The Internet is here to stay, and so is the battle over how it should be
governed. This issue is nowhere more pertinent and contested than in
libraries. Free public access to the Internet is now considered a basic
right in many communities, but the issue of what content should be
accessible in such a setting is grounds for legislative war.
Library Internet access opens whole new worlds to users. Patrons can freely
access multimedia information on subjects ranging from space exploration to
local community issues. At the same time, children and adults now have easy
access to controversial sites that contain pornography, hate literature and
Internet filtering software offers some control, but its use remains hotly contested by many. The
debate finds the protectors of First Amendment rights pitted
against those who have deep concerns about child safety.
The following sites can help you get up to speed on the issue:
InfoPeople's Library Filtering Page
Catch up on the history of libraries and internet filtering (complete with glossary terms), how filters work and the best practices, and the site includes related resources.
For more information on individual lobbying groups on either side of the
issue, check out the following:
American Decency Association
A nonprofit Christian-based organization that encourages citizens to guard their hearts, minds, and souls from the degrading, desensitizing impact of entertainment and advertising.
American Family Association
Supports library filters as a means to block children from access to
harmful material, such as pornography and hate speech.