Life Issues / Family Ethics Political Action Committee of Southwest Washington

Public Libraries and Pornography

Plan2Succeed
Morality In Media

SafeLibraries.org
Fort Vancouver Regional Library

Family Friendly Libraries
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It isn't that Pornography shows too much ........................ It's that it shows too little.

Nov 2013
Illinois mom attacks permissive library porn policy after stumbling on patron viewing smut

Nov. 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Public libraries are taxpayer-funded areas where families can bring their children to read, socialize, and sometimes use the library's computers. But according to local mom Megan Fox, in Orland Park, Illinois, the public library is also a haven for sex offenders and pornography users.

According to Fox, on October 4, she tried to use a computer in the children’s area of the library, and was directed by staff to use an adult computer area. There she says she discovered a man looking at pornography. When she complained to staff, she claims she was told, “We have a lot of” porn viewers. Fox says she had her children with her.

After filing numerous complaints – including unanswered ones to the library director and the library board – Fox received a report from the Orland police that she said shows the library “has been for many years a haven for sex offenders who feel very comfortable exposing themselves to women and children,” among other illegal actions.



Current FVRL Internet Pornography Policy
From: http://www.fvrl.org/aboutus/internet.htm
Retrieved May 29, 2010

Library’s Net rules stand up

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Supreme Court today sided with the North Central Regional Library System in a lawsuit challenging its Internet filtering policy.

At issue is whether libraries should offer a way to turn off Internet filters for adults who request it.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the regional library system in 2006 on behalf of three North Central Washington residents and a pro-gun organization who say the library’s Internet filter policy violated their state and federal freedom of speech rights.

The four plaintiffs say the filter unfairly blocks legal, appropriate information too, such as health-related research, social networking sites and informational sites about drug and alcohol addiction.

The decision split the court, 6-3.

More ...
 

YOUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK
Librarian fired for reporting child pornography
Supervisor warned her not to call police over illegal activity


Posted: March 20, 2008
 2008 WorldNetDaily

A bizarre battle has erupted over the arrest on child pornography charges of a man at a California public library, with library and county officials siding against the staffer who called police to arrest the alleged criminal.

Librarian Brenda Biesterfeld was fired from her job after disregarding her supervisor's orders not to call police.

Now a pro-family organization and a law firm are rallying support for her.

"We've come alongside her, providing media training and legal representation," said Randy Thomasson, chief of the Campaign for Children and Families, a prominent pro-family leadership group. "Our goal is to get Brenda's job back, to institute a new library policy that has no tolerance for obscenity and child pornography, and to send a nationwide message that child predators will not be allowed to 'do their thing' in libraries."

Mathew Staver, head of Liberty Counsel, said his organization has sent a demand letter to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors challenging the librarian's dismissal.

Full article at: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=59457

 

In Our View: Filters Applied
April 6, 2006 Columbian editorial

“Library makes change; now it's time to grow. Without fanfare, the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District last Friday applied its pornography filtering system to Internet access by all patrons regardless of age. It marked an unceremonial end to a long, loud feud between free-speech advocates and those who insist there's no place for pornography in a public library. Conflict often is followed by reconstruction, and that is the spirit both factions should now embrace”

Following are excerpts. Find complete articles with FVRL ProQuest Document Search

Vancouver library board votes to add mandatory Internet filters

February 14, 2006 , Oregonian

VANCOUVER -- Mandatory filters will be installed on all computers in the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, the library board decided Monday.

The 4-3 vote will eliminate the ability of users to turn off filters on some computers and view material that some find objectionable but that is legal.

Mandatory Internet Web site filtering is a choice akin to the district's decision to not buy entertainment videos, said board member Jack Burkman, who proposed changing the district's policy to add filters and ban the viewing of pornography in the library. The filters will simply be the tools to put the no-tolerance policy in place, he said.

"It's critical that the library be family-friendly, and I believe we're heading away from that," Burkman said.

The board agreed to have staff devise a way to balance the right of a person who wants to privately view, say, a racist site with the ability of the staff to monitor the no-pornography policy.

The vote came after 21/2 hours of public testimony and discussion. Voting yes were members Burkman, Rose Smith, Karen Peterson and Merle Koplan. Chairman Jerry King and members Elena Smith and Bill Yee opposed the change.

Peterson said she was the swing vote. She supported the change, she said, only because she does not think pornography is a "valuable information source" that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Issues of "family values," morality and "economic blackmail" were not persuasive, she said.

The board decided to re-examine its Internet filtering policy because of public feedback after the narrow November defeat of a $44 million bond measure that would have paid for improvements at three Vancouver branches.

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Library to filter all Web access
February 14, 2006 Columbian

…The library board voted 4-3 on Monday to filter all Internet access, to make viewing pornography against the library's policy, and to have library staff monitor Internet use. The policy may take a month or so before it can be implemented, Executive Director Bruce Ziegman said at the Monday night meeting.

