city � there is no filtering of internet information
at the mason city public library � but there is a zero
tolerance policy for misuse, a library official said
some advocacy groups are pushing for internet filters
at libraries after an incident involving a homeless
sex offender in des moines.
police say james effler jr. molested a toddler
in a restroom at des moines' main public library. effler
told police he used library computers to view pornography
many times, authorities said, but he had not logged
on the day he was arrested.
penny moorehead, assistant director at the mason city
public library, said the american library association
opposes internet filtering and so does the mason city
�the library association says it is like removing pages
from a book. the internet is one large book,� she said.
�filtering information can prevent people from
having information they need,� said moorehead. �if you
filter out the word `breast,� you also filter out all
information on breast cancer,� she said.
moorehead said the internet area of the library is in
a public location and is closely monitored. �we have
a zero tolerance for anyone misusing it,� she said.
dan kleinman of chatham, n.j., founder of the plan 2
succeed citizens group, wants all libraries to have
�this is a sad thing. children are being raped and molested
in public libraries, and it's often a result of pornography
being available in public libraries,'' he said.
katherine martin, president of the iowa library association,
said she supports open access to legal information,
which includes legal pornography, so long as other library
patrons are protected from seeing it.
about 14 percent of iowa's 543 public libraries and
26 branches use filters, according to a 2004 survey
by the information use management and policy institute.
the survey said about 77 percent do not filter at all,
while 7 percent use a blanket filter for all computers
in the library.
nationally, 52 percent of libraries do not filter internet-ready
computers. about 17 percent filter each computer.
in 2003, the u.s. supreme court said the federal government
can withhold money from public libraries that do not
use filtering devices under the children's internet
in the oct. 4 case in des moines, effler allegedly grabbed
a 20-month-old girl from the floor near her baby sitter,
took her to a restroom and assaulted her. library workers
rescued the girl.
effler is charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree
assault and failure to comply with rules of the iowa
sex offender registry because he was not living at the
address he listed on the registry.
the associated press contributed to this report.