Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Don't Tread on Us

Like most other librarians in the state of Illinois these days, my hair has been put on end by the proposed "Social Networking Website Prohibition Act" wending it's way through the Illinois General Assembly. If enacted, the law will do exactly what the title suggests. The Illinois Library Association has released an excellent set of talking points. However, I think they have left out one that would be particularly appealing to conservatives. Conservatives assert that the people are best represented by the elected officials closest to their communities. City government is more representative than state government, which is more representative than the federal government. Every public library in this state is governed by a board of trustees, either elected by the people of a public library district or appointed by the mayor of a city served by a municipal library. In every case, these boards have decided what internet policies best represent the communities that their libraries serve. What I ask the promoters of the "Social Networking Website Prohibition Act" is this: what is your evidence that these citizen overseers are making such wrong decisions that they must be overruled by a higher authority?

Stephen Bertrand
Assistant Director


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been watching this unfold through several blogs and newslists that I read, and I'm really surprised that this has gotten this far. Our library system has decided to ban the social networking sites just because of the bandwidth streaming video eats up. Some of our libraries' connections are not much better than dial up, so if you get four people on public computers trying to watch someone's video there can't be much happening at the circ desk. Our decision wasn't a censorship decision, but a techincal one. There were patrons happy that this was banned and there were patrons upset that they could no longer go to the library to catch