Board member Jack Burkman said he came to his decision in part after hearing from folks who felt uncomfortable in the library. "I believe it's critical the library be friendly to families," he said. Some are concerned that library users will access sexually explicit material online, and that children could see it. Others object to pornography itself, and that anyone could use the library to get it.

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Opinion - Library needs change in Net policy
January 12, 2006
ELIZABETH HOVDE for The Columbian

“Student reports on chicken breasts, breast cancer and breast stroke must be all the rage, because that's the reason some people keep giving for not filtering library computers.

We have got to get over our fear of a lack of breast-related bodies of work by school children. Once we do, we can make a sensible community decision to filter Internet terminals at public libraries so the library board can move forward with expansion plans.

There's no way to tell if November's failed library bond measure would have passed if the Internet policy were more stringent. In theory, it could have. That's because the measure fell just 200 votes short of passage. And as The Columbian's Margaret Ellis reported Monday, when the library board polled "no" voters, 28 percent said they were primarily against the measure because of the Internet issue. (A larger number, 42 percent, were concerned with financial aspects of the proposal.) “

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Library tackles issue of Web use
Tuesday, January 10, 2006 Columbian

The Fort Vancouver Regional Library Board of Trustees spent two hours Monday searching for the line between impinging on adults' access to information and creating a place seen as safe and welcoming to children.

Trustees met to discuss changing the Internet policy that guides Fort Vancouver's 13 libraries. ..Currently, the policy is consistent with the federal Children's Internet Protection Act. Those 16 and younger must use computers equipped with a filter designed to screen out sexually explicit material. Patrons also can choose a stronger filter that weeds out Web sites that feature violence, drugs and chat rooms…

Trustee Rose Smith was the strongest advocate for filtering all Internet access. She drove to Renton to visit a library that filtered all its Internet terminals. "Librarians were sexually harassed," she said, by those who presented them with pornography obtained online. Since filtering, the tone of the harassment has mellowed some, she said. "Now a man comes in and looks at women in bikinis."

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Library board to discuss Internet policy
January 9, 2006 Columbian

….

The library district has been struggling for years with the dilemma of protecting free speech without offending some patrons. It allows users who are 17 and older to turn off a filter that blocks sexually explicit Web sites, angering critics who have taken their campaign for universally filtered computers to city council meetings, letters to the editor and campaign signs…

The board will discuss eliminating unfiltered Internet access at a meeting today.

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Overcrowded Libraries: Porn issue resurfaces at public hearing
December 13, 2005, Columbian

A crowd of about 35 passionate and outspoken people talked about freedom of speech, religion and individual standards of decency Monday at Vancouver Community Library…

A $44 million bond issue that would have replaced the Vancouver and Cascade Park community libraries failed with 59.32 percent approval. It needed a 60 percent supermajority. A March 2004 bond issue for $48 million got 55.69 percent of the vote.

As has happened during campaigns to pass those construction bond issues, the debate veered straight to pornography.

At Fort Vancouver Regional libraries, those 17 and older can use a few unfiltered Internet terminals. That means folks could Google anything they want, including porn,..

 

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In Our View - Filter Libraries
Sunday, December 11, 2005 Columbian editorial

Here's a win-win solution for beleaguered Fort Vancouver Regional Library officials in their continuing battle to get a much-needed bond issue passed: Treat your electronic offerings the same way you treat your print offerings.

When books and magazines are "selected" for libraries, no one screams, "Censorship!" It's part of what librarians do. Since not every book and magazine in the world can be placed in a library, these documents must be selected and, yes, taste judgments often are made. Why not do the same thing for Internet access?

If that sounds like the dreaded "filters" word gasp! for Internet access at FVRL System libraries, well, your hearing is correct. And we think 100 percent Internet filtering should be agreed upon Monday at a public hearing from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Vancouver Community Library, 1007 E. Mill Plain Blvd.

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From Columbian

Friday, October 14, 2005
GREGG HERRINGTON Columbian staff writer

"It happens: As the opponents say, it is possible for an adult to go into a library branch and get on a pornographic Web site. At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, I went into the downtown branch, walked over to the computer corner, slipped behind the three adult males sitting at the bank of four terminals marked "UNFILTERED" and glanced at the screens. Two of them were pornography."

"... But some, including County Commissioner Marc Boldt and county commissioner candidate Tom Mielke, side with library opponents who say no one of any age should ever be allowed to look at a porn site in a public library under any circumstance."

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October 2005

Voter's Pamphlet Arguments ....


 
Reject $ 44,000,000  Ft. Vancouver Regional Library Bond  Proposition:

The downtown branch is far from east and north population growth, is the largest branch, yet over $30,000,000.00 is devoted to supersize it to 92,000 sq. ft. Nearby Clark College library is also open to residents. Administration and operations are moved to a brand-new 40,000 sq. ft. facility off-site.  Why is only $7,000,000.00 plus allocated for the entire eastside?
 
