Library Juice 2:13 supplement 1

After the March 12 Filtering Summit  
(ALA Council Discussion) 
This matter was brought to my attention by Chuck Munson whose posting you 
will find below. PLEASE give it some serious attention. It involves the 
preparations being made for a retreat on intellectual freedom principles 
especially with regard to filtering. There is talk of revisiting the 1997 
resolution against filtering under pressure from the filter vendors, timid 
librarians, as well as the organized puritan Right. A 
newly-tailored-fo-the-millenium (and for the millenialists) version of the 
Library Bill of Rights seems a possibility. 
Eternal vigilance is, unfortunately, still the price of liberty. 
Mark Rosenzweig 
Councilor at large 
While I hate to give David Burt any undue attention, this post from him 
highlights an ugly direction that ALA is heading. Instead of standing up 
for children's rights to use the Internet freely, some of the more timid 
and cowardly ALA members may opt to scuttle parts of the Library Bill of 
Rights in order to satisfy a few puritan loudmouths. 
Stay tuned. 
Subject:  After Filter Summit, ALA May Revisit 1997 Resolution 
Date:    Thu, 18 Mar 1999 12:00:48 -0800 (PST) 
From:    Filtering Facts <burt[at]> 
To:   ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom List <alaoif[at]> 
After Filter Summit, ALA May Revisit 1997 Resolution, 
Children's Access Library Journal, Mar 16, 1999$27656 
By the end of a first-ever meeting Friday with 
representatives of Internet filtering companies, American 
Library Association representatives seemed ready to 
revisit the 1997 resolution in which the ALA Council 
staunchly opposed any library use of filtering software.  
Also, the special case of the Internet may push ALA to 
reconsider longtime interpretations of the Library Bill of 
Rights that guarantee all users, including children, equal 
access to library materials. No, it wasn't that the filter 
makers pressured ALA, but the act of stating their 
positions to outsiders pushed ALA leaders to acknowledge 
the awkwardness of the policies.  
"Given where we were, this [the 1997 resolution] was the 
right decision at the right time," ALA President Ann 
Symons told LJ, after the all-day meeting in Chicago. "I 
think it's time to send it back to IFC (Intellectual 
Freedom Committee)." She said she'd like to see ALA affirm 
what has been the organization's lobbying statement: 
Internet policies should be local decisions; individual 
users -- not the library -- should be able to control 
Internet access; and every library should have an Internet 
access policy.  
The simple fact of the meeting -- which Symons called "one 
of the highlights of my year [as ALA president]" -- 
suggested that ALA has recognized it can't ignore the 
diversity of positions on filtering within ALA. Indeed, 
one participant, Seattle Public Library Director Deborah 
Jacobs, said she felt the 1997 resolution "harmed our 
credibility." Friday's meeting, she told LJ, "gave me 
hopefulness about ALA, as opposed to some frustration that 
practicing librarians were in conflict with ALA." Added 
Karen Schneider, the filtering expert on ALA Council, 
"Library-land had its head in the sand for a long time. 
It's a really good sign to see us reestablishing ourselves 
on the cutting edge, not trailing edge."  
The awkwardness of ALA's position emerged when Steve Herb, 
Chair of the IFC, listed possible features ALA might want 
from filtering systems. "Can you give advice about 
something you're recommending against?" he told the group, 
with a touch of jocularity. "We have this little 
 Herb said that librarians "don't spend quite enough time 
acknowledging the differences between children. Sometimes, 
with the Internet, we treat the two- and the 17-year-olds 
the same." Asked later to clarify, whether that meant 
different access levels for different ages, he said, "We 
need to explore that."  
Judith Krug, director of ALA's Office for Intellectual 
Freedom, seconded Herb's general point. "The old ways are 
really different from what's going on today. We have to 
create new models." Asked by LJ to expand on that, she 
said, "I do think IFC must look at the issue of children." 
The age distinctions for children and youths established 
in ALA divisions such as ALSC and YALSA "may have been 
true 50 years ago, but it's not true today."  
