Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Librarian of Congress Nominee Carla Hayden Misleads Congress But Speaks Truth About Filtering

Librarian of Congress nominee Carla Hayden misleads Congress but also speaks the truth about Internet filtering.  On 20 April 2016, she appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.  She spoke with Chairman Senator Roy Blunt at the confirmation hearing about the American Library Association [ALA] on matters regarding child safety and the Internet.  She is the former ALA President who presided when the US Supreme Court decided United States v. American Library Association, 539 US 194 (2003).  US v. ALA ruled there is no First Amendment right to Internet pornography in public libraries.

Below is a transcript of a portion of her testimony, followed by how she misled Congress and what she said that was right.  She should not be confirmed.

Here is video of the portion of the testimony transcribed below:


Senator Roy Blunt:
Got a couple of other questions. You know, being the President of the American Library Association is I'm sure a great honor, but maybe not an unmixed blessing because suddenly you’re responsible for everything that's being talked about as part of the Association. There a couple of, couple areas of criticism that you and I have talked about and I'd like to get your response to those on the record today. One was when the, when the Congress passed the Children's Internet Protection Act, um, the, uh, American Library Association challenged the constitutionality of that arguing that it violated, uh, the First Amendment. And I know beginning then as a leader of the national organization through really, up till now you’ve, you’ve commented on this several times, but, you wanna talk about that whole issue of, uh, what kind of violation that would have been and then the issue of what kinds of things need to happen in a library to be sure the children don't have access to material that we wouldn't want children to have access to, and then how often you have to revisit that whole concept?

Dr. Carla Hayden:
I really appreciate, um, that question, Senator, because there's been quite a bit of just misinterpretation of the Library Association’s position during that time.  That was in 2003/2004, and at that time the filters that would have been required, um, for libraries to install were found to prohibit access to very important health information and the most notable at that time was breast cancer. And since that time, um, the technology has improved and the filters that are installed to receive federal funding in my, my library, The Pratt Library, and in its state role has installed filters, have improved, and the need to be vigilant is also something that libraries are doing in not only to the technological aspect but just plain physical arrangements of computers, making sure that there are face-out positioning of computer monitors, as well as very few, if any, cubicles that contain computers as well. And education and making sure that people know that pornography is illegal and we do not support that in any shape or form.

Senator Roy Blunt:
So you don’t think, you don't think that pornography, illegal, as you described it, has a place in the library?

Dr. Carla Hayden:
Not online, no.

Senator Roy Blunt:
And there are at the same time, things in lib-, in the library that aren't appropriate for everybody that visits the library to see.

Dr. Carla Hayden:
Right. And, Senator, the way you, um, described it is, is, is exactly the way that libraries even design their buildings and the furniture and making sure there’s even signage that, uh, unaccompanied adults in children sections are, um, are going to be questioned. There are so many safety measures that are put in public libraries and even college and university libraries to make sure that, um, minors are safe and that they are not exposed to, um, objectionable material, as far as we can prevent.

Senator Roy Blunt:
And while your final degree was a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, a very highly respected institution, your, a lot of your early work was as a children's librarian, a lot of early focus was that, so these are issues that you have always cared about?

Dr. Carla Hayden:
Yes, and its been, um, interesting to see how, and I mentioned earlier, with the, uh, "C" for caution with copyright, that if you pay attention in the front end that it sometimes really helps in terms of later and working with young people and seeing what imagination can be sparked. 3D printers now are in libraries and that’s the perfect time to let young people know that all of this information that you can now get on your device is not free for you to use and just, uh, put your name on it. So, I've been very involved in youth issues for quite a while.

Senator Roy Blunt:
Well I thought, I thought, uh, just the example you gave of how you early on expressed to somebody the importance of their own creative work was an indication of the way you would approach a number of these issues. On another, uh, thing from the American Library Association, when the PATRIOT Act was passed, um, librarians objected to a particular part of that and, in fact fact, the law was changed I think for what's now called the Librarian's Provision. You wanna talk about that a little bit?