Property owners pay library tax of $.50/$1000 ($100 on a $200,000 home).  Library taxes increase with property values. This bond adds $40/yr. more for 20 years. Vancouver hiked sales, sewer and water taxes, and proposes property tax increases, as does the Port. Car licenses and gas taxes are skyrocketing. School and fire tax increases loom. Higher taxes mean higher rents.

Better fiscal management is needed. FVRL mails materials at no charge, which cost $420,066 in 2003 for postage and supplies. Most libraries mail just to homebound. FVRL charges no overdue fines. 
 
FVRL allows free Internet pornography to anyone17 and older including sex-offenders, via unfiltered computers. Unfiltered access is available on over half the computers. Public records of complaints from library visitors (1998-2005) show  negative impacts from net-porn via screens, porn printouts, obscene behaviors, and illegal child-pornography. This bond adds 100 computers.
 
Public hearings and petitions indicate strong community support for clean Internet. Tacoma filters porn on all but 1 of 150 computers. If a legitimate site is blocked, the filter can be lifted. Many libraries nationwide do not offer pornography.

Until FVRL better responds to community needs and standards, vote no!

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October 2005
Fort Vancouver Regional Library staff trained others in the Northwest to deal with "censors"

From the program of April 2003 Oregon Library Association Conference, http://www.olaweb.org/

Portrait of the Censor: Understanding and Dealing with Censorship in Libraries
Speakers: Jose-Marie Griffiths, Director, Sara Fine Institute of Interpersonal Behavior at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences;
Candace Morgan, Vancouver Public Library

Sponsor: Intellectual Freedom Committee
Location: LSC Austin Auditorium

In this session, the psychological profile of the censor will be explored,
and methods of understanding, interacting and coping with censorship and the censoring personality will be discussed. Participants will gain a more thorough understanding of the censoring personality and his or her motivations. Participants will gain practical techniques for interacting with the censor in the library environment. These skills will focus on behaviors and inter-personal communication styles rather than ideologies.

Reading With the Enemy

Speaker: James Larue, Director, Douglas County Library District, CO

Sponsor: Intellectual Freedom Committee

Location: AC Burlingham Room 111 B

"If you can't beat 'em, read 'em." Working as a director of a library that
is in a community close to the headquarters for Focus on the Family, Larue has a great deal of experience in discussing book challenges with potential censors. His philosophy is that the library's best defense is to "read with the enemy" and become aware of their points of view. Larue will describe encounters in which he has participated, and make recommendations for win/win outcomes.
Attendees will gain a better understanding of how to speak appropriately with potential censors and tips on how to learn about organizations that routinely target library collections for censoring.

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Opinion - Should Vancouver voters approve the Nov. 8 ballot issue? No: Pornography policy shows district not morally deserving

Sunday, October 9, 2005
By Rian Girard, posted with permission of author.

http://www.columbian.com/opinion/news/10092005news9725.cfm

I checked out a book from the Fort Vancouver Regional Library a few years back by the Roman legislator Cicero. Cicero lived during the height of Rome's ancient pagan splendor, about 2,000 years ago. I learned from this book that the ancient pagans knew a thing or two.

In his "On Moral Duties," Cicero states, "But there is a wide gulf between man and beast. Swayed by sense alone, the beast lives in the present, heedless of the past or future. But man endowed with reason perceives the connection of things, marks their causes and effects, traces their analogies, links the future with the past, and, surveying without effect the whole course of life, prepares what is needful for the journey."

The ancient Romans also understood that political freedom was based on virtue. Man can be trusted to self-govern because (and only because) he was committed to the concepts of virtue, integrity and goodness. The library, through its policy on pornography distribution, would have us believe one of two things. Either pornography is not opposed to virtue, integrity and goodness or, perhaps, that there is no such thing as virtue, integrity and goodness. Proposition 1 is clearly wrong and number two is foolishness.

The FVRL doesn't seem to understand that an overwhelming majority of citizens don't want pornography to be distributed at library facilities. Nor do citizens wish to be funding porno distribution with tax dollars. The present situation at the library, with porn stations pushed back against the wall, does not correct any problems. It represents an acute danger to young people, especially teenage girls and pre-teen boys.

Everyone who reads the newspaper or watches TV knows that we are blessed with a growing number of sex offenders in the community. Why would a self-governing people choose to provide these guys, who really struggle with their problems, with a free porno outlet in a central location surrounded by a room full of children? Public libraries are public goods that should serve the public interests.

Free speech no excuse

The U.S. Congress has passed laws that allow public libraries to restrict Internet pornography access. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the laws as constitutional. Any library that chooses to offer Internet porno can't hide behind the false flag of "freedom of speech."

Businesses and government offices restrict Internet pornography for good reason it creates a hostile and sexualized work environment. They learned the hard way, through lawsuits, that sex pictures and degrading images are disturbing to employees, customers, vendors and everyone who has to be around them. How silly the double standard must appear to our young people, who grow up at FVRL with adults next to them getting their Internet pornography fix.

