echoes sentinel

library should comply with porn ruling

7 august 2003

warren twp. - by a longtime resident - © recorder newspapers 2003

editor:

this letter is in response to the recent article published in the july 31 edition of the echoes-sentinel titled, "u.s. supreme court's porn decision is too restrictive for libraries."

after reading the article, i am very concerned about the welfare of my community and especially that of the children who have access to the computers in this very public place.

i am a longtime resident of warren township who spent many hours in the local public library while growing up.

of course, this was before the computer age, so my parents didn't have to worry about my having unlimited access to the now famous "wealth of knowledge" called the internet.

i now have two young children of my own who also spend time in the local library.

it is of great concern to me that children could be so easily exposed to pornography in such a public place.

i agree with the author of last week's article that public library computers should be filtered.� i also checked the public library's internet usage policy (http://www.somerset.lib.nj.us/internet.htm).� i was glad to see that children must have a signed "youth internet access registration" form.� however, i realize that even if i don't give permission to my children, they can still be exposed to pornography on the computer screens, on printouts or by the things people might do or say once their minds get racing after seeing pornography.

a few years ago i heard a long hill township public library patron had to call in the police for someone for viewing child pornography.

i had no idea at the time that it was the library's own policy which prevented the computers from being filtered, thereby attracting the criminal.

based on a the recent supreme court ruling that filtering library computers is not an issue with first amendment rights, the local library should have all its computers filtered whether or not it accepts federal funds that make it subject to the filtering decision.

i'll bet if we asked the members of the community if they wanted filtering on all public library computers an overwhelming majority would agree.

i find it appalling that someone accessing pornography in our public libraries is apparently acceptable in the eyes of the american library association (ala) yet the result of someone "exposing" themselves to patrons in any other public venue would result in an arrest for indecent exposure.

i urge people to make their feelings known to our public library and to our mayor and council members.

the public library's internet usage policy should be revised to comply with the supreme court's ruling.

thank you for bringing this serious matter to my attention and thank you to the author of last week's article for doing your homework.

you have helped bring to light a very serious issue that all parents and community members should be aware of.

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