posted on fri, jan. 07, 2005

letters to the editor


residents being misled on library

regarding "library declines use of online content filters" (dec. 24), residents need to know they are being misled.  your public libraries are unfortunately ruled by the ala (american library association), not the residents.

the library argues computer internet filters are imperfect -- great argument since they will never be perfect so us v. ala and children's internet protection act (cipa) need never be applied, right?  why then did the libraries stop accepting public funds?  [gerry garzon, director of oakland public library's technical services, said the library system does not use internet filters to screen out pornography -- because the filters are problematic.  "it's an imperfect technology," garzon said.  officials at the oakland library have chosen not to accept this federal funding --which, garzon said, is insignificant.]

the second argument is the old who's to judge what's inappropriate -- ignoring again us v. ala.  [the other issue, according to garzon, is deciding which web sites as "inappropriate;" sometimes, there's a fine line between art, erotica, and pornography, he said.  "even the courts have not been clear about this," garzon said.]

the third obstacle is that most of the other public libraries nationwide aren't filtering, so why should we?  the community should decide that, not a consensus of nationwide public libraries, most of which are de facto controlled by the ala.  [the oakland library is among 80 percent of libraries nationwide that choose not to filter internet services, according to garzon.]

lastly, the argument made is that it is not the library's fault, it is 10 residents who decided not to use filters.  in response, we remind people of what aldous huxley said in "brave new world":  "a really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude." [these decisions are not made in a vacuum, but by the library advisory commission, which is made up of 10 community members, library officials say.]

residents, compare your library's policies to phoenix's and see how you have been intentionally misled.

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plan2succeed citizens' group

chatham, n.j.

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