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.
Computer users are expected to abide by the prohibition against
viewing pornographic Web sites in the library, and to comply with
Rules of Conduct Policy and
Electronic Information Access Policy. The library's commercial
filtering software prevents computer access to sites with
pornographic images in most instances, but occasionally the filter
may fail to block an inappropriate site.
Anyone who is observed viewing prohibited images in the library
may be asked by staff to stop doing so. Staff may also ask the user
to help identify the Web site in question in order to block it in
the future. Library patrons who observe another person viewing
potentially inappropriate images on a computer should contact a
library staff member about their concerns. Patrons should not
approach other patrons directly about Internet usage.
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
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
"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
In Our View:
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”
library board votes to add mandatory Internet filters
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.
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
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.
Library to filter all Web access February 14, 2006
…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.
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.) “
tackles issue of Web use Tuesday, January 10, 2006
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."
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.
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
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,..
In Our View -
Sunday, December 11, 2005 Columbian
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.
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
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."
$ 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
Until FVRL better responds to community needs and standards, vote no!
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,
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. ********************************************************
Opinion - Should Vancouver voters
approve the Nov. 8 ballot issue? No: Pornography policy shows district not
October 9, 2005 By Rian Girard, posted with permission of author.
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
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
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
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.
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
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."
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
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.
Editor by Bruce Ziegman, FVRL Director
Columbian,May 21, 2005
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.
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.
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.
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
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
jailed after incidents April
14, 2005 Columbian
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.
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.
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.
occasion, two of the girls said, he stopped and ordered them into his car. They
said they kept walking and he left the scene. ..
Children See Porn On Library Computer
April 1, 2005
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
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."
Thursday, March 17 was a joint meeting of the commish and the FVRL Library
the first joint meeting FVRL Director Bruce Zeigman could recall having. County
Commissioners requested the dinner meeting. Commissioner Morris was sick and
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.)
FVRL library, the Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat County Commissioners appoint
the library board who make policy.
'no porn' policy staff, Phoenix will add librarian, 3 assistants
D. Richardson The Arizona Republic Dec. 22, 2004
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.
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.
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.
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 ...
filters, other actions keep library patrons safe
Republic Dec. 10, 2004 12:00 AM
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
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
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.
Sept. 8 when the two of us, with council support, said: "Enough is enough. Not in our libraries." More ...
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
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
The La Center-area resident also must be approved by the Skamania County
and Klickitat County commissioners.
frustrated by porn at Gresham library
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. More ...
- In Our View: Playboy Policy
1, 2004 Columbian editorial writers
accessing Playboy magazine in local libraries only rarely. But that's enough to
ask for change.
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. ..
people have rightly complained that the library makes this source of pornography
available to minors at all.
library to relocate Internet terminals, reduce unfiltered access June 20, 2004 Columbian
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.
will help reduce the problem of inadvertent viewing of objectionable Internet
material, said Bruce Ziegman, executive director.
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. ..
to begin charging users for Internet printouts
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
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.
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
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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
Election News Reports
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
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. ..
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.
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.
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.
to Columbian Editor
Filtering is valuable
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
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.
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
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.
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.
porn filter a model for libraries
April 02, 2002 The News
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.
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
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
'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