|Librarian silenced by her leaders pushing "freedom"|
I think the “freedom of information” line is a lazy argument. Even if you could argue that we have a constitutional right to access porn under the guise of information, you cannot argue that it is the library’s responsibility to provide that information. There is a lot of “information” we don’t provide to people. We don’t provide conspiracy theory information; we resist pointing people to information on how to kill themselves; we don’t allow viewing of child pornography in the library. We don’t allow political solicitations or protesting. Like all freedoms, there are limits to what the library has to provide to people.
I’ve always thought that the “freedom to view porn” librarians were wrong, but a recent tragedy in our area has underlined that belief and confirmed it for me. I am a director of a library in a poor, rural area. We have a large population of home-school families. Many of these families do not own computers or have access to the Internet, so they come to the library on a regular basis to allow their children to do research, and do their studying. One such family, the Smiths (not their real name) came in all the time, and their small children would use our children’s computers, their older kids would use the adult computers. The Smiths were a deeply religious family, and some of the nicest people you would ever meet. The children were well-behaved, the parents nice and thoughtful. These parents were very involved in their children’s lives and we were always happy to see them in the library.
Our library does filter all our computers, so that we can receive e-rate funds. We would not be able to afford Internet access if we didn’t. Our children’s computers are very heavily filtered, while the adult computers are less so. We primarily filter porn sites, but as everyone knows, filters aren’t perfect, and every now and then, we see someone viewing porn and ask them to stop. If they don’t stop, we cut off their computer privileges and ask them to leave. I don’t think it is fair to other patrons to have to accidentally see something so inappropriate.
This is a real-world example of why allowing porn in libraries is a mistake. You never hear complaints from people “I went to the library and they wouldn’t let me look at porn.” Why in the world would these libraries choose the porn enthusiast over everyone else? Why would they put children at risk of viewing inappropriate things? We all know parents are responsible for what their children see, but why do some libraries think that is an excuse to allow a free-for-all on their public computers? Some things are not appropriate in public places, and pornography is one of them.
Unfortunately, the American Library Association has chosen the side of porn enthusiasts. They do not speak for most library workers, but it seems that many library administrators feel they must fall in line. Most library workers do not want porn in their libraries, because they know it’s inappropriate and don’t wish to be subjected to seeing it, or to deal with the inappropriate behaviors associated with porn-viewing (patrons exposing themselves, masturbating, etc.) They certainly don’t want to deal with the complaints from parents and other patrons who don’t wish to be subjected to pornographic images. We all want our libraries to be pleasant, comfortable places for ALL our patrons, not just the porn enthusiasts.
I’m writing this article anonymously, because I like my job, and don’t wish to hurt my chances for future employment by speaking out against the ALA. The ALA unfairly charges those of us who refuse to provide access to porn as “censors.” We are not trying to ban pornography everywhere, just in our libraries. Just in places where the public comes to read, study, play on the computer, and relax. Porn has no place in that.
I'm glad [that SafeLibraries provides free speech for silenced librarians], and can only hope it makes some difference to someone. This is a subject that bothers me greatly, but in libraryland, you have to be careful about what you say. Sometimes I feel like there are probably more of us who fight against porn in the libraries, than those who fight to allow it. But they've made us defensive by calling us censors. They've controlled the argument for a long time, it seems.
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The above is from an anonymous library director who asked me to publish it. SafeLibraries started from day one over a decade ago in part because I noticed my own public library made ALA's recommended auto-erotic asphyxiation web site available to my child:
- "Porn and Sex Abuse In Our Public Libraries: Public Library Porn Harms Children, Patrons, Librarians, and Porn Industry Actors," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 24 July 2011 (hyperlink omitted):
So I investigated my local public library and found it had a page called "Fun Sites for Kids and Teens." On that page was an ALA-recommended web site about bestiality and how to have a better orgasm by strangling yourself, and so on. The library director agreed the link was inappropriate and agreed to remove it, but it was never removed.
I went to the library board meeting and was told citizens are not sophisticated enough to make decisions—that why libraries have boards. So I started a web site to get people in the town organized. I suppose I'm a community organizer. Anyway, that led to my being noticed nationally.
Come to find ALA may have been involved in the equation that lead to the death of a boy, according to what the anonymous library director just revealed. "Mike somehow developed an interest in auto-erotic asphyxiation"? In my library that "somehow" was the ALA. As ALA said about what it recommended that described auto-erotic asphyxiation, "The friendly, anonymous format is probably quite appealing to young adults." I apologize I could did not put a stop to this in time to prevent what happened to "Mike" though I tried. But I'm one person against over four decades of ALA propaganda that began with an Illinois ACLU board member joining ALA and changing it from within to promote porn and silence opposition.
I need more anonymous librarians to contact me and to speak out to stop this craziness.
The image at the top of the page comes from the following, and note the quote and the need for a pseudonym:
"Freedom," by CCL, Concerned Librarians of British Columbia, 1 June 2012:
librarians themselves have no protection against those would would silence and censor an opinion that is different from opinions held by those in positions of authority and power.
- "The Anything Goes ALA is Out of the Mainstream by Defending the Right of Children to Access Pornography in Public Libraries," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 2 March 2010, citing the great Will Manley:
Why is there such a disconnect between our profession and everyone else on this particular issue? More specifically, how could we have allowed ourselves to be put in such a publicly disadvantageous position as defending the right of children to access pornography? The answer is simple and ironic. Our profession preaches intellectual freedom but does not tolerate its practice within our own ranks. Librarians imbued with common sense and good political judgment are afraid to espouse even a moderate position that advocates the limited use of filters. There is a great fear within librarianship of being branded a censor. No librarian wants to be wounded by that bullet. That's why we can never really initiate an open and honest dialogue among ourselves on issues involving even the most obvious need for limitations of intellectual freedom. As a result, the extremists always dominate, and we end up with an "anything goes" official policy that distances the library profession from mainstream America.
|"If you don't like it, leave,"|
from Wilson v. Birmingham
- "Liars and Tigers and Porn... Oh My!," by Linda Zec, Life According to Linda, 9 November 2013.
- "This Orland Park Library Porn Has a Life of its Own," by Linda Zec, Life According to Linda, 15 November 2013.
NOTE ADDED 23 NOVEMBER 2013:
This post has been cited by Megan Fox here:
- "Why the American Library Association Wants Porn in Libraries; Now We See the Consequences of Another Cultural Institution Infiltrated by Radicals," by Megan Fox, PJ Media, 23 November 2013.
URL of this page: safelibraries.blogspot.com/2013/11/ALAKillsBoy.html
On Twitter: @LindaZec @OrlandPkLibrary @OIF @VillageOrlandPk