief order dismissing the case after learning of a settlement.  

But Adam Morel, the attorney for Wilson, said today that a settlement had been reached in the case. He declined to discuss details and whether the settlement included any money.  

Officials and lawyers for Birmingham have not yet responded to questions posed by The Birmingham News.

But the city and library have denied the allegations. 

Wilson, who began work with the library in 2002, claimed in the lawsuit that the City of Birmingham and the Birmingham Library Board had not done enough to protect her from a hostile work environment. Since November 2010 she is no longer employed by the library. 

Among her claims, Wilson stated that she had been subjected to sexually aggressive comments, inappropriate touching and other sexual conduct by certain library patrons. She claimed that a number of times when she tried to confront patrons looking at obscene material they became belligerent. 

A jury trial, however, remains set for Feb. 11, 2013, before U.S. District Court Judge Scott Coogler in a similar federal lawsuit filed by another library employee in July 2011. 

In that lawsuit, Karen Jackson, a supervisor at the library, claims she has been ''subjected to severe and pervasive sexually charged conduct by both library patrons and certain members of the library's male staff, including security staff.''

Among her claims are that library patrons are ''routinely'' allowed to view pornographic images in library computers, often in the presence of children. Patrons also perform lewd acts, including in the youth department, and in one case a patron made advances on her and grabbed her arm, according to the lawsuit. 


In my opinion, the suit settled because the library knew it would lose, having made statements like, "If you don't like it, leave."  If a librarian doesn't like being sexually harassed by people acting under an unlimited porn policy, she should leave?  Just like in another case:

I had previously written about or mentioned the Birmingham case often:
Lastly, let me say that at no time did the American Library Association [ALA] ever support any of the victims.  I surmise this is because it is the ALA anything-goes policy that contributed to the harassment in the first place.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fed Court Proves Not Censorship to Block Porn from Public Library Computers; Dean Marney and North Central Regional Library Prove ACLU Wrong in Bradburn v. NCRL

Dean Marney
The jig is up for American Library Association [ALA]/American Civil Libraries Union [ACLU] excuses allowing pornography on public library computers.  You simply do not have the civil liberty nor the First Amendment right to view pornography on public library computers:
A federal judge has ruled that an Eastern Washington library system is not violating the state constitution by using filters to block internet porn on library computers. 
Judge Edward F. Shea, Eastern Washington Federal District Court, ruled in favor of the North Central Regional Library.  The case was brought against the rural eastern Washington library district by the ACLU of Seattle.  The ACLU accused the library district of having an overly broad filtering policy. 
The ruling followed a decision handed down from the Washington State Supreme Court in May, 2010.  The Supreme Court found that the North Central Regional Library, the largest library district in the State of Washington, did not violate Article 1, Section 5 of the Washington State Constitution with its policy of filtering the internet. 
"Taxpayers are the winners in this case," said Library Director Dean Marney.  "Libraries should never be forced to use public funds to provide access to child pornography or to become illegal casinos.  Libraries should be sanctuaries for people of all ages." 
The NCRL, which represents 28 libraries in the central part of the state, has admitted the filtering policy puts them in the minority.  Other libraries have taken the stance of non-censorship, citing First Amendment rights.

Hey, it's legal!  Media, stop calling it "censorship."  It's not censorship.  The jig is up.  There is no First Amendment right to porn in public libraries.  Libraries know this, especially now, let alone since US v. ALA in 2003, so saying otherwise is simply and intentionally false.

Recall my previous writing on this topic:

Wanna join people stopping libraries from misleading their communities on porn in public libraries, etc.?  Join the Watchdogs!  Join the winners.


Excellent historical information on the Bradburn case from David Burt:
And some historical information from the ACLU of Washington State:
Another story on the current matter:


In the article above, I have added an updated link for the NCRL News Release.

Let me add that the case makes clear:

  1. A library may review a request for web access to ensure compliance with library policy,
  2. A library may legally deny access to constitutionally protected material if said material does not fall within library policy,
  3. It is not censorship to comply with the court's ruling and block constitutionally protected material from public libraries,
  4. Porn and gambling do not fall within library policy (at least at this particular group of libraries), 
  5. Other categories of constitutionally protected material may be legally blocked depending on the circumstances as the court did not restrict itself to only porn and gambling, and
  6. Any library or library association saying filtering porn violates the First Amendment or the Freedom of Speech is factually and legally incorrect(, and that library may be acting outside the law, and that library's town government has a duty to require a library to act within the law or it may be held legally responsible otherwise for harm caused by a failure to comply with the law).