Dr. Carla Hayden:
Yes, that was a, um, quite a time, that was also in 2003/2004, and the entire nation was concerned about security, and it was a time of great apprehension and people were going into libraries to find information about all of the different aspects of what was going on and the library community was just conc-, very concerned that in the quest for, um, security and making sure, uh, that we were all safe that the public's rights were also considered as well. And since that time there have been a number of reforms to the PATRIOT Act with the approval of Congress that have helped alleviate the library communities concerns and we are, and I think I can also, uh, say that the American Library Association is, um, very pleased at the progress that’s been made to balance security and personal rights.

Senator Roy Blunt:
And so would an example of that, Dr. Hayden, would an example of that be under that, uh, under that original discussion there was some thought that law enforcement might be able to come in and just say we'd like to look through your records and see who's been looking at certain books, certain, looking up certain things, or even we'd like to look at a certain person’s, uh library record, without a court saying that that was necessary, was that the concern?

Dr. Carla Hayden:
That was um the the basis of it, and especially the bulk collection of information about who was interested in a subject. What we were concerned about and especially at that time in 2003/2004, that interest in a subject would be or could be misinterpreted as intent to do something. So interest and intent were not equal, we were saying.

Senator Roy Blunt:
I think that's um, that’s a position I believe the country has generally come, come to, and I think your explanation of 2002 and 3 was also a good one that everybody’s trying to figure out what, what can we do to stop this from happening again and sometimes that requires a lengthy discussion as to the right way to do that. Any, uh, follow up questions, Senator Cochran, Senator Boozman? Well, we will, um, have the record open until the time I announced earlier for, uh, additional questions. Anything you want to add, Dr. Hayden, that you wished had been asked that wasn't, any topic, uh, you wanna cover?

Dr. Carla Hayden:
Well, I had a few. Uh, and I, I just wanted though to, to thank everyone, um, for their support and for your consideration, um, Mr. Chairman, and, um, I really appreciate this opportunity and to be nominated it as a librarian, a career, career librarian, I must tell you this one of the highest honors and I thank you for this opportunity.

Senator Roy Blunt:
Thank you. This hearing’s adjourned.


Dr. Carla Hayden materially misled Congress by saying ALA is about "making sure that people know that pornography is illegal and we do not support that in any shape or form."  That is false.

ALA's position is not that pornography is illegal.  Rather, it is that pornography has no legal definition ("The word 'pornography' has no meaning in the law, and there is no agreed-upon definition for the term.").  As James LaRue, the Director of ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom wrote to me just yesterday, "you should know by now that THERE IS NO LEGAL DEFINITION OF PORNOGRAPHY."  Emphasis his.  It's as if US v. ALA doesn't exist.

So for Carla Hayden to say the ALA is about making sure "people know that pornography is illegal" is simply false.  Had she told the truth of ALA's position, that pornography has no legal definition therefore librarians must not take action to block it, she would have portrayed ALA as the extremist organization it is with her as its former extremist leader.  This is why she lied.  She wants to get into the Librarian of Congress position, and from there she can force the ALA worldview on the entire nation, not just public and school libraries.

Even Senator Roy Blunt picked up on her claim ALA is concerned about "making sure that people know that pornography is illegal" as he followed up saying, "So you don’t think, you don't think that pornography, illegal, as you described it, has a place in the library?"  Carla Hayden responded, "not online, no."

Also, librarians will not protect children from pornography, only parents ("What About Protecting Children From Pornography, Whether Or Not It Is Legally Obscene?  The primary responsibility for rearing children rests with parents. If parents want to keep certain ideas or forms of expression away from their children, they must assume the responsibility for shielding those children. Governmental institutions cannot be expected to usurp or interfere with parental obligations and responsibilities when it comes to deciding what a child may read or view.")  Even ALA's so-called "Library Bill of Rights" makes it age discrimination for librarians to keep any material whatsoever from children.

ALA is so extreme that it trains librarians not to report child pornography!  The source comes directly from ALA:

Libraries and librarians are not in a position to make those decisions for library users or for citizens generally. Only courts have constitutional authority to determine, in accordance with due process, what materials are obscenity, child pornography, or “harmful to minors.”
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 naturally directed toward the source, i.e., the publishers, of such material.
So, straight from ALA's "Guidelines and Considerations for Developing a Public Library Internet Use Policy," librarians are or have been trained they are in no position to decide what is child pornography.