This is plain sense, not puritanism. When the FVRL allows or encourages men to engage in pornography, it results in a sub-group enslaved to its own bad habits and thus not free to lead the lives of virtue that freedom and democracy require. This could also be called, "cutting off your nose to spite your face."

The FVRL should immediately adopt a zero-tolerance policy against Internet porno access, install appropriate net-porn filters, raise the computer monitors from their current peep-show hoods and apologize to the people of Clark, Klickitat and Skamania counties. If the library doesn't do these things, then you should vote "no" on their library funding bond Nov. 8.

Note that in this bond measure, the FVRL is asking Vancouver residents alone to fund the entire library redevelopment package that will serve the above tri-county area. That's $70 million over 20 years with (projected) interest of $26 million included. See more information about the library bond measure and local candidate support for it at www.lifepac.org.

Rian Girard is president of Clark County Right to Life and a member of the Clark County Public Health Advisory Council. This commentary represents his personal views.

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Kudos to Commissioner Marc Boldt August 2005 by Margaret Tweet

Clark County Commissioner Marc Boldt was the only commissioner to urge the library to expand clean Internet in libraries that offer programs, materials and invitations to youth. He was the only commissioner to urge the library to expand clean Internet service at two previous meetings also.

Commissioner Steve Stuart suggested a separate section in libraries for the unfiltered Internet with porn at a March 17 meeting.  Library board member Jerry King explained that he thinks adults have a "right" to Internet porn in libraries.
 
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Access invites opposition

Columbian, June 19, 2005
http://www.columbian.com/06192005/clark_co/288465.cfm


In its 2003 ruling on the Children's Internet Protection Act, the U.S.
Supreme Court described how libraries determine what services they will
offer based on "benefit to the community." In explaining why libraries can
block Internet pornography, the court states: "To fulfill their traditional
missions, public libraries must have broad discretion to decide what
material to provide to their patrons. Although they seek to provide a wide
array of information, their goal has never been to provide 'universal
coverage.' Instead, public libraries seek to provide materials 'that would
be of the greatest direct benefit or interest to the community.'" The ruling
also states that "Most libraries already exclude pornography."
(www.lifepac.org).

Fort Vancouver Regional Library currently allows patrons 17 years and up full Internet access to view and print pornography using monitors sunken into desktops. Many believe that pornography is not a benefit to the community. It may be legal, but it's seen as a vice. And beyond the common sense that pornography is addictive and destructive, science clearly indicates that it correlates highly with serious negative outcomes for individuals, families and communities.

For a community-funded library to willfully choose to provide
pornography access where children are present understandably invites the
bond opposition seen in the past.

DD  Washougal

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Letter to Editor by Bruce Ziegman, FVRL Director

The Columbian, May 21, 2005

 FVRL compliant to CIPA Fort Vancouver Regional Library District has made significant policy changes regarding patron Internet use. All FVRL libraries are fully compliant with the federal government's Children's Internet Protection Act. There are no exceptions. The district's Internet filter denies users under the age of 17 access to sexually explicit sites. FVRL was one of the first public libraries in Washington state to take this action.

Of the 26 computers that offer public Internet access in the three Vancouver branches, 18 are restricted to filtered-only access. Only eight computers permit users 17 years or older a choice of either filtered or unfiltered access. In addition, we have separated unfiltered (adult only) Internet computers to reduce the chance of patrons unintentionally viewing material they may find objectionable. Since we have physically separated unfiltered computers from filtered computers, complaints about Internet viewing have been reduced.

The FVRL trustees and staff take their community responsibilities seriously. We make every effort to balance freedom of access to information which is nearly unanimously valued by Americans with our obligation to protect children. Our current policies are responsive to both these needs.

As executive director, I value the opportunity to further explain the effective steps FVRL has taken to affirm citizens' confidence in their public libraries. I can be contacted at 360-695-1561.

http://www.columbian.com/05212005/clark_co/278649.cfm

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Columbian Letters To Editor

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Kudos to Clark County for ordering a local bar to prohibit any display of
adult material. Adult entertainment businesses are forbidden within 500 feet of residential zones, or 1000 feet of schools, day care centers, worship
centers or parks. Will the county uphold these standards in local libraries?

The downtown Vancouver Community Library is located a block from a high school and next to a park. Recently I used the Internet terminals there three times, and porn surfers were displaying adult materials every single time. The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District permits this to happen right next to young people. Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart has suggested that library porn surfing be relegated to a corner. What about the safety of the rest of the library, parking lot, and nearby parks and schools?

County Commissioner Marc Boldt proposed restrictions on offenders.
However, the library director noted that it's difficult since we don't know
who they are. Many who are registered in Clark County are transients. In
Phoenix, a child molester admitted to downloading illegal materials in the
library, and the city council responded by filtering out Internet porn for
all users.

County commissioners declared April as Child Abuse Prevention Month  and they should act to prevent the dissemination of abusive materials in libraries.