Filtering Summit Leads to Some Accord, But No Guarantees 
Library Journal, Mar 16, 1999$27657 
For the 25 librarians and filtering vendors who met all 
day Friday in the Carnegie Room at ALA headquarters, Ann 
Symons' filtering summit provided a chance for cordial 
exchange of information. Everyone said the process was 
useful. But it doesn't mean that the filter makers will 
necessarily tune their products to library specifications. 
The meeting provided an opportunity for librarians to 
explain their values and to discuss how filtering might be 
compatible with them. Filtering, they noted, might not 
only eliminate inappropriate sites but to better focus a 
search. What might they want? User control of a filter, 
the capacity to over-ride a blocked site, and better 
knowledge of what's being blocked. "You have proprietary 
data," acknowledged Karen Schneider. "It's not a problem 
that can be solved this afternoon." Indeed, said Terry 
Stuart of Net Partners (makers of Web Sense), "My biggest 
budget is 18-20 students from the University of San Diego 
surfing the net [for inappropriate sites]. I'm not going 
to give it [list of sites blocked] to my competitors."  
None of the filter companies argued that filters worked 
perfectly, statements that pleased ALA representatives 
weary of political rhetoric about the products. "None of 
us can block 100 percent," Stuart acknowledged.  
Added Richard Chapin of Smartstuff Software (affiliated 
with Web Chaperone), "If you want 100 percent blocking, 
you'll have proportionally more overblocking." Indeed, 
Schneider said public libraries are worried more about 
overblocking than underblocking.  
Filtering is being redefined by some as web management, as 
software may be used for more than filtering: to direct 
users to specific search engines or sites, to provide 
portable personal  "bookmarks," and to ensure that 
previous searches -- an individual's web trail -- are 
wiped out.  
One filter representative, Jim O'Halloran of N2H2 (maker 
of the  Bess filter), said, "You're a tough audience. You 
have incredible pressure on you. Yet you're not a big 
market." Indeed, ALA  President Ann Symons reminded the 
group that only a minority of libraries use filters, and 
even if a perfect product were developed, it wouldn't 
necessarily be used.  
While some at the meeting said the features desired by ALA 
are available on different products, filter makers are 
aiming instead at the home, business, and school markets, 
none of which have the same level of free speech concerns. 
"What if I get sued," Stuart said, of a filter used in 
public libraries. "Or if my product is voted out?"  
At the end of the meeting, OIF Director Judith Krug, 
veteran of numerous censorship battles, pronounced the 
meeting "better than I had anticipated, and as good as I 
hoped." She noted that because libraries are a small 
market, "I was concerned that they  would blow off our 
concerns. At least, they were listening."  
David Burt      President, Filtering Facts 
E-Mail:         David_Burt[at] 
Phone/Fax:      503 635-7048 
Response to the above from Ann Symons, ALA President: 
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 15:35:28 -0900 
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]> 
From: "Ann K. Symons" <symons[at]> 
Subject: Re: Has the bugle sounded for a retreat on filtering? 
Mime-Version: 1.0 
Reply-To: symons[at] 
Sender: owner-alacoun[at] 
My answer is No!  The bugle has not sounded!  It is not my intention to 
cause the filtering resolution to come back to Council, nor do I believe 
that IFC will be bringing it back.   
The American Library Association is under no pressure from filter vendors, 
nor would I call the librarians who attended the meeting timid.  The 
American Library Association has been under pressure from the organized 
rights for as long as I have been a member.   
Below is a copy of the press release which went out from ALA on Monday. 