Based on that (they are not judges) it tells them not to help the police. Still more policy (not shown above) tells them to delete public records such as browser histories precisely to thwart the police.

ALA plays a game. "Only courts have constitutional authority to determine, in accordance with due process, what materials are ... child pornography...."  That is an impossible standard.  Impossible.  Why?  Because the standard requires that a judge determine if a web site is child porn before a librarian may also determine whether it is child porn by following the judge's lead.  Sounds good, right?  It's not.  There are hundreds of thousands of child porn web sites.  There would have to be hundreds of thousands of completed cases to find them to be child porn.  That is an impossible standard.  It will never happen.  In the infinitely impossible chance that it would, perhaps via class action or mass tort liability, by that time another hundred thousand sites would replace those.

It is just ridiculous to demand that a librarian may only determine what is a child porn site if a court first makes that decision.  Yet Carla Hayden says ALA is about "making sure that people know that pornography is illegal and we do not support that in any shape or form."  That is false and it is knowingly false given has was ALA's former leader and her statements were intended to mislead Congress about ALA so her nomination would be confirmed.  Then she would be in a position to apply ALA's extremist child pornography views to the nation as a whole.

To exemplify the seriousness of the matter, libraries are following ALA's guidance and covering up instances of child pornography.  One such library did that in Illinois.  Here is its legal council advising the library not to report child porn viewing and instead protect the patron privacy of the child porn viewers:
Were Carla Hayden to have told Congress the truth, she would have said ALA advises librarians not to report child pornography, not to help the police, and protect the patron privacy rights of the child porn viewers.  Had she said that, the nation would have had an eye opening and shocking moment of truth, and she would never be confirmed for Librarian of Congress.  Instead, she lied, saying ALA wants to "mak[e] sure that people know that pornography is illegal and we do not support that in any shape or form."

So Carla Hayden successfully lied about ALA, saying what the public believes but not what she knows is happening since she once led the effort to mislead the public as ALA's president, thereby accomplishing two goals.  She ensured people will stay ignorant of the harm caused by the extremist ALA, and she is setting herself up to be confirmed as Librarian of Congress where she will spread ALA's pro-child porn policy nationwide and no one will lift a finger to stop her.

Later she says, "There are so many safety measures that are put in public libraries and even college and university libraries to make sure that, um, minors are safe and that they are not exposed to, um, objectionable material, as far as we can prevent."  As explained above and supported with sources from ALA itself, that is just false.  ALA has no concern in the slightest for the safety of minors.  After ALA ensured a library in Illinois retained Playboy magazine despite an unanimous government asking the library to stop buying the magazine since it was making it available to children, ALA's de facto leader Judith Krug told the Chicago Tribune, "I get very concerned when we start hearing people who want to convert this country into a safe place for children."

That's the true ALA.  Not the false picture Carla Hayden portrayed to make ALA look good and to mislead Congress into confirming her nomination for Librarian of Congress.

And libraries are true to ALA.  One library in New Jersey had a complaint from a mother about her eleven-year-old boy seeing hardcore pornography in the children's section of the library.  The library reacted by blaming the boy and holding secret meetings in violation of state sunshine laws to insert ALA's pro child-porn policies into its own policy to ensure children could continue to access pornography on the computers in the children' section.  The library even destroyed public records in violation of yet another law to thwart the application of more state sunshine laws.  And the policy changes it made in secret where the exact recommendations of ALA, almost word for word.  I filed suit against this library, the case is still open, and the children still get access to hardcore porn in the children's section.

So when Carla Hayden says, "There are so many safety measures that are put in public libraries and even college and university libraries to make sure that, um, minors are safe and that they are not exposed to, um, objectionable material, as far as we can prevent," that is knowingly and purposefully false.

Again, had she said the truth, that ALA regards minors exactly as adults and allows them to access Internet pornography despite state laws that instantiate libraries preventing that, and despite the US Supreme Court and common sense, she would have shocked the nation and would never be confirmed.


Dr. Carla Hayden did get some things absolutely correct and in that regard she was honest.  However, she knows ALA's position is the exact opposite, knows she would look extremist if she stated ALA's true position, and she would never be confirmed as no one wants a Librarian of Congress who intentionally and secretively lowers the barriers between children and inappropriate material.