Another interesting historical look at this case:



Monday, April 9, 2012

Arizona 'Computer Access by Minors' Passes 89 to Zilch

Steve Court, Sponsor of HB 2712
Arizona state CIPA legislation HB 2712 "Computer Access by Minors" has now become law.  It significantly strengthens existing laws that direct public libraries and public school libraries to protect Arizona children from pornography.  It passed the House 58 - 0 - 2, the Senate 30 - 0 - 0, and was signed by Governor Jan Brewer on 3 April 2012.  So I count the vote as 89 to zilch in favor of protecting children from porn in Arizona libraries and schools.  See for yourself, click on "Bill Overview":

89 to nothing.  Keep that in mind when the American Library Association [ALA] misleads communities into thinking otherwise:

For background on this major Arizona success, see:

And keep in mind Arizona children (and public school children everywhere) may still be exposed to harm caused by library association policy:
Hat tip:  Safe Schools, Safe Library Project on Twitter @porn_harms (and include the underscore).

UNC Davis Library of Gay Cruising

About the UNC University Libraries
Having written before of "Gay Cruising in Public Library Bathrooms," I now write on gay cruising in a public school library's bathrooms and stacks, featuring the University of North Carolina's Davis Library.  Quoting:
Besides the posts, library employees cite graphic evidence, including semen-filled condoms draped over chairs and stuck to the walls.
The Craigslist posts are evidence of a pattern of sexual behavior witnessed by employees, including public masturbation and viewing pornography.
Brady said they are generally classified as "men seeking men," and she has never seen a post by a man looking for a woman, or by a woman seeking a woman or a man.
Notice how "Student Attorney General Amanda Claire Grayson" says it could be a violation, but who cares?  "It's something that could be considered a violation, but I'm not sure the Honor Court has a reason to adjudicate that."

The Daily Tar Heel article is so packed with eye-popping information, I'll just reprint it here for you to make up your own minds, thanks to Copyright Fair Use provisions, and perhaps comment below:

For some students, study breaks in the library come in all shapes — and sizes.

As students begin to fill up the libraries in preparation for final exams, an active thread on the online classifieds website Craigslist reveals a subculture of illicit sexual activity specific to Davis Library, the University's largest.

A search for "Davis Library" on the personals section of the Raleigh Craigslist turns up a series of requests for sexual favors, posts that have caught the attention of some library employees.

Besides the posts, library employees cite graphic evidence, including semen-filled condoms draped over chairs and stuck to the walls.

"Out of curiosity one day, we were all in the library because, you know, there's all kinds of weird shenanigans. We decided to look in personals and there it was," said Davis Library employee and student Matthiew Morel, referring to the Craigslist posts.

Morel said he has only seen evidence on the seventh and eighth floors.

"The higher you go up, the more likely you are to encounter it," Morel said.

"On campus for a marathon study day," reads one Craigslist post published April 1.  "Would be interested in a study break at Davis Library if you're interested."

Others include post titles "UNC student seeks BJ" and "studying in library — help me relieve some stress."

The body of each post typically describes the author's physical appearance, including height, weight, race, penis size and whether or not he is circumcised.

Abbreviations like "DDF" — drug and disease-free — and "HMU" — hit me up — are commonly used.

Morel said he has seen the most action on the site during exams.

"The most postings were four to five in one day during finals," he said.  "Stress breeds romance, I guess."

The Craigslist posts are evidence of a pattern of sexual behavior witnessed by employees, including public masturbation and viewing pornography.

But whether asking for sex in Davis Library is a violation of the Honor Code is another matter.

Student Attorney General Amanda Claire Grayson said she has never heard of the Honor Court dealing with inappropriate behavior in Davis Library in her three years dealing with cases.

"It's something that could be considered a violation, but I'm not sure the Honor Court has a reason to adjudicate that," she said.

Kori Brady, another Davis Library employee, said the posts on Craigslist often fit a distinctive mold.

Brady said they are generally classified as "men seeking men," and she has never seen a post by a man looking for a woman, or by a woman seeking a woman or a man.

And the posts come primarily from undergraduates, she said.

A recent post suggested exceptions, though, when the poster identified himself as a male graduate student looking for an attractive young woman.

"I know of more stories of sex in the library," Brady said.  "But I don't know necessarily if they were connected to Craigslist."

Davis Library policy prohibits "behavior that interferes with the appropriate use of the library," including "inappropriate sexual behavior" and "viewing sexually explicit material on a computer."

University librarian Sarah Michalak declined to comment on the issue Sunday, adding that she wanted to be better informed on the issue.

Contact the University Editor at