For Immediate Release 
Contact: Joyce Kelly or Linda Wallace 
March 15, 1999 
ALA hosts meeting with filtering vendors 
(CHICAGO)--The president of the American Library 
Association (ALA) says she hopes that a meeting of 
librarians and vendors of Internet filtering companies 
will lead to development of Web management software that 
protects both children and free speech. The meeting, held 
March 12 at the association's headquarters in Chicago, was 
attended by representatives of a dozen filtering firms, 
including Security Software Systems, Smartstuff Software, 
Net Nanny and Log-on Data Corp. "The American Library 
Association continues to support full public access to 
constitutionally protected material in libraries," said 
ALA President Ann K. Symons. "We encourage and respect the 
right of local libraries to adopt Internet access policies 
for their communities." Symons said she called the meeting 
to provide a forum for librarians to share their concerns 
directly with software vendors, to learn more about 
state-of-the-art Web management technologies and to help 
shape the development of future technology in a way that 
protects both children and free speech. Most of the 
discussion focused on public libraries, which have been 
the center of debate over whether filters should be used 
to block access to pornographic material on the Internet. 
"Upholding people's right to information is a core value 
for our profession," Symons explained.  "The Internet has 
raised complex issues. Some people, especially 
politicians, see filtering as a quick fix but there are no 
easy answers. We owe it to the public to find the best 
possible answers." ALA adopted a policy two years ago 
opposing the use of filters because they also block access 
to constitutionally protected material of value to 
children and adults.  ALA urges all libraries to adopt 
Internet use policies, to encourage parental supervision 
of children's Internet use and to offer public education 
programs for children and adults about the Internet. 
Librarians' concerns voiced at the meeting include: 
--Freedom of choice.  Web management software should allow 
individuals to choose for themselves and with their 
children what they wish to view. 
--Guided search. Web management software should focus on 
guiding users to quality sites.  Librarians should know 
criteria for site selection and who is doing the 
--Data quality.  If a library chooses to use filters, Web 
management software should allow librarians to review 
blocked sites and provide a mechanism to notify the 
company when sites are blocked inappropriately. 
--Privacy. Web software should clear the screen after each 
use so users do not know what previous users have viewed, 
health information being of particular concern. 
-Ease of use. Web management software should be 
multi-functional, easy to administer and integrate well 
with existing products. he software manufacturers 
acknowledged that while filtering technology has evolved, 
"overblocking" can happen. They also said filters are not 
100 percent effective in blocking pornography, that 
children can circumvent them and that parents need to be 
advised of this. Several vendors said they found the 
meeting helpful in better understanding librarians' 
concerns and the pressures they are under.   They agreed 
that existing technology addresses some of these concerns 
and that all could be addressed if money were to be 
invested in new product development.  They warned such 
customized systems could be expensive and more complex to 
administer. In presenting their concerns, the vendors said 
they needed more specific criteria for software that would 
work in a public library setting, a better definition of 
terms and an ongoing dialogue with librarians about their 
concerns.  Several also said they found ALA's position on 
children and intellectual freedom not well defined. 
Vendors and librarians agreed with one software 
representative who said, "The press has done an incredible 
job of publicizing the negative side of the Internet." 
While good for business, the vendors agreed that problems 
with the Internet have been greatly exaggerated.  Most 
said they do not target public libraries for sales. One 
sales representative said he has been contacted by a few 
librarians, not because of Internet use problems, but 
because of pressure from politicians or community groups. 
According to a 1998 ALA survey, about 15 percent of public 
libraries use filters on at least one computer.  Almost 
all libraries report having Internet use policies. 
Following the meeting, Symons said she plans to explore 
several next steps including: 
-Discussion of "best practice" guidelines to help 
librarians make decisions about how to manage the 
-How ALA can play a role in developing industry standards 
for Web management technology in libraries. 
-An expanded role for ALA in reviewing and recommending 
quality Web sites for the public. 
-Ongoing dialogue about Web management to help shape new 
technologies that address library needs.  