Margaret Tweet Camas

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Predator jailed after incidents April 14, 2005 Columbian

A sheriff's deputy arrested a Level 3 sex offender who allegedly followed girls who attend Heritage High School and ordered them to get in his car.

Brian Allen Tunthakit, 32, was being held on $75,000 bail Wednesday night on suspicion of luring a child. He is to appear in court on Friday.

Tunthakit, who lives at 9903 N.E. 86th St., is classified as a Level 3 sex offender, the group considered most likely to commit new sex crimes, according to the Clark County Sheriff's Sex Offender/Kidnapping Unit.

The case surfaced early this month when three Heritage students, ages 14 and 15, went to the school office. They told school officials that a man in a red car had been following them and staring at them on Northeast 137th Avenue near Padden Parkway, in the Sifton area northeast of Orchards.

On one occasion, two of the girls said, he stopped and ordered them into his car. They said they kept walking and he left the scene. ..

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Mother, Children See Porn On Library Computer

April 1, 2005 VACAVILLE, Calif.

Solano County Supervisor John Vasquez says that looking at adult Web sites is against the library's policy.
"There are community standards," Vasquez said. "According to our acceptable uses, that's one you're not supposed to. We will go turn off the
computers."...

Legal experts say libraries can choose whether to filter pornographic
material. According to McGeorge law professor Leslie Jacobs, "libraries may constitutionally choose to exclude pornography from both their print and Internet offerings. Libraries may exercise broad discretion in choosing what material to include in their collections."

for full story
http://www.kcra.com/print/4336426/detail.html

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March 22, 2005

LifePac Report with Commentary in Parenthesis.

Thursday, March 17 was a joint meeting of the commish and the FVRL Library Board.

It was the first joint meeting FVRL Director Bruce Zeigman could recall having. County Commissioners requested the dinner meeting. Commissioner Morris was sick and thus absent.

Newly elected Commissioner Boldt opened the discussion with the topic offilters in the library. He expressed concern about sex offenders in the library, and access to pornography in violation of parole conditions. Library Director Ziegman confirmed that situations such as this have happened in the past. Boldt expressed support for porn free libraries. Newly appointed Commissioner Stuart also expressed concern about predators in a facility that serves youth. Stuart suggested an "adult" section in the public library might be a way to address the situation.

Director Ziegman explained it would be difficult to prevent access to the library or the Internet by sex offenders since we don't know who they are. For known offenders, FVRL will limit access if a parole officer requests it. There is a bill in the legislature that would require notification to libraries of level 2& 3 offenders, but requires no action. Further research was suggested in regard to what limits might be advisable on registered sex offenders.

Ziegman further explained that FVRL already has created an "adult" section in larger branches. Where space allows, unfiltered option terminals are tucked away in more remote sections of the library, such as against the wall or in a cubicle and are available to only users 17 and up . These unfiltered terminals also have their own private printers so that porn printouts don't feed into the central printer anymore. Porn surfing is allowed at these terminals. (In smaller branches, there isn't room for the "adult" sections, and users 17 and up may view porn at any terminal, and sometimes print out at the central printer). Library Trustee Jerry King explained that it is difficult to know what is lawful pornography, and he believes adults "have a right" to legal porno in libraries.

Internet users are instructed not to access illegal materials such as obscene materials and child pornography. (Library records show that in the past, some users ignored this direction, and accessed what appeared to be illegal materials anyway. Other people in the library who noticed it reported it. If mere admonitions did not work in the past, it is doubtful they will work in the future. Better to block out the illegal materials in the first place, as Tacoma Public Libraries, Phoenix, and others do)

Commissioner Stuart suggested exploring partnerships with schools on libraries such as the parks do with schools. A school grounds doubles as a community park when school is not in. ( School libraries filter out pornography, and prohibit access to it for both minors and adults. County libraries do not consistently filter porn out, and they allow users 17 and older to view and print it. This public policy issue would have to be addressed in order for a partnership to work well.)

Library Director Ziegman was asked afterwards if FVRL planned to continue to check out Playboy to kids without parental consent. Good news. He replied that FVRL planned to cancel the subscriptions to Playboy effective June. All back issues will be removed at that time as well. Salmon Creek residents who circulated petitions and presented them to the library board last March calling for the removal of PB deserve a lot of credit for this. The community has requested this action since at least 1989.

FVRL invited the commissioners to tour library facilities, and they expressed interest. Commissioner Stuart noted that site visits to area workplaces were interesting, and reminded him of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". According to Stuart, some of the facilities commissioners visited didn't look like much on the outside, but inside, there were Oompa Loompas running around.

County Commissioners are reviewing the procedures by which library trustees are appointed. Citizens have urged an open, consistent public process that happens at the same time every year and includes opportunity for public input prior to a final decision. Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat Counties jointly appoint library board members. Citizens continue to advocate for porn free libraries as a better standard for facilities that serve youth.

 

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Playboy to disappear from library collection

 March 19, 2005 Columbian

"Playboy is one of 153 magazines being culled from the subscription list of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District in June."

