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finally, a library director who gets it

12 apr 2005

here is a series of communications showing at least one library director gets it -- namely, community children are to be protected, not the ala's goal to sexualize children in defiance of the law.  the original letter from p2s was spawned by a newspaper article entitled, "thousands use local public computers," 4/7/2005.  we believe the letter lays out a devastating yet succinct case against the ala.  better yet, the library director's response is extremely well written and carefully describes how to deviate from ala directives to protect local communities while still advocating on behalf of the ala.  librarians, this letter from the library director describes a model for your own communities.


p2s letter to the press, the library, local civic leaders, local police, state senators, and the state governor dated 4/7/2005:

dear star press editor -- for publication:

the muncie public library is very lucky to have such an excellent public library director, virginia nilles.  she has the backbone needed to protect the children in the community from criminal activity.  she takes action and makes statements in direct opposition to the guidance provided to public libraries by the american library association [ala].  few librarians are so willing to openly admit direct defiance of the ala directives.  for that and for her actions to protect the community from criminal activity, i recommend she be appropriately awarded by the city government.

in "thousands use local public computers," excellently written by keith roysdon, we see the library director saying 1) the library uses internet filters, 2) improved technology means breast cancer sites are not blocked, 3) unblocking incorrectly-blocked sites is not a problem, 4) children 17 years old and younger may not have sites unblocked, and 5) the library will work with the police to arrest criminals.  these statements show caring and love for the community.  they are likely also made because they comply with the children's internet protection act [cipa] signed into law by former president william j. clinton, and with us v. ala, a june 2003 us supreme court case finding internet filters are legal and, with all justices agreeing, protecting children is a compelling interest.  however, these statements are directly opposed to ala policy and direction.

the ala is a union of 60,000 librarians that has a mighty grip on public libraries nationwide, including public school libraries, and librarian training institutions.  once the ala was a venerable organization.  that was before the change brought by people seeking to change society by sexualizing children.  now, the ala's so-called library bill of rights states that age may not be used as a reason to discriminate against providing children with anything in the library, including what may be on unfiltered internet computers.  in apparent compliance with this policy, the ala awards books inappropriate for children with awards that ensure they get into every public library and into ala-drafted public school reading lists.  worse, the ala has directed public libraries nationwide to defy cipa and us v. ala -- and child rapes and molestations continue apace where they might have subsided had the public libraries installed the internet filters as the law demands.

here is evidence that the library director's words and actions are directly opposed to ala policy and directives.  as to 1) using filters, the ala states, "despite the 2003 u.s. supreme court ruling on the children's internet protection act (cipa), which permits the government to require libraries that receive certain kinds of federal funding to install filters, ala policy is unchanged:  ala does not recommend the use in libraries of filtering technology that blocks constitutionally protected information."  [fn 1]  as to 2) improved technology means filters work, the ala says, "filters fail to block many sites banned under cipa while still blocking hundreds of thousands of perfectly legal, useful sites."  [fn 2]  as to 3) the ease of unblocking sites, the ala says they have heard "horror stories" about delays in unblocking sites.  [fn 3]  and about 4) not unblocking sites for children, the ala says treating children differently is discriminatory.  [fn 4, 5, 6]  lastly, about 5) working with police to stop criminals, the ala makes the following outrageous statement:  "as for obscenity and child pornography, prosecutors and police have adequate tools to enforce criminal laws.  libraries are not a component of law enforcement efforts...."  [fn 7]  and all these statements by the ala are just the tip of the iceberg.

given the ala's grip over thousands of local public libraries, given the ala's views and directives that defy the law and endanger children, and given that many older librarians are intimidated by the ala and newer ones are indoctrinated into ala thinking in ala-approved schools, it is remarkable that library director virginia nilles is willing to act and make her feelings known as she does.

my citizen's group has been tracking this issue for a long time; virginia nilles is unique.  that is why i recommend the community recognize her in a way that shows her how appreciated she is.  she is willing to stand against the tide of sexualizing children that is reaching out daily, in defiance of the law, from the once great american library association.

congratulations virginia nilles and the muncie, indiana law-abiding community.