ALA participants included Steven Herb, chair of the ALA 
Intellectual Freedom Committee; Nancy Kranich, chair of 
the ALA Legislation Committee; Candace Morgan, president 
of the Freedom to Read Foundation; Margo Crist, University 
of Massachusetts, W.E.B. Dubious Library; Carrie Gardener, 
Milton Hershey School, Hershey, Penn.; Deborah Jacobs, 
director of the Seattle Public Library; Karen Schneider, 
author of "Practical Guide to Internet Filters" and 
director of the Garfield Library of Brunswick, N.Y.; 
William Gordon, executive director of ALA: Carol 
Henderson, executive director, ALA Washington Office; and 
Judith Krug, director, ALA Office for Intellectual 
Freedom. Vendor representatives included Donna Bastian, 
Security Software Systems, Inc.; Stephen Boyles, One 
Place, LLC; Richard Chapin, Smartstuff Software; Howard 
Cooper, SafeNet; Jim Goulka, EdView; Amy Meyer, Winnebago 
Software Co.; Jim O'Halloran, N2H2; Phil Ortega, Pearl 
Software, Inc.; Gordon Ross, Net Nanny Software Int., 
Inc.; George Shih, Log-On Data Corp.; Terry Stuart, Net 
Partners Internet Solutions, Inc.; and Gary Warren, URL 
Labs, Inc. 
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X-Sender: mgolrick[at] 
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 22:57:06 -0500 
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]> 
From: "Michael A. Golrick" <mgolrick[at]> 
Subject: Re: Has the bugle sounded for a retreat on filtering? 
Mime-Version: 1.0 
Reply-To: mgolrick[at] 
Sender: owner-alacoun[at] 
Good evening - 
Ann, you responded well to Mark's question. I have to admit, however, that 
the ALA press release and the LJ story seem to be somewhat different in 
their assessments of the meeting. As I think about it, I do remember 
hearing that it had been scheduled. The group of library folks was most 
[As an aside, I hope that some one caught the typo in Margo Crist's 
insititution:  W.E.B. Dubious Library] 
I know that LJ probably selected the quotes from participants, but those 
leading quotes are the opposite of what Ann has assured us. The second 
article in some ways painted the filter folks with almost as broad a brush 
as is possible. How much better than to tell a legislator that a filter 
vendor says: 
	"None of us can block 100 percent," Stuart [Terry Stuart of Net Partners 
(makers of Web Sense)] acknowledged. 
So thanks Ann for letting us know. 
Michael A. Golrick 
Connecticut Chapter Councilor 
President-Elect, Connecticut Library Association 
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X-Sender: kgs[at] 
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 17:58:04 -0500 
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]> 
From: "Karen G. Schneider" <kgs[at]> 
Subject: Re: Has the bugle sounded for a retreat on filtering?  
Mime-Version: 1.0 
Reply-To: kgs[at] 
Sender: owner-alacoun[at] 
As one of those "timid" librarians who attended the filtering meeting... I 
have many observations and thoughts.  It was a good meeting, and some of 
the thinking that went on after the vendors left was some of the best 
librarian-think I have been privileged to share in.  I wish all of us could 
take sabbaticals every year to spend a couple of days thinking and talking 
about librarianship.  As for "rethinking" the resolution--balderdash.  The 
great thing about that resolution is that you could substitute any other 
mechanism for the term "filtering software" and it would still be valid. 
*Anything* that blocks protected speech is a violation of the LBOR.  That 
was emphasized to librarians AND to vendors.   
My sense about filtering software was that despite all the talk about "new 
developments," I haven't seen anything really new on the filter horizon, 
and this meeting confirmed my impressions.  In that sense, it strengthened 
everything I have said all along--and demonstrates why it was so good to 
have that meeting.  Bells and whistles aside, filters still have inherent 
limitations that mean they ultimately block protected speech and remove 
decision-making and local control, and they are still mechanical tools 
wrapped around subjective judgment.  If you do not offer unfiltered access 
to your patrons, you are violating the LBOR, and furthermore (this is very 
much my own opinion, but I am sure many of you share it) you are doing a 
disservice to both librarians and to the community at large and abrogating 
your responsibility to uphold free speech and the free flow of information. 
 We librarians have a very special responsibility as guardians of the First 
Amendment, and the Internet is no exception.   