So Carla Hayden said, "right," when asked if "there are ... things ... in the library that aren't appropriate for everybody that visits the library to see."  Were she truthful, she would have expressed her adherence to the "Library Bill of Rights" and said librarians only provide material, they do not make age distinctions.

Here's what Dr. Hayden got right::
That was in 2003/2004, and at that time the filters that would have been required, um, for libraries to install were found to prohibit access to very important health information and the most notable at that time was breast cancer. And since that time, um, the technology has improved and the filters that are installed to receive federal funding in my, my library, The Pratt Library, and in its state role has installed filters, have improved....
That's right!  Internet filters have greatly improved in a dozen years.  They no longer block breast cancer research, for example.  Carla Hayden is right to say that.

But she is misleading in that she does not reveal ALA tells people the opposite, that filters do not work, and that libraries should not use them.

Here again is that Illinois library mentioned above telling the public that filters block breast cancer:
Bittman said filters would not only limit a patron’s rights, they could ban access to sites college students or people doing research might need to access. Being denied access to the word “breast” might prevent a person from looking up breast cancer, for example, she said.
And that statement was after ALA was forced to admit filters no longer block breast cancer research: "Ross Reynolds (9:05):  Back to you, uh, Barbara Jones, uh, Dean [Marney who won state and federal library filtering cases] says he's got filtering software there that just works perfectly.  Barbara Jones (9:12):  Um, I would like to say that, yeah, the breast cancer example probably is kinda old these days…."

Yet to this day ALA still says, "Filtering in Libraries Causes Patron Needs to Go Unmet."

Carla Hayden, while correctly saying Internet filters nowadays work well, completely ignores that ALA misleads people into thinking they do not.  A third of libraries across the nation follow ALA's erroneous advice and leave children exposed to harm, according to CIPA's author.

And ALA will not change its position on Internet filters even after Carla Hayden said the "technology has improved" and library filters no longer "prohibit access to very important health information [including] breast cancer."

What Carla Hayden said was just for public consumption; it will have no effect on ALA and Dr. Hayden knows that but chose to mislead Congress anyway.


Carla Hayden made materially false statements to Congress to make her ALA look mainstream and herself look like a reasonable choice for Librarian of Congress as a result.  She should not be confirmed.  She would not be confirmed had she told the truth.

She made statements about Internet filtering and about concern for child safety that are truthful but that go directly counter to the misinformation ALA currently uses to mislead communities into facilitating child pornography nationwide.  Those statements should be used to counteract ALA's ability to mislead communities, to shine light on what libraries are supposed to be, not what they have become under ALA's worldview.

But Carla Hayden chose to mislead Congress as she did.  She should not be confirmed.  Another nominee should be found, one who is honest and who is not looking at the Librarian of Congress position as a means to further spread the extremist, pro-child porn policies of the American Library Association.


Updated link to US v. ALA.


As I noted in the story above, ALA changed its child porn facilitation policy online to no longer tell librarians they are not judges so they should ignore child pornography viewing.  I believe this was done as a result of my conversation with ALA's OIF leader just days ago who continued to defend the policy to me.  It could also be the result of pressure from other child porn whistleblowers, or a combination thereof.


As I am obviously the leading critic of the confirmation of Carla Hayden, ALA has an interest in making people ignore what I say.  I have been talking about ALA's child porn facilitation for a long time, even right here in this post.  ALA has quietly changed the online policy to remove the offending language WHILE LEAVING IN THE OLD DATE OF LAST CHANGE so when people see the policy does not say what I said it says, and they see the old date of last change, they will disbelieve me.

And here is the effect of that effort to mislead the public about what I am saying about Carla Hayden right here in a story about me on Wonkette since the guy looks for what I quoted and instead finds the new, days-old ALA language, then I'm mocked -- and I cannot respond here as Wonkette blocked me from responding:



See also:

URL of this page: safelibraries.blogspot.com/2016/05/carla-hayden.html

On Twitter: @ALALibrary @LibraryCongress @RoyBlunt

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Utah Library Filters Would Protect Children

Utah Library Filters Would Protect Children
Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE

Washington, DC – Following Utah’s recent resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis, Utah legislators are seeking to protect children from exposure to pornography on the Internet at public libraries. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) commends these efforts, and dispels the myth that computer filters infringe on education.

