From the Library Director – October 5, 2014

The Right to View?

In the decade since the Supreme Court upheld the implementation of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), internet filtering has become a frequent practice in public libraries. CIPA’s authority to govern internet filtering policies in public schools and public libraries draws on the power of Congress to attach requirements to the funds it distributes. Because there is no requirement that a school or library accept federal funds, CIPA applies only to the schools and libraries that choose to accept e-rate discounts or Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants for their internet access. (American Libraries magazine, 4/2/2013, Stone)

Now you are possibly thinking:  the library finally ran out of things to say.  However, we bring this up for a reason.  While the Library Bill of Rights exists to guarantee that the public has the right to not have overly filtered internet, let me assure you that children and staff members appreciate not being exposed to pictures of your Facebook friends, on email buddies, or Snapchat pals in various states of undress.

The public needs to remember that children could walk behind you on their way to the children’s library or the water cooler and innocently be exposed to graphic images.  We guarantee the public that the staff will request that a viewer switch to a back computer or change websites without the slightest hesitation if children are in the vicinity.

It boils down to common sense.  If you are in a space where your screen is easily visible, be aware that you should be more selective in what you are viewing.  It isn’t censorship. We are not judging anyone. We are simply reminding you that others might not want to feel like they need to gouge out their eyeballs.  We don’t have one of those cute little “flashy things” from Men in Black I, II and III to erase memories, but there are days when we wish we did.

If we had more space, the location of the public computers would be much different, but for those individuals filling out job applications, requiring assistance with documents, printing and downloading; it is handy to have the computers near the circulation desk.

Until next week, read another good book!