I will say that if you poll a room of librarians on how to interpret the 
Council resolution in real life, you will get a room full of different 
opinions, ranging from thou shalt never filter, thou should only filter at 
gunpoint and then as minimally as possible (what I call the Vichy Internet 
solution), thou shalt never filter adult access... etc.  ALA has come out 
with various "q & a's" but they tend to pose questions which are then not 
explicitly answered.    
And let's not single out Steve Herb for his comments about children and 
access.  Line me up and shoot me--but you'll need to reload your gun a few 
times, methinks, since I am not alone: I think that when we fall on our 
sword to advocate open access to the Internet for children, without 
including any distinction between toddlers and teens, and without allowing 
for the role of the parent in decision-making about information access, we 
are making a mistake.  If I have to choose (the Vichy Internet decision 
matrix at play), I would prefer to place limits and restrictions on what 
children access long, long, long before I would  offer filtered access for 
adults, even as a [sic] "choice."  Full disclosure, since we all tend to 
rationalize our decisions by winning converts to our cause: I *did* have to 
choose.  Coming in to a library in a conservative area with a tradition of 
parental permission for use of books, I was able to persuade trustees that 
unfiltered access was desirable, and that parental permission for Internet 
use was in line with everything else we do.  To my mind, it is much worse 
to rationalize filtering by claiming that it is possible to offer patrons 
"informed choice" when filters depend upon hidden, subjective 
decision-making by companies making false claims about their ability to 
filter "porn" (as if they were capable of defining porn--and as if it were 
illegal to view it) than to insist on open access and include parents in 
the decision-making matrix.  I do not offer my patrons a dumbed-down, 
skewed, Precious Moments Internet.  If they get the Internet, they get it 
all, and I do not stand in their way.  And yes, we discriminate against 
young people, and I wish there were guidelines that pionted out that 
5-year-olds are not 14-year-olds.  What if my trustees wanted to filter 
children's computers, at parental request?  I don't know where I would be. 
Filters are inherently flawed; so do we prevent children from seeing the 
Internet until their age of emancipation, or do we offer the privatized 
world of filtered access?  Many, many, many libraries have struggled with 
these decisions.   
I respect Jack's opinion, and I particularly think we need to argue for 
local control.  No government OR VENDOR can tell my patrons what they can 
see, and my funding should not be predicated on local decisions.  The real 
elephant in the living room, however, is the issue of children and Internet 
access, and where we as an association stand on this issue.   
I will also say that I believe my comfort level with parental permission 
and children's access is a minority opinion very likely not shared by 
Council at large *or* by most of the attendees at the meeting.  However, I 
do believe it is the unspoken, confounding variable that makes this entire 
issue so complicated, and is also such common practice in public libraries 
that it needs addressing.   
At 08:29 AM 3/19/99 -0800, jforman[at]SDCCD.CC.CA.US wrote: 
>     I agree with Ann. 
>     It seems to me that the most important things to consider  
>     about the issue of Internet filters in libraries are: 
>     (1) Preserving the right of any library user (regardless of  
>     age) to access an unfiltered Internet. 
>     (2) Preserving the right of local libraries to institute  
>     their own policies regarding access to the Internet as long  
>     the policies meet the standard set forth in (1). 
>     Whatever else a local library wants to do regarding  
>     filtering is their own matter, but it's essential that ALA  
>     insist that any Internet Access policy meet both of the  
>     above standards.  
>     We need to emphasize that ALA strongly opposes the  
>     possibility that state and federal officials can impose  
>     restrictive user guidelines on local libraries as a  
>     prerequisite for special telecommunication discounts. And we  
>     need to stand firm on the right of any child, teenager or  
>     adult to access an unfiltered Internet in any library where  
>     access to the Internet is available. 
>     Jack Forman 
>     Councilor-At-Large 
Karen G. Schneider |  kgs[at]  
Author: A Practical Guide to Internet Filters, Neal Schuman, 1997  
Director, Garfield Library of Brunswick, NY...  
