echoes sentinel

long hill library wrong to oppose internet filtering

12 july 2001

editor:

last month, a millington man was arrested at the long hill township library and was charged with allegedly viewing child pornography on the internet-enabled computers located therein.

further, the police received a tip "from a library patron that (the man) was viewing pornographic material on the internet at the library," according to an echoes-sentinel report, which went on to say that there have been "a growing number of computer-related incidents that have been reported to police during the past year."

many months ago i wrote to the library and offered to install free internet filtering software.� i received a response stating something to the effect that internet filtering software is ineffective and the american library association (ala) is against censorship by using such software.� since that time, the ala is suing to not only prevent the installation of internet filtering software, but to actually remove it from those libraries that have it.� based on this response, it appears to me that our public library and its librarians agree with the position of the ala.

but what exactly is the position of the ala?� it believes that children should have access to pornography because it would be age discrimination to keep them from seeing it.� it believes parents should keep children from seeing pornography, not librarians.� it believes children and anyone else should have access to any information, no matter how pornographic; therefore, internet filtering software is unnecessary and should be removed from libraries.� to confirm these statements, see www.ala.org.

now we in morris county live in the second richest county in the u.s.� one would think we have the best of everything.� one would think our libraries would be a safe haven for children.� one would think our librarians would jump at the chance to have free internet filtering software installed for free with free maintenance and upgrades.� actually, this is not the case.� worse, i was told by a librarian that they have been instructed not to call the police for any reason arising from illegal use of the internet, and as the police news said, it was a patron who called the police, not library staff.

so how is it that our public library seems to have come under the control of the ala?� can anything be done to inform library staff and management that people disagree with the ala and that we believe children should not have access to pornography?� can anything be done to fully investigate this issue and bring the results to the public's attention?� i'll bet almost no one in the township other than the librarians, ominously including the public school librarians, are aware of any of this.� isn't it sad that we live in a society where we have to ask to protect our children from pornography and where we have to say that the age discrimination claim is ludicrous?� if the library refuses to comply with the wishes of the citizens of the township, is there anything that can be done to remove the obstacles?� can mayor walter sadowski lead an effort to remove the influence of the ala from our public library?

perhaps i'm wrong.� perhaps most parents believe children should see pornography because it would be age discrimination otherwise.� perhaps the new library to be built should have more internet stations with no internet filtering software so more people can see pornography and allow the spillover effects that resulted in the arrest.� librarians are free to hold any opinion or belief they wish, but taxpayers are also free to recommend librarians who reflect their own beliefs, not those of the ala.� let's do something to take back control of the long hill township library and to protect our children and ourselves.� then maybe the police news won't get any worse.

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