“Childhood exposure to pornography can have devastating effects, and public libraries must do their part to prevent it,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Pornography decreases brain matter in areas related to decision making and motivation, shapes the sexual template of the viewer to accept violence against women, and is dangerous to children who are highly susceptible to developing compulsive behaviors and addictions. Further, when patrons are viewing pornography in a library it turns a once safe community setting into a XXX space. This fosters child sexual abuse, sexual assault, exhibitionism, stalking, and lewd behavior, all of which have occurred in libraries in America after patrons watched pornography at libraries. It is therefore vital that libraries install filtering systems to safeguard children.”

“The main opponents to library filters have warped agendas,” Hawkins continued. “The Free Speech Coalition—a pornography industry lobbying association—makes the outdated claim that Internet filters are unable to distinguish between pornographic websites and educational sites about pregnancy and sex education. This is rubbish. Technology has come a long way since the early 1990s. Today’s filtering systems are highly accurate and allow for authentic educational sites to be accessed by all.”

“Further, the Utah Library Association has claimed that the filters suggested by Utah legislators would be redundant since filters are required for forms of federal and state library funding. However, among some library filtering systems currently in use, filtering mechanisms are easily bypassed. Additionally, the American Library Association (ALA) has systematically misinformed libraries that they would be ‘violating First Amendment rights’ to install said filtering, and so, many libraries refrain from using them. The ALA disseminates this misinformation despite the fact that the Supreme Court has upheld that Internet filters at public libraries do not violate First Amendment rights. For this reason the ALA has been placed on NCOSE’s annual Dirty Dozen List for the past four years.”

“Why are these groups so dead set on exposing children to pornography? The porn industry is a big money business seeking consumers, but that doesn’t give them the right to harm the lives of children in their pursuit of profit. As for the ALA, their reckless policy position is an enigma; they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that the First Amendment is not a license to provide unfettered access to illegal, obscene materials in public settings. Parents, educators, and librarians can learn more about protecting their children and communities for the harms of pornography by visiting our Safe Schools Safe Libraries webpage,” Hawkins concluded.

To learn more about NCOSE’s project calling for filtering at libraries and schools, visit http://endsexualexploitation.org/sssl/

If you would like to schedule an interview, please contact Haley Halverson at (202) 393-7245 or haley@ncose.com.

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization dedicated to opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, and addiction. NCOSE embraces a mission to defend human dignity and to advocate for the universal right of sexual justice, which is freedom from sexual exploitation, objectification, and violence.


National Center on Sexual Exploitation
1100 G St., NW Washington, DC 20005.

May 19, 2016

Contact: Haley Halverson

URL of this page: safelibraries.blogspot.com/2016/05/utah-library-filters.html

On Twitter: @ALALibrary @CreativeLibUtah +fox13now @Fox13Now @Porn_Harms @UtahLibAssoc

Thursday, May 12, 2016

ALA's Child Porn Facilitation and Homophobia Exposed in Whistleblowers' New Book

American Library Association's child pornography facilitation in America's public libraries and its homophobia is about to be exposed in a book available soon on Amazon.

The book is "Shut Up! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment," by Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan.

Here is the book teaser on YouTube:

So?  What do you think?  Tell us in comments below.


You know how librarians decry censorship (yet no book's been censored since 1963) and complain (rightly) about parents who challenge school books they didn't read first?  Well, in yet another double standard, that doesn't stop them from attacking the authors and their book before it is even published.  They oppose people seeing the dirty laundry they created and perpetuated.  And it doesn't stop them from the censorship of comments supportive of the book and its authors.  So they literally make things up to deride people then censor anyone who defends, as I did, in this case.

Here's a perfect example, with my comments censored, and the derision starts right in the title:
The funniest part is Wonkette pixelates what libraries allow per ALA diktat but not per the law, thereby tacitly admitting Megan Fox and Keven DuJan are right:


Here the link to buy the book.  I bought five.

