CALS Internet for Porn?

After reading about a Michigan library’s decision to block internet access until they can find a solution to prevent obscene content from being viewed, I have decided to voice my opposition to CALS’ position concerning “Adult Content” on library computers.

According to Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) of 2003, libraries may not receive the discounts offered by the E-Rate program unless they certify that they have an Internet safety policy and technology protection measures in place. A policy that includes BLOCKING obscene content.

Central Arkansas Library System (link) makes no attempt to comply with CIPA requirements (although strangely it continues to receive E-rate discounts) nor does it adhere to the common decency of protecting our children. I do not want to contribute one more cent to a system that refuses to make any effort to prevent obscene content from reaching the eyes of its youngest patrons.

This is an issue that must be addressed if our libraries are to continue to be safe for our children.

If you agree that this is unacceptable and that our libraries should be safer environments for our children, Please help spread the word.

  • Write a letter to the editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
  • Email Dr. Robert’s at broberts@cals.lib.ar.us
  • Voice your complaint by calling the library administration at 501.918.3030
  • Email this post to your friends and spread the word

Dr. Roberts, as a citizen, as a patron, as a taxpayer, I call upon you to lead the way.

5 responses to “CALS Internet for Porn?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know the CALS situation and how they are using E-rate support. I would like to point out that libraries and schools can receive E-rate discounts on their use of basic and local telecommunications services (phone, long distance, cell phones, etc.) and do not have to be CIPA-compliant for support in this category. If they additionally receive E-rate support for services in the Internet access category then CIPA requirements comes into play.
    For more, see reference area of the Schools and Libraries Division of USAC: http://www.universalservice.org/sl/
    An E-rate coordinator for a western state.

  2. Tsu Doh Nimh says:

    I appreciate this information. CALS does in fact receive E-rate discounts on its Internet access so I believe that would be subject to CIPA.

    Thanks for reading.

  3. phizone says:

    “Won’t someone please think of the children?” I didn’t realize you had become a Democrat. Just kidding, but I do think there are several strange things about this post.

    1. From the perspective of journalistic integrity, you really should mention you have a history with the organization.

    2. You support the EFF, which has shown many reasons why this is bad legislation.

    3. Obscenity is defined by “community standards” and many of the books I read from the library as a teenager would have fallen under that category here in the bible belt.

    4. Communities have often asked libraries to remove content that has been deemed offensive and unfortunately have often been successful. From “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to “Mein Kampf” to Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” (thanks to our good friend Joseph McCarthy).

    5. We live in country where the person responsible for law enforcement thought it appropriate to cover bare breasted statues. That’s just scary…

    6. Many libraries keep magazines such as Playboy on file and yet that doesn’t affect their funding. If magazine collections were held to the same standard as internet access, even many issues of National Geographic would not be accessible.

    7. The “filtering” software used is pathetic at best. Less than a week ago we were blocked from accessing info about religious circumcision practices under the guise of “pornography”.

    Libraries have no responsibility to be safe for children as far as I’m concerned. They have a responsibility to provide uncensored information to those who want it. If you don’t want your kids to have access to uncensored information , you should go to the library and sit beside them while they access the information. If your kids are mature enough to be left to their own devices in a public place, they’re old enough to understand that sometimes you stumble across things you may find offensive. The back button is usually on the top left of the browser…

    I do agree with you in one respect though, in that libraries should not receive funding from the government for the very reason that it makes it possible for goverment to coerce libraries to censor access. Bear in mind though that there are plenty of us willing to build our own places in the community where all are given unfettered access to information. If you can’t trust your kid not to surf porn at the library, can you really trust them not to show up at places that are not government funded and doing the same?

    P.S. I’m pretty sure that the last word in paragraph 3 was meant to be patrons, not patients…

  4. Tsu Doh Nimh says:

    1. From the perspective of journalistic integrity, you really should mention you have a history with the organization.
    RESPONSE: Good point, I was employed several years ago by this organization and saw first hand why I’ll never work for a public organization again.

    2. You support the EFF, which has shown many reasons why this is bad legislation.
    RESPONSE: I support the Republican party as well but I don’t agree with every stance they make either.

    7. The “filtering” software used is pathetic at best….
    RESPONSE: I take serious issue with this statement. Some filtering technology is extremely good. Granted, none is perfect hence you have manual overrides to any system implemented.

    The rest of your argument seems to hinge on the definition of obscenity, the responsibility of protecting our children, and the ramifications of applying these filtering rules to print literature.

    Allow me to redress – Obscenity is objective, it always will be but the line is only gray unto a point, there are certain sites that “society” would definitely classify as obscene. Different communities may make these judgments for themselves.

    The responsibility of protecting our children is absolutely none other than parents. However, as parents and patrons I don’t think it is too much to ask for our publicly supported institutions to take at least some measures to assist in this effort.

    Concerning the filtering rules as applied to print media – The major difference between certain online sites and say Huckleberry Finn is that if I looked over your shoulder while you were reading I would be exposed to … WORDS, not graphic pictures and video. I realize this argument may not stand up against the sharpest of critics but I respond by pointing out that although our library system offers DVD’s for checkout they don’t carry the XXX genre. I’d dare say this is due to an adherence of accepted community standards.

    If you want to make a computer lab that is 18+, and open the internet wide open be my guest.

    Libraries may have every right to do as they say fit, just as I have the right not to support those decisions and inform my fellow citizens of those stances. The free market as applied to public institutions. What a concept. 😉

    Phizone we might not always agree, but your arguments are always welcome here as they bring clarity to the issues, and critic to my judgments. For that I am grateful kind sir.

  5. Tsu Doh Nimh says:

    To anonymous – Your comment was deleted. If you have an argument to make I’ll be glad to allow your opinion to be voiced here. Pardon me for using one word incorrectly, I’m obviously not perfect.

    If you refrain from personal attacks and anonymous slights I’ll allow your comment here.

    Thanks

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