Did you know that library organizations are fighting to provide access to internet pornography in public libraries? It’s true! The American Library Association (ALA) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) both fought the Children’s Internet Protection Act all the way up to the Supreme Court, and lost (thankfully).

But that doesn’t seem to stop the ALA from falsely disseminating that most pornography is “protected by the First Amendment.”

Here’s a quote from their website:

In the millions of Web sites available on the Internet, there are some—often loosely called “pornography”—that parents, or adults generally, do not want children to see. A very small fraction of those sexually explicit materials is actual obscenity or child pornography, which are not constitutionally protected. The rest, like the overwhelming majority of materials on the Internet, is protected by the First Amendment.

A small fraction of internet porn isn’t obscene? Seriously? I’d really like to know what they consider obscene. Bestiality? Violent rape scenes? Are those not obscene???

Let’s look at the ALA’s most common arguments:

  • Internet filters violate the constitutional rights of patrons.
  • Filters are tantamount to censorship.

“Nonsense!” says Patrick Trueman, President of Morality in Media, the organization which founded the Safe Schools, Safe Libraries Project. Trueman counters that “filtering software has come a long way in the last twenty years and is very effective in blocking pornography without interfering with more legitimate sites. Also, use of filters does not violate rights, as the Supreme Court has rules in upholding the Children’s Internet Protection Act.”

As far as censorship goes, all library boards make choices about what books and materials they purchase. Pornographic magazines and books are not carried in libraries, so why should libraries carry porn over the internet?

I want to make clear that librarians are not the enemy, but some have been misled by false information about the constitutionality about porn in libraries.

Here is an animated video that role plays a parent’s conversation with a librarian after seeing pornography on library computers. It’s not slick, but the dialog provides excellent information about what is legal and what is not legal in public libraries.

Click here to find more info and a downloadable “Getting Started” packet on how you can get involved in the fight for Safe and Sane Libraries in your community.

Have you ever seen pornography on a computer at your public library? Do you feel that your children are safe at your local library? I’d love to hear your comments! Leave a reply below or scroll up and click on the gray bubble to share your thoughts.

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.
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