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Rise in porn site viewers forces library to pull Internet access
The Macomb Daily ^ | 11/27/2006 | Mitch Hotts

Posted on 11/27/2006 5:40:56 AM PST by cyclotic

Internet access for the public at the Mount Clemens Public Library has been revoked because of an increase in the number of people looking at sexually explicit material. Advertisement

The plug was pulled on the computers earlier this month after employees noticed a "large increase" in visitors using the free Internet service to access what the library termed obscene material in violation of library policies.

"There seemed to be a sudden increase in that kind of activity, and it was really bothering me. I thought something needed to be done," said library Director Donald E. Worrell Jr.

Library staffers acknowledge there have been complaints from people who want to use the Internet terminals for legitimate reasons, but seemed to understand the rationale once it was explained.

Worrell said his decision was difficult because public libraries encourage intellectual freedom and strive to avoid censorship. However, given the noticeable increase in pornography being displayed, Worrell said he felt action was needed.

"We have families and kids who have witnessed some of these activities going on and they were just shocked," Worrell said.

The controversy is not unique to the Mount Clemens Public Library, say experts in the library field.

"It's definitely an issue many libraries encounter," said Gretchen Couraud, executive director of the Michigan Library Association in Lansing. "The issue comes down to protecting free speech rights for adults while balancing the need to protect children from viewing the material."

Libraries can -- and do -- install filter software that can prevent pornographic material from being displayed.

But the Library Privacy Act, which went into effect in 2000, states if the facility provides public access to the Internet, there must be at least one unfiltered terminal for people 18 and older.

Furthermore, the law specifies that an adult can ask for the filter to be removed while he or she uses the terminal.

Libraries have come up with innovative methods to comply with the law and still shield minors from sexual material. Some libraries have Internet terminals in separate rooms for adults, with the children's computers having the restrictive filter system.

Others use privacy screens or "blinders" on the top of the terminals, designed to prevent passers-by from viewing the screen.

In the Sterling Heights Public Library, all computers have filters except those facing the reference desk, which are unfiltered but open to the inspection of library workers.

"We did that in response to some problems with people looking at inappropriate material," said Carol Lingeman, the head librarian. "That seems to have controlled it. Everyone in the library community has to make a decision on how to best address the situation."

In Mount Clemens, the terminals are all in public view, said Worrell.

Mount Clemens is consulting with the Macomb County Sheriff's Office and its legal firm to decide what course of action to take. Sheriff's deputies were asked to make more frequent walk-throughs of the library in an effort to discourage people from looking at pornography.

It's not clear when the Internet ban will be lifted in Mount Clemens.

"We need to find some better ways to control the public use of the Internet terminals so we don't have to worry about families coming in here and their children seeing something they shouldn't," Worrell said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: library; morals; mtclemens; pr0n
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It's great to see a library who is more concerned with decency and propriety than in keeping with the liberal agenda.

My daughter works for this library so that makes it extra important to me.

1 posted on 11/27/2006 5:40:58 AM PST by cyclotic
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To: cyclotic

The American Library Association has to be disappointed. They believe in readily available porn and complete privacy for all ages.


2 posted on 11/27/2006 5:44:38 AM PST by Always Right
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To: cyclotic

I'm sure the ACLU will be filing suit shortly... 'specially for anyone wishing access to pedophilic sites.


3 posted on 11/27/2006 5:46:44 AM PST by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: cyclotic

Am I missing something? I thought libraries would have some sort of blocking software - Weblocker or other. This also block out things like Ogrish and the like.


4 posted on 11/27/2006 5:53:39 AM PST by Mac1
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To: Mac1

Beware of these blocking services. At a school I worked for you could not access sites dealing with breast cancer nor could you access "extremist" websites (including Right to Life sites).


5 posted on 11/27/2006 5:56:34 AM PST by Bushwacker777
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To: cyclotic

Just put the PC's in the most visible and busiest part of the library: right near the entrance with the monitors facing the entrance way and front desk.


6 posted on 11/27/2006 6:03:23 AM PST by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave

That's about where they are. Evidently the perv's are still using them.


7 posted on 11/27/2006 6:30:41 AM PST by cyclotic (Support Cub Scouting-Raising boys to be men, and politically incorrect at the same time.)
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To: Uncledave
Just put the PC's in the most visible and busiest part of the library: right near the entrance with the monitors facing the entrance way and front desk.

That won't bother some people - I used to work with a Russian contract programmer who thought nothing of viewing porn in an open work area with women passing by all day. This was at a software company who cared more about getting the project done than about PC imperatives, but people from other cultures are often extraordinarily obtuse about how such actions are perceived in America.