Soon: Brunswick Community Library!        ICQ 33028281 
Garfield on the Web: 
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(James Casey) 
Karen's observations regarding the danger of local library 
boards being bullied or forced by Federal, State or County 
governments to filter are points well taken.  I would 
certainly agree with Karen and Jack Forman as to the value 
of ALA creating a resolution which supports the right of 
local library boards (and school boards) to make their own 
decisions relative to filtering.  Efforts to attach 
filtering mandates onto the E-Rate and other funding 
measures have been a clear enough danger.  That filtering 
manufacturers might benefit significantly from such 
mandates being passed down is also clear and could 
constitute a conflict of interest.  Filtering mandates 
should be repugnant to all libraries, whether they filter 
or not.  Alliances between filtering and non-filtering 
libraries have turned back filtering mandates in State 
However .... 
If ALA passes a resolution affirming the right of local 
boards to make their own decisions regarding the filtering 
issue would that not be contradictory to the 1997 
Resolution?  What if a local board decides (totally on its 
own volition) to filter on some or all stations? 
What would happen if the political tides turned to the 
extent that Federal and/or some state governments 
prohibited the use of filters and refused to grant funding 
to libraries which filtered?  Would ALA support the right 
of local boards to make their own decisions in that case? 
Of course, if ALA insists that decisions to filter are 
inherently irresponsible and in violation of the Library 
Bill of Rights, the argument ends.  According to ALA, 
there is only one "right" decision. 
It is possible that filtering requirements might soon be 
tied to E-Rate discount eligibility.  Will ALA still 
continue to support the E-Rate and encourage libraries to 
apply if that unpleasant mandate comes to pass? 
James B. Casey -- Councilor-at-Large 
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Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 13:13:13 -0500 
From: "Maurice J. Freedman" <freedman[at]> 
Organization: Westchester Library System 
X-Accept-Language: en 
MIME-Version: 1.0 
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]> 
CC: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]> 
Subject: Filtering & Local Decision Making 
Reply-To: srrtac-l[at] 
Sender: owner-srrtac-l[at] 
Dear Councillors: 
Rather than respond point-by-point to the statements made 
by Jim Casey, I'd like to make the following comments on 
ALA's filtering policy and to the overall role of ALA and 
its policymaking responsibilities. 
1. ALA can never take away the right of any library to act 
in accord with its own decisions.  ALA is a professional 
association and does not charter or license libraries in 
the U.S.  If libraries want to follow or not follow ALA 
policies, it is their free choice. 
2. ALA has a vital leadership role to play.  ALA must 
continue to assert through the Library Bill of Rights, the 
Freedom to Read (and to View), and all of the ALA policies 
that prescribe the right and proper path of the 
Association, America's libraries, librarians, and (in the 
case of accreditation) its library schools. 
3. ALA should not water down any of its principled stands 
to accommodate local decisions--which, indeed, are always 
within the purview of those local institutions.  ALA must 
continue to stand as the beacon for what libraries and 
librarians "ought to be doing", i.e. defining for all of 
us and our institutions  our professional imperatives.  I 
see that as the most important role of any 
professional society. 
Of course we always are free to observe ALA's policies or 
not, either for ourselves or for our institutions. 
4. I will oppose any efforts by the Council to dilute 
ALA's stands on filtering, or for that matter, fees.  If 
those libraries and their management believe that ALA is 
wrong or that they cannot be in complete accord with ALA's 
policies in these two areas, let them depart as they deem 
5. It makes no sense to tailor ALA's policies to the 
lowest common denominator of desirable observance.  The 
results of such diminution would hardly be policies.  
Instead we should continue to support strenuously the 
leadership role played by the Association in guiding 
libraries to "do the right thing". 
ALA must continue to provide those standards to which 
local libraries throughout the country can lean on for 
support when the slings and arrows start coming, and, best 
case, help us prevent those slings and arrows from ever 
being launched. 