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In Our View - No Porn in School February 5, 2005 Columbian editorial

Viewing pornography doesn't necessarily make a person a sexual predator or
pedophile. But accessing pornography during the workday when you are a
public schoolteacher represents a lack of judgment so great, we think that
Sen. Don Benton's proposal to treat the behavior with zero tolerance is a
good move.

Benton, R-Vancouver, introduced Senate Bill 5677 this week.
Co-sponsoring the legislation is Seattle Democrat Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles.
The two worked together successfully last year on reforms concerning
teachers and coaches with allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse. Their
past legislation has helped ensure that an educator or coach's record
follows him or her when he or she moves to a new district or school.

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January 2005, LifePac Commentary - If Library boards were elected, not appointed, citizens would have more direct input on libraries, and the process would be more consistent.  This would require a change in state law.  However, in WA state , the Democrat controlled  side of the legislature since 2000 would not even a hear  a bill to elect library boards,  and would not vote on the bill passed to them . Since the House and Senate are now in Democrat control, and the outcome of the Governors race is unknown, elected library boards for WA state seem unlikely.

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December 31, 2004 - LifePac comparison on the two Phoenix news stories below. Although there has been at least one case in SW WA of a convicted sex offender accessing illegal child pornography in a public library, it wasn't enough to move elected officials to adequately prevent future incidents. Indeed, there have been numerous reports of users accessing child pornography in public libraries before and since. Nevertheless, these illegal materials continue to be available, and not blocked in many libraries. In Phoenix, they took a number of practical steps to prevent future illegal incidents. Below is contrasted the Phoenix approach, listed first, with what many WA libraries including FVRL do.

1) Mandatory filtering for all users, with a stricter filter for minors and in areas that serve minors like children's and teens sections. (vs. adults being permitted to access pornography on unfiltered computers in libraries full of kids)

2) Printers placed in view of staff ( Contrast this to FVRL which provides semi-private booths with unfiltered computers and personal printers inside the booths for users 17 and older, in libraries full of kids. How many sex offenders are 17 or older?) 3) logging and supervising use to insure policies are upheld ( contrast to deleting files routinely, and little or no monitoring by staff of Internet use. Monitoring use is further hampered by the expensive semi-private booths sometimes placed against walls and other areas void of staff.)

For the FVRL library, the Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat County Commissioners appoint the library board who make policy.

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City OKs 'no porn' policy staff, Phoenix will add librarian, 3 assistants

Ginger D. Richardson  The Arizona Republic Dec. 22, 2004

Phoenix officials have agreed to spend an extra $175,000 to add a full-time librarian and three assistants to help implement the city's new "no pornography" policy at all public libraries.

The Phoenix City Council voted in September to ban access to adult Web sites despite objections from civil liberties groups that said the action restricted people's First Amendment rights.

The council made the decision after hearing that police officers had arrested a child molester who said that he had downloaded child pornography on a computer at a public library.

"As a result of this one specific case, we've discovered that this behavior has been going on all the time," said Vice Mayor Peggy Bilsten, who ardently fought to implement the new policy, along with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. More ...

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Porn filters, other actions keep library patrons safe

Arizona Republic Dec. 10, 2004 12:00 AM

"On February 7, an 8-year-old girl went to the ladies room in the Independence Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. A 23-year-old man followed her, beat her and tried to rape her, leaving her unconscious. Brian McCutcheon . . . has a troubled history at the Philadelphia Library. He was banned from the central location for viewing pornography on library computers and also exposed himself to a 16-year-old library assistant, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Still, he was not restricted from branch libraries and had been seen looking at pornography there - even in front of a television news crew."

- Library Journal, March 15, 2004

If that doesn't send chills up and down your spine, it should. McCutcheon was involved in a similar assault on a 9-year-old girl in 2001. In spite of this sordid history, McCutcheon can still get his fill of free pornography - courtesy of Philadelphia taxpayers.

In Phoenix, police arrested a similar child predator. In his motel room was a stash of child pornography he says he downloaded from the Phoenix Public Library. He, and too many like him, had relatively free and unfettered access to free porn at any Phoenix library.

Until Sept. 8 when the two of us, with council support, said: "Enough is
enough. Not in our libraries."
More ...

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County taps Smith for library board of trustees

November 18, 2004   Columbian
Rosilee Kathryn Smith has been nominated by the Clark County commissioners to fill a vacancy on the three-county regional library board of trustees.

Smith was nominated to the Fort Vancouver Regional Library board of trustees at a commissioner work session Wednesday afternoon. The appointment will become official when Smith is approved by the county commissioners at a regular meeting.

The La Center-area resident also must be approved by the Skamania County and Klickitat County commissioners.

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Mom frustrated by porn at Gresham library

Fox TV  11-18-04

GRESHAM -- A mother is upset after her children saw porn while at the a county library in Gresham.