See also:

URL of this page: safelibraries.blogspot.com/2016/05/shutup.html

On Twitter: @ALALibrary +Amazon.com @Amazon @MeganFoxWriter @OIF @StoryTimeDigita +YouTube @YouTube

Monday, May 9, 2016

Wasteful Government Spending at Orland Park Public Library: Conferences

Orland Park Public Library
Virtual Services Manager Jason Rock
The Orland Park Public Libraryhas a well-earned reputation for being a problem child library with spending problems.  This is the same library that was caught using taxpayer money to buy its board members gold jewelryand fancy steak dinners.  It's also the library that squandered half a million dollars or more3 fighting FOIA production and violating the Open Meetings Act (while also wasting taxpayer money on expensive donuts, out of town trips, and other treats for staff and board members).  While the reckless spending seems to have been toned down when it comes to board member gold and steak dinners, in one area the waste of taxpayer money seems to continue unabated at the OPPL: sending staff off on expensive trips to "conferences."

With public entities all across our state forever moaning about budget problems (or in the case of the OPPL, insisting they need endless levy increases and more taxpayer money), isn't it time to start questioning how necessary out of town trips are for staff members who want to go to fancy conferences?  Couldn't the learning they need be done right here in Illinois, particularly for public employees who are so close to Chicago (which is one of the training and conference capitals of the world).

Why does the Orland Park Public Library need to use taxpayer money on a trip for two to San Francisco?

In March 2016, the OPPL sent Assistant Director Robin Wagner, pictured below, and Virtual Services Manager Jason Rock,4 pictured top right, on an all-expenses-paid-by-taxpayers jaunt to San Francisco, California, to attend something called the "2016 Innovative Users Group Conference."  Large sums of taxpayer money are funneled into lobbying groups like the American Library Association (ALA) by way of these conferences, as public employees spend many hundreds of dollars just to register for the conference.  Groups like the ALA that put on these conferences then use that taxpayer money to lobby state and local governments for changes that benefit the organizations.  Those changes are not always beneficial to the public.  Without these conferences (and the annual membership dues that public employees pay to groups like the ALA), these lobbyists would not have nearly the revenue stream they currently do with so much public funds being funneled into them by way of the registrations for these events.

This is one of the great injustices in our country right now: taxpayer money every day is being handed over by public employees to lobbying groups who then push agendas that harm taxpayers.  This is like money being taken from you and then giving to someone who will punch you in the face at some point.  So you end up, in effect, paying someone to punch you in the face.  This wealth transfer from public bodies to private lobbying groups by way of expensive conferences has to stop.

Orland Park Public Library
Assistant Director Robin Wagner
The OPPL spent $650 just to register Wagner and Rock for this conference.  Thousands of public employees attended this event.  That's a lot of taxpayer money ending up in the hands of a lobbying group...but at what benefit to the public?

Was it worth all this to send two public employees to San Francisco for several days (or was it all just a big punch in the public's face)?
  • $650.00 for conference registration
  • $396.97 for Wagner's plane ticket
  • $1,232.24 for Wagner's hotel charges and food
  • $407.20 for Rock's plane ticket
  • $869.88 for Rock's hotel charges
  • $98.89 for Rock's food
TOTAL = $3,655.185 (not including the payroll costs for Wagner and Rock to still be paid their salaries for the four days they were away from the OPPL on their San Francisco trip, but were still on the clock)

Some of the illegally obtained gold and money
returned to Orland Park Public Library
Was this San Francisco trip for two worth all those thousands of dollars...or could everything they learned have been done in Chicago at similar events or online in virtual training sessions?

While public employees might all love the idea of taking a "free" trip to San Francisco, no trip is really "free" because taxpayers have to foot the bill for all of this.

One of the most easily controlled expenses that public bodies can look at as a way to trim budgets is to evaluate the necessity of out-of-town travel for public employees.  Is flying all the way out to San Francisco really the best use of public money?  Should a library that always pleads poverty and desperation when it's time to raise the tax levy again really be sending not one but TWO of its employees to California for a conference, when it doesn't look like anything said or done at the conference couldn't have been achieved at similar events closer to home?  Did you know Innovative holds the same training sessions in Chicago?

If Illinois ever wants to start digging its way out of the financial mess that it's in, one place to start may be saying NO once in a while to employees who want to go far away to expensive conferences.