On a personal note, don't get me wrong.  The last thing I 
want is a fight on filtering, either on the Council floor, 
or in the county where I work.  But I do feel it is 
extremely helpful to have a clear policy on filtering to 
hold up to the community as a support for the policy 
position that has kept filters off 250 Westchester public 
libraries' Web PCs to date. 
Each of the directors of the independent and autonomous 
public libraries in the Westchester Library System 
implements this policy according to her/his best 
judgement.  Be it the tap on the shoulder to cut out the 
objectionable behavior or the scrupulous observance of, 
and non-interference with, the privacy of every PC user.  
The implementation may vary, but there is no doubt about 
the policy. 
And I am grateful to ALA for having provided such 
unequivocal prescriptive standards and guides on filtering 
and a host of other policies. 
And to Ann Symons, please stay strong in your support of 
the ALA filtering policy.  As President, you are the 
Association's elected spokesperson and many people look to 
you for leadership on this issue. 
Dr. Maurice J. Freedman, Director 
Westchester Library System         (914) 674-3600 x223 
410 Saw Mill River Road            fax: 914-674-4185 
Ardsley, New York 10502            freedman[at] 
"I'll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places..." 
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Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 18:29:17 -0500 
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]> 
From: "Karen G. Schneider" <kgs[at]> 
Subject: Re: Local Decision Making 
Mime-Version: 1.0 
Reply-To: kgs[at] 
Sender: owner-alacoun[at] 
At 06:16 PM 3/20/99 -0500, Maurice J. Freedman wrote: 
>I don't understand why ALA has to pass a resolution "affirming the right of 
>local boards to make their own decisions".  Every local board knows that they 
>have that right.  In no one's wildest imagination would anyone suggest that 
>any library board would act or not act in a given way because ALA in some way 
>attempted to constrain the board's actions or right to decide its own 
>Why is this an issue? 
It isn't about interference from ALA--far from it--it's about fears about 
interference from the government, such as the constant threats to mandate 
filtering.  However, Jim and Peter have pointed out that the flip side of 
attemtping to reaffirm the "local control" issue is that out-of-control 
boards could use that as a rationale for enforcing practices that violate 
the LBOR.  This is exactly what went on in Loudoun--the board claimed it 
had the right to filter all adult workstations, any one else be damned. 
(The courts felt otherwise.)  In fact, as a bit of library history (which I 
may have shared before), I recall reading somewhere--I believe in Pillar of 
Fire--that the day that St. Petersberg integrated, the local public library 
closed rather than serve African-Americans.  Certainly that was an exercise 
of "local control," government be damned...  
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From: Carolyn Caywood <carolyn[at]> 
Subject: Re: Has the bugle sounded for a retreat on filtering? (fwd) 
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]> 
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 21:27:09 -0500 (EST) 
Cc: carolyn[at] (Carolyn Caywood) 
MIME-Version: 1.0 
Reply-To: carolyn[at] 
Sender: owner-alacoun[at] 
Karen said: 
 The great thing about that resolution is that you could substitute any 
 other mechanism for the term "filtering software" and it would still be 
 valid.  *Anything* that blocks protected speech is a violation of the LBOR.  
I notice there's still a tendency to drop this critical clause when 
discussing the resolution we passed.  It is critical because the word 
"protected" recognizes the primacy of the United States Constitution over  
all governing bodies, from Congress discussing the e-rate to a library 
board implementing "local control."  Granted, it takes a while for the 
Constitution's application in specific situations to become clear. 
Its application to the Internet is certainly progressing much faster than  
its application to Civil Rights did.  It seems to me that our 
responsibility is to continue to help the process of clarification, as 
we did with the CDA.  This doesn't make things as easy as pat answers 
would, but we do claim to be a principled profession and difficult 
times are the price of principles. 
Carolyn Caywood                  % Save the time of the Reader % 
carolyn[at]                 %     --Ranganathan's 4th Law %            FAX:757-464-6741 
936 Independence Blvd. Virginia Beach, VA 23455     757-460-7519 
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Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 13:01:26 -0600 (CST) 
From: Sandy Berman <sberman[at]> 
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]> 
cc: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]> 
Subject: Re: Local Decision Making -- and its dangers 
MIME-Version: 1.0 
Reply-To: sberman[at] 
Sender: owner-alacoun[at] 
Notably absent from most "filtering" debates is hard, empirical evidence 
of harm suffered by children from viewing nudity or explicit sex. 