Toni Manning says her daughter saw the porn because a teenager nearby was surfing porn sites on the library computer.
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Opinion - In Our View: Playboy Policy

Thursday, July 1, 2004 Columbian editorial writers

Minors are accessing Playboy magazine in local libraries only rarely. But that's enough to ask for change.

The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District offers Playboy at three of its 13 branches: the main Vancouver library branch on Mill Plain Boulevard, the branch in Westfield Shoppingtown Vancouver and Three Creeks Library. In those libraries, due to a high loss rate, library spokespersons say, the magazines have been moved and are no longer on display. Instead, issues are kept at the circulation/information desks, as are classified sections of The Columbian, Elle magazine and other frequently stolen publications. ..

Still, some people have rightly complained that the library makes this source of pornography available to minors at all.

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Vancouver library to relocate Internet terminals, reduce unfiltered access June 20, 2004  Columbian

The Vancouver Community Library will move its Internet terminals from the center of the main floor to an area along the southwest wall, and also will reduce the number of terminals offering unfiltered access.

    Both moves will help reduce the problem of inadvertent viewing of objectionable Internet material, said Bruce Ziegman, executive director.

    While the library's Internet policy allows only filtered access for those under 17, there still have been problems in the crowded computer area: the unintended viewing of objectionable material on someone else's unfiltered terminal. ..

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Library to begin charging users for Internet printouts

Thursday, May 13, 2004 By TOM VOGT, Columbian staff writer

A local library patron who wants to print a 110-page report off the Internet better have a $10 bill handy.

Starting Friday, the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District will charge for printouts from its Internet computers. The first 10 pages a person prints a day will continue to be free. Everything after 10 pages will cost 10 cents each.

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Library's stricter Internet filters to debut Tuesday

April 18, 2004 Columbian

The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District will enhance its Internet system Tuesday to comply with federal standards and extend mandatory filtering to children younger than 17.

    Computers at the district's 12 branches will not be available for public use Monday during the districtwide implementation of the Children's Internet Protection Act, or CIPA.

    The new CIPA-compliant policy provides stricter public Internet access than the previous filtering policy. All Internet access for children 16 and younger will be through a filter that blocks explicit sexual images. Users 17 and older will automatically receive basic filtered access when they register for the Internet, but at log-in may request that the filter be disabled.

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Location, porn vex library March 29, 2004 Columbian Excerpts

"What we're asking is two simple things," said a mom, who lives
near the Three Creeks Community Library. "We want filtered access on all
computers, and we would like to see Playboy out of the magazine racks.

Playboy isn't a CIPA issue, but still wants it removed from the
magazine racks. Along with Internet smut that still is accessible for some
teens, the magazine has given the library an unflattering reputation at the
local schoolyard, said.

"'Want to come with us after school and look at porn?' My son has heard
it many times," the mom said.

When she asked him about those conversations, her son told her, "That's
what they're saying at school. 'We go to the library after school, and we
all look at porn,'" some boys have told her son. ..

But, Koplan added, the library board won't be changing its access
policies to appease unhappy voters.

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Opinion - Young Voices: Libraries should put permanent blocks on porn

Monday, March 15, 2004 Stephen Jones, 14, is home schooled following the program of Verity Prep of Michigan.

The message from last Tuesday's election was clear: Before we expand the libraries, we should solve the problem of the availability of pornography on the libraries' Internet.

I love the library. I love to read. I love the Internet service the library provides; but we have a problem. Pornography is available through the library Internet. The library has filters, but as it stands now anyone over the age of 12 can have the filters taken off.

Voters reject library expansion bond March 10, 2004 Columbian
Voters on Tuesday rejected a $48 million bond request to expand library services and facilities in the greater Vancouver area.

The request drew 55.18 percent voter approval. That would be a comfortable win for a candidate in a political race, but it's well below Washington's 60 percent plateau for library money requests.

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Pre Election News Reports

Wednesday, March 3, 2004 - Columbian

Opinion - A Local View: Tell libraries to ax porn by voting 'no'

By Margaret Tweet

In 1997, our family moved to Clark County from Japan. We explored several library branches, checking out computer games and choosing books. I soon noticed some kids in Washougal surfing the Web while commenting aloud, and asked the librarian whether children were allowed to access pornography. She explained that it was permitted, and that "regulars" came to the library for that. ..

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Library Porn Issue Continues to Stew March 2, 2004 Columbian

Emotions continue to run high over library Internet terminals and how they can be used to access pornography, with both library supporters and critics jamming Monday's Vancouver City Council meeting to voice their views.

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Friday, February 27, 2004
Columbian editorial writers

Opinion - In Our View: Unlimited Access

It's true, as many critics complain, that the Fort Vancouver Regional Library System allows access to online pornography sites and offers other adult-related materials to be checked out by patrons of virtually any age.

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Residents knock library on porn February 24, 2004 Columbian

A handful of residents who slammed the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District on Monday for not blocking children from viewing Internet pornography received an equally sharp response from members of the Vancouver City Council.