  1. Orland Park Public Library, Village of Orland Park, Cook County, Illinois:  http://www.orlandparklibrary.org/
  2. "Orland Park Library Trustees Return Some Of the Gold They Took for Personal Use," Illinois Leaks (Edgar County Watchdogs), 13 September 2015:  http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2015/09/orland-park-library-trustees-return-some-of-the-gold-they-took-for-personal-use/
  3. "Orland Park Library Spent $480,000 Fighting Open Records and Open Meetings Laws," 7 April 2015:  http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2015/04/orland-park-library-spent-480000-fighting-open-records-and-open-meetings-laws/
  4. "Orland Park Public Library Didn't Learn From Their $55K FOIA Loss," by John Kraft, 21 September 2015:  http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2015/09/orland-park-public-library-didnt-learn-from-their-55k-foia-loss/
  5. OPPL FOIA Response: "Orland Park Public Library San Francisco Spending 2016": http://tinyurl.com/IUG2016


The above is written by Kevin DuJan and is based on the library's FOIA response to him.


It is possible the above exposé led to the immediate resignations of the two people named above, including one who resigned the next day then left a day or two later:


And in another crooked Cook County, Illinois, library:

URL of this page: safelibraries.blogspot.com/2016/05/OPPL-wasteful-spending.html

On Twitter: @iii_Innovative @InnovativeUsers @OrlandPkLibrary

Sunday, May 1, 2016

OPRA Request for Minutes, Forms, and Training

Dear Westfield Memorial Library Board of Directors (via Director Philip Israel):

OPRA Request:

This is a request for public records made under common law and the Open Public Records Act [OPRA] seeking the following information:

1)  Minutes of the 28 April 2016 Board of Trustees Meeting.

In short, please provide the minutes from the immediate past board meeting.

2)  Records of planning to file and filing forms entitled, “Request and Authorization for Records Disposal.”  Include related correspondence, notes, telephonic recordings, etc.  Here is an example blank form: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/rms/pdf/DisposalForm11.pdf Include responses from the State of New Jersey.

In short, please provide the documents evidencing permission from the State of New Jersey to dispose of various public records, for example, permission to destroy an audio recording of the 28 May 2015 executive session.

3)  Records of planning to file and online filing of forms filed with Artemis (Records Retention and Disposition Management System): http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/rms/artemis.shtml  Include related correspondence, notes, telephonic recordings, etc.  Include responses from the State of New Jersey.

In short, please provide the online evidence showing permission from the State of New Jersey to dispose of various public records, for example, permission to destroy an audio recording of the 28 May 2015 executive session.

4)  Records of all conferences and all training provided over the past two years for librarians, library employees, library board trustees, and the library director where that conference/training was provided directly or indirectly by the American Library Association, the New Jersey Library Association, the New Jersey State Library, or other library conference/training providers, including correspondence/email, notes taken in handwriting or electronically by individuals, telephonic recordings, handouts, conference/training manuals, online training sources, permission slips, travel accommodations paid, fees and costs paid, airfare, car reimbursements, hotel stays, conference/training admission, meals, and other expenses involved in attending the conferences, etc.  Include presentations or reports written by librarians, library employees, library board trustees, and the library director after returning from the conferences/trainings where they recorded or shared their learnings at the conferences/trainings.  Exclude any conferences/training devoted solely to the workings of various machinery or software within the library, unless that conference/training includes legal aspects of software usage.  For example, training on how to use Internet filters may be excluded unless that training includes legal aspects pertaining to the use of Internet filters.

In short, please provide the who, what, when, where, subject matter, and complete training provided and notes taken of all training provided to librarians, library employees, library board trustees, and the library director by several leading library conference/training sources.  Include reports written by attendees to present to others that summarize what was learned.

Detailed Reasoning for OPRA Request:

Now I will go into detailed reasoning for this request.  

As you know an audio recording was made of the 28 May 2015 executive session meeting by the library board.  It was converted to minutes that were provided to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office [UCPO].  The next day I was informed by UCPO that, based on the minutes, no Open Public Meetings Act violation occurred.  Having previously told UCPO that a recording was made, I asked it to reconsider and to listen to the recording instead of just considering the minutes.  UCPO refused, responding only that it could not do that as the library board had destroyed the tape.

At the 28 April 2016 library board meeting I confirmed with the library that the UCPO claim that the recording was destroyed was accurate.