According to a fairly recent NCAC newsletter, there just isn't any. 
Everyone, whether pro or anti-filtering, appears to accept the premise 
that graphic erotica is BAD and dangerous for kids. Maybe it's time to 
reexamine the premise & consider whether the "controversy" isn't REALLY 
about ADULT hangups & politics & morality... sandy b. 
        Sanford Berman             sberman[at] 
        Hennepin County Library    phone: 612-694-8570 
        12601 Ridgedale Drive        fax: 612-541-8600 
        Minnetonka, MN  55305 
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Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 17:16:32 -0500 
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]> 
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]> 
Subject: Is internet sex dangerous to your health? Sez who? 
Reply-To: iskra[at] 
Sender: owner-alacoun[at] 
I am so glad that Sandy Berman has jumped in here with his wise and incisive 
 observations about the questionable premise of much of the discussion of 
 internet blocking: that sexual images are a priori dangerous for - or 
 deleterious to - children and adolescents and even, perhaps, adults. 
I hope this opens up some discussion which I thought would have been provoked 
 by my earlier posting making a similar point as Sandy's (see below).  
Or are we afraid to even entertain the idea that children and others need not 
 necessarily be protected from sexual images,or that librarians can adopt a 
 sex-positive point of view which is consistent with their Code of Ethics and 
 constructively conducive to the eradication of the heavy burdens of guilt and 
 opprobrium which still attach themselves to persons' normal sexual curiosity. 
 We can, through concerning ourselves first and foremost with access rather than 
 blocking, contribute to actually lifting the weight of sexual guilt which still 
 weighs heavy on so many in our over-stimulated/under-satisfied culture and 
 society with such negative effects. 
Mark C. Rosenzweig 
Councilor at large 
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 14:07:52 -0500 (EST) 
From: Frederick W Stoss <fstoss[at]> 
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]> 
cc: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]> 
Subject: Re: ALA Council reopens filtering issue 
MIME-Version: 1.0 
Reply-To: srrtac-l[at] 
Sender: owner-srrtac-l[at] 
In August of 1979 residents in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls suburban 
neighborhood of Love Canal were required to evacuate their homes. This was 
in response to state and federal action that deemed chemical contamination 
as being potentially life threatening. The legacy of Love Canal stimulated 
much controversy and action leading to the passage of legislation, the 
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act 
(CERCLA), more affectionately called Superfund. A comprehensive 300,000+ 
page archive of letters, newspaper clippings, photographs, maps, 
testimonies, reports, and other ephemeral information about the 
controversies leading up to the evacuation of Love Canal residents, the 
clean up activities of this blue-collar neighborhood, the battles fought 
in seeking compensation for damages, and impacts to the citizens of Love 
Canal and beyond are found in the University at Buffalo Archives. Our 
library assembled an exhibit to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 
first evacuation at Love Canal -- an exhibit that received considerable 
attention, including a very nice description in the September issue of 
American Libraries. The exhibit has been preserved as an ongoing 
Cyber-exhibit and receives about 500 visitors per month. 
Nearly all filtering software would find access to the scores of  
scientific, policy, and information resources via the Internet 
objectionable. Students, teachers, local community officials, researchers, 
and others would be denied access to a tremendous collection of important 
I give this as an example of the dangers of filtering. 
Fred Stoss 
SRRT Member  
Frederick W. Stoss, M.S. (zoology-aquatic ecology), M.L.S. 
Associate Librarian -- Biological Sciences  
Science and Engineering Library 
SUNY University at Buffalo 
Buffalo, NY 14260-2200 
716/645-2946 ext. 224 -- 716/645-3710 FAX 

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Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 08:36 AM