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[plan2succeed member], on behalf of plan2succeed citizen's group:  chatham, nj

thursday, february 3, 2005

the moffat county library's choosing to comply with the law by installing cipa-compliant internet filters after so long a delay and les hampton's efforts to bring this about are truly commendable and newsworthy.

however, the thrust of the article, "no action on porn," (craig daily press, 1/26/05) turned the truth on its head.  as i read the article, i inferred that former moffat county commissioner mr. hampton is now the town busybody and the library's compliance with the law occurred of its own accord in a timely fashion.  in reality, there was a complete about face by the library board on the issue of porn and les hampton and his supporters are the ones who acted over the long run to protect the children in the community from criminals invited into the public library by unfiltered internet computers that remained unfiltered until recently in defiance of the law.

consider the article published in the craig daily press three weeks earlier, "county library lagging," (1/5/05).  that article reported that the moffat county library was "not in compliance with the law." "it's a situation the moffat county commissioners expressed concern about during their meeting tuesday."  the library director is reported to have said that only the children's computers will have internet filters, and viewing pornography is protected by freedom of speech principles.  also, the library talks about filters every month "but they have yet to take action on it."

three weeks later, an article reports that the library "did their job" and les hampton's request for filters "wasn't well received" by the city council.  it is even reported mr. hampton's actions are part of an "ongoing tiff" with the library.  the two articles are irreconcilable.  in the earlier story the library is not in compliance with the law and the commissioners are annoyed by constant foot dragging.  in the other story, the library installed filters and behaved in an exemplary fashion and mr. hampton is just an old coot stirring up trouble.  in one story only the children's computers will be filtered and in the other they all will be.  this is definitely not "no action on porn."

be that as it may, the most disconcerting statement in the article is "i don't think it's this board's job to instruct another entity on how to do their job."  in other words, the town government gives over total control of the library to the library board no matter what the library does.  yes, acting under the law the library board likely has broad discretion.  but where the library exceeds its authority as evidenced by its discarding its collection policies and practices by allowing unfiltered access to the internet, a town government must act.  this is especially true if a library's actions are in defiance of the law in cipa and the u.s. supreme court in us v. ala of june 2003.

i commend les hampton for bringing about the library's compliance with the law, even if the more recent article implies otherwise.  i ask the people to read us v. ala when considering the words of the library director who expresses concerns about first amendment rights.  see http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/02pdf/02-361.pdf.

[plan2succeed member], on behalf of plan2succeed citizen's group

chatham, nj

editor's note:  the headline "no action on porn" referred to the city council's decision not to respond to les hampton's request that the city get involved in the library debate because it was a moot point.  by the time hampton appeared before the council, the library already had installed porn filters on its computers, requiring no action by the city council.

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