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Letters to Columbian Editor

Filtering is valuable asset

In his March 24 opinion column, "A sad day for those eager to learn," Tom Koenninger is correct in his description that a library system is a source of learning and a valuable asset to the community.

However, I disagree that it will be destroyed by "misguided smut-fighters." If it is destroyed, it will be because of the misguided library board. They don't seem to be convinced, despite strong public testimony, that pornography is the real reason for library levy failures.

Koenninger states correctly that pornography is "the despicable product of a sick mind intended for a sick audience." But he is incorrect when he states, "That's why the library has been filtering Internet material." The Fort Vancouver Regional Library board strongly resisted installing filters. They have been forced against their will to do so.

Why are the taxpayers required to provide this "despicable product" to those "sick minds?" Since "obscenity belongs in the gutter," why can't the sexual perverts go to "the gutter" of the porn shops to pay for it, rather than having taxpayers provide it for them free? Without pornography in our libraries, the bond issue would pass.

Marilyn Karlsen

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I love our library, don't you? It is like a favorite child in the family of publicly-funded institutions. But like many children it has an addiction. It is addicted to Internet pornography. Not just porn, but illegal porn, the really rough stuff.

The Library Board has barely met the letter of the law. Until a child reaches 13 he can't view pornography on the internet without parental permission. After 13, anything goes. The Board said they would raise the age to 17, but they haven't. Any sexual predator can view perversion on our library's computers. The child sitting next to them doing their homework may get an education they weren't expecting.

People have tried to talk sense into them. At Board meetings crowds often attend just to tell them to stop access to pornography, to no avail. It is time to practice tough love. The Library Board wants voters to pass a bond issue which will give them lots of money. We must not enable them to continue with this addiction. We must withhold the money until they learn to act responsibly. We must vote no on this bond issue for our children's sake.

Sandy Blanton

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Currently unfiltered illegal pornography is available to all users of the Internet at the library over the age of 12 despite public outrage over the situation. Compliance with the law is the "responsibility of the user." The 1100+ registered sex offenders in our county know this well. If sex offenders were to be trusted with self-regulation, they wouldn't be registered with the county to be monitored.

The library bond would help purchase 100 new computers to be added to the ones already being abused daily and without apparent library concern. Tax funding the pornography “fix” of sex addicts in a child’s learning environment is ludicrous. Universal filtering, which the library board vehemently opposes, would quickly scatter the predators back to retail outlets where zoning laws consider the proximity of children.

The un-elected library board members think they have nothing to fear from angry voters...or do they? Now is the responsible taxpayer's chance to finally hold the their attention and demand a safe environment for our children. Don’t let the lure of beautiful new buildings cloud the danger that lurks within. We owe our children a “No for Now” vote. There’s time for physical improvements after the threat has been removed.

Dorothy Gill

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Tacoma porn filter a model for libraries

April 02, 2002 The News Tribune

Oddly - and appropriately - an Internet browser devised by Tacoma Public Library employees has taken center stage in a national argument over smut in public libraries.

The browser, known as "Webfoot," allows library patrons to go anywhere on the Internet, but it prevents them from downloading images of sexual acts from pornographic sites. The idea is to prevent the library system's computer terminals from being used as pornographic peep shows.

The manager of Tacoma's main library, David Biek, was called to Philadelphia last week to explain how Webfoot works. By offering free access to sites while blocking pornographic images - and allowing overrides when the browser fails - the Tacoma Public Library's system answers most of the practical concerns about filtering.

Tacoma's approach seems a reasonable solution for libraries elsewhere in the nation - assuming they are serious about not purveying porn to children. Purchase full story here.

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Evansville, IN July 23, 2003, Kylie Gandolf, Summary - "One thing you'll notice at Evansville libraries are messages on the computers. It basically says if you view pornographic material, you may be asked to leave the library.

Evansville libraries also require all computers be placed in public view, so librarians will notice if anyone is looking at pornographic material...

Evansville libraries say they'll disable the filters only to view non-pornographic sites. " Libraries support anti-porn ruling

Abstract:

Evansville, IN July 23, 2003, -- The Supreme Court recently handed down a ruling that strives to protect children at public libraries. The new ruling says Congress can force public libraries to install anti-porn filters on computers. How do Evansville librarians feel about the decision? They all support the ruling, and their policies reflect that.

One thing you'll notice at Evansville libraries are messages on the computers. It basically says if you view pornographic material, you may be asked to leave the library. Evansville libraries say they'll disable the filters only to view non-pornographic sites. Full story at http://www.wtvw.com/Global/story.asp?S=1372176&nav=7CPEH3cx

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Library 'R' Rated Movies for Kids

PORTLAND, ORE. - Parents who send their kids to one of many Multnomah County libraries around town to pick out some books or maybe a movie may be surprised at what they bring home. John Nelsen says he was shocked when his 12-year-old son headed to the library and came back with two 'R' rated movies. For full story go to: http://www.katu.com/team2/story.asp?ID=64595

Pornography ............ Just Harmless Fun?

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