plan2succeed citizen's group

please call with any questions, and i encourage you all to read us v. ala:  http://www.plan2succeed.org/us_v_ala23jun03.pdf

footnotes - intended to ease copy editting and to prove the truthfulness of the matters asserted, not for publication, but feel free to leave in if you think appropriate.

fn 1:  http://www.ala.org/ala/pio/factsheets/librariesinternet.htm
fn 2:  ibid.
fn 3:  http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/ca443907
fn 4:  http://www.ala.org/work/freedom/lbr.html
fn 5:  http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/statementspols/statementsif/interpretations/qandaaccesselectronic.htm
fn 6:  http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/statementspols/statementsif/interpretations/accessresources.htm
fn 7:  http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/challengesupport/dealing/internetusepolicy.pdf

ps:  the article to which i am responding is located here:  http://www.thestarpress.com/articles/0/037535-5580-004.html

pps:  the article is linked, excerpted, and commented upon by p2s here under 4/7/2005:  http://www.plan2succeed.org/examples.html

cc:  governor daniels, senator bayh under separate covers


muncie public library director response to p2s dated 4/11/2005:

[p2s]-thank you for your email and phone call.  i appreciate the praise but most librarians i know believe the same way i do�certainly they do in muncie, indiana!

i believe the ala is an important organization; it supports the values and highest ideals of our democracy.  i applaud it for doing so and am proud to be a member because it aligns itself against censorship while advocating for the first amendment.

i too am against censorship and uphold the first amendment.  however, as a director of a public library i also know that we must strive to provide high quality collections and that meet community needs and standards.  we do not add everything ever published and in the same vein we do not add every internet site.

to my way of thinking it is an issue of common sense and applying old standards to new technology.  in muncie we have a history of using review sources prior to adding print and non print materials; filters are our review source for the internet.  we can go outside the review source and add things we believe have been inaccurately reviewed for all formats from print to the internet.

i do not always agree with ala but then part of what makes this country great is that we can still disagree with each other and our institutions!  i believe it is the responsibility of adults to protect and nurture children and ala would not disagree.  how we do that may be an area of disagreement.  but remember, ala must speak as one voice even though they represent all types of libraries (corporate, school, public, academic�large and small).  i speak for my library and my library alone-a big difference!

as for the statement about not working with law enforcement--i know and remember the statement in question.  i can only assume they were defending librarians who often feel ill equipped to handle situations dealing with guns, drugs, homeless, etc.  size is also a factor--the larger the library the less staffing and supervision of areas making it harder to even be aware of what is happening beyond the periphery of your job assignment.

in saying that however, i can't help but add that i am a strong advocate of being involved--we cannot ignore situations.  one of my favorite sayings is that the only way to take back our parks from the drug dealers is to be present in the parks.  another would be:  one way to eliminate trash is to pick it up when you see it.  in other words, get involved, don't ignore, and feel empowered to act--all things i tell my staff!

i do not consider myself to be a voice that stands against ala.  i am a voice in my community that speaks for children, continuing education and the importance of literacy.

i am curious to know how you picked up an article about filtering from muncie, indiana when you live in nj?  have you been tracking the filtering issue or what is happening in muncie?

thanks again for the praise, always appreciated.

ginny nilles


p2s reply to muncie public library director dated 4/12/2005:

dear ms. nilles,

your response further shows i was correct in my assessment about your value to the community, etc.  an inventor thinks up great things but sometimes never even realizes it because to him it was so easy.  you are like that inventor.  you have done such great things but you think it all so common.  all i can say is, i hope it is common.

as to how i learned of you, my group tracks such articles nationwide and posts them for all to see.  see http://www.plan2succeed.org/examples.html and at the top we disclose the method and query we use to track these stories.

thanks again to you!  may i publish your comments on my web site?

p2s


muncie public library director reply to p2s dated 4/12/2005:

dear [p2s]�

yes, of course you may publish them.  thanks again for your support and kind words!

ginny

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librarians!  did you like what you read?  does the library director's words give you courage to act on behalf of your own communities and not the ala?  do you want to add your own voice to this web site for all to see?  please contact us and tell us your stories--we will publish them all.

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