New Jersey law regarding the destruction of public records comprises audio recordings of executive sessions made by municipal bodies.  The law requires that audio recordings may not be destroyed until “80 days or until either summary or verbatim transcript have been approved as minutes, whichever is longer.”  Further, “to legally dispose of records, agencies must fill out and submit a Request and Authorization for Records Disposal form. County and local officials may submit requests on-line.”  Hyperlinks omitted.

Therefore, I am seeking evidence that such written or online forms were completed in compliance with the law.  I am seeking evidence that the State of New Jersey replied to such completed forms.

I am also seeking evidence of any training provided to librarians, library employees, library board trustees, and the library director by major library training providers at conferences or at dedicated trainings.  Said training would reveal if anyone received training on New Jersey’s records retention policies or such policies in general.  I am seeking all training information, not just training information pertaining only to the records retention policies, but I’m not interested in training solely about machinery or software usage, unless such training contains information about the legal usage of Internet filters.

Further, there is a book that makes clear library record retention is a serious matter not to be taken lightly by library boards and library directors and warning that violations are serious violations of state laws.  Since it is evident the library community has been aware of the seriousness of library record retention policies for decades since the book was published, there can be no legitimate excuse for not following state record retention laws.

I provide this detailed reasoning for the requested public records to make it clear the records I seek are public records, are legally required, are available to the public upon request, this request is not made frivolously or with any self-interest, and there is the potential for uncovering serious illegality if records were destroyed in violation of the law, particularly if that illegality was performed in furtherance of a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act and an effort to cover up such a violation.

Legal Guideposts If Needed:

There should be no need to seek legal counsel for compliance with this OPRA request.  I am hoping to get the requested public records without significant cost to the municipality and without your having to sink time and taxpayer money into seeking permission from an attorney, a costly intermediary that is not needed for this OPRA request.  Yes, redact out home phone numbers, home addresses, account numbers, personal email addresses if not used for library business, etc.  I am only seeking public information,  It is easy to redact or block any personal portions of such records.  It is a simple matter to look in various files and produce the simple information I request under the law.  It is public information.  If an insistence is made on draining taxpayer resources by engaging the services of an attorney to provide the public with public documents under the law that the library can provide without legal intervention, a step that is superfluous to obtaining the requested public records, then the following legal guideposts might help minimize the damage by providing a head start:

Information About the OPRA Requester and the OPRA Request:

I am a member of the news media and I will be reporting on the materials produced in response to this records request as part of my investigative reporting on public libraries locally and nationwide.  I have already published my first report on the Westfield Memorial Library: “Library Approves Unfiltered Computers in Children's Section” (http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2015/11/wml.html ).  For about fifteen years I regularly publish about library crimes including violations of open government laws.  I may make public any OPRA response as it may be in the public interest, both locally and nationally.  Therefore, please waive any fees that might otherwise pertain to OPRA requests.

I request the OPRA response be in electronic format and emailed directly or via attachment to me ( SafeLibraries@gmail.com ). 

To make things really easy, here is the OPRA statute:  http://www.state.nj.us/grc/act.html

OPRA requires a response time of seven business days.  If access to the records I am requesting will take longer, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies.

If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption alleged to justify the refusal to release the public records and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.  Also, please provide all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material.


I am a member of the American Library Association.  I recently became a member of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government ( http://njfog.org ).  NJFOG provides training that has significantly enhanced my knowledge of open government rights.  Further, I am now a part of community of open government advocates who are now watching what I’m doing to expose open government violations and defend open government rights.  I highly suggest people at Westfield Memorial Library join NJFOG as it will help them learn about open government rights and regulations.  

Lastly, I have ordered a copy of the Shirley A. Wiegand book on library records.  I am hereby offering to lend it to anyone at the library, including library counsel.  It may guide the library board to stop the deleting of public records such as Internet browser histories that may help police solve crimes, including child p0rn0graphy viewing, until coming into compliance with New Jersey law.

Thank you for your consideration.

Dan Kleinman, Library Watchdog

1 May 2016

CC:  Professor Shirley A. Wiegand
        NJ Foundation for Open Government

URL of this page:  safelibraries.blogspot.com/2016/05/opra-request.html

On Twitter:  @ALALibrary @NewJerseyFOG @WMLNJ