8 posted on 11/27/2006 6:34:44 AM PST by Mr. Jeeves ("When the government is invasive, the people are wanting." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: Uncledave
Just put the PC's in the most visible and busiest part of the library

That's just the problem. That people are looking at this stuff in full view. I, for one, welcome the all-or-none stance over the let's-legislate-it-to-death one.

9 posted on 11/27/2006 6:55:53 AM PST by Seņor Zorro ("The ability to speak does not make you intelligent"--Qui-Gon Jinn)
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To: cyclotic
My daughter works for this library so that makes it extra important to me.

It's great that your daughter is part of a group trying to do right. But the ACLU will trump her traditional values - and porn peddlers, drunks, and criminals will ultimately win control of libraries.

It's time to close libraries down. Have you noticed library bulletin boards filled with liberal propaganda? And only liberal propaganda? Who hasn't?

And the stuff about poor kids not getting to read? Take a look at who's in the library... It would be cheaper to pay Barns & Noble money to give books to anyone under the age of 12 - three free books a year and a subsidized children's reading room in store... We'd save billions and do a better job by the children. A private bookstore will know how to keep porn out of the view of 6 year olds. Time to dump the library system -it's too little for too much.

10 posted on 11/27/2006 7:06:18 AM PST by GOPJ (Muslims wear us down through terrorism.They should be worn down through mockery & criticism-Fjordman)
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To: GOPJ

In many cases I'd agree. Not this one. She works in the childrens library as a page (gofer) The librarian is a very nice Christian lady.

Better yet, the library did a $1.5 million upgrade last year using only funds they had been saving for the last 20 years. No new taxes, no fees, no debt.

We can get just about any book there with no problems.

A library is one of the few government institutions I can agree with.


11 posted on 11/27/2006 7:29:57 AM PST by cyclotic (Support Cub Scouting-Raising boys to be men, and politically incorrect at the same time.)
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To: cyclotic

It's not so much the porn sites as cleaning up after what they do under their raincoats.;-)


12 posted on 11/27/2006 7:41:15 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (When someone burns a cross on your lawn the best fire hose is an AK-47.)
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To: GOPJ
It's time to close libraries down.

Libraries are being put out of business by the Internet but that's not stopping small city socialists from building new vanity libraries. Libraries have become similar to light rail train-sets for socialists to play with, spend other peoples money on, and order people about.

I used to love libraries, at least the ones that put the money into the books instead of the buildings. Because of the Internet I haven't been to a library in years.

13 posted on 11/27/2006 7:57:52 AM PST by Reeses
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To: cyclotic

"...said library Director Donald E. Worrell Jr...."


Must be related to Ernest P. Worrell.


14 posted on 11/27/2006 8:02:33 AM PST by fishtank
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Just don't get picked for gum duty!!


15 posted on 11/27/2006 8:04:58 AM PST by Tatze (This tagline is brought to you by the Admin Moderator!)
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To: Reeses

I kind of agree--my city has a new vanity library (it made national news for its leftist "mural" filled with misspellings) and the librarians sure do like to order people about. . .

HOWEVER: I have 4 children, voracious readers all, and each child has his own library card, and it is not uncommon for each child to have 100 books checked out per card (the library limit) at any one time--so our house has a constant rotation of 400 books.

We love the library. We go at least once a week to get more books, and music and DVDs too. A real money saver.


16 posted on 11/27/2006 8:24:14 AM PST by olivia3boys
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To: cyclotic
Did your daughter consider filing a "hostile workplace" lawsuit while the porn was visible to library employees? I mean, if her boss or another employee left pornographic pictures on her desk, that would be harassment, right? Why do the library patrons get to expose library employees to stuff like that? At the very least, such a suit would pit federal laws allowing pornography against federal laws prohibiting a hostile workplace, would would be fun to watch the courts sort out. It would also be interesting to see if courts have the guts to tell female employees of libraries that viewing pornography is part of their job.
17 posted on 11/27/2006 8:25:35 AM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: Mac1

These filters can also be used to block "Free Republic" and "Little Green Footballs" as "hate sites."


18 posted on 11/27/2006 8:27:57 AM PST by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 35-38)
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To: Reeses
Because of the Internet I haven't been to a library in years.

Because of public libraries I haven't been to a bookstore in years.

19 posted on 11/27/2006 8:29:07 AM PST by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 35-38)
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To: cyclotic

>>Some libraries have Internet terminals in separate rooms for adults<<

Private booths. Cool!

</s>


20 posted on 11/27/2006 8:30:33 AM PST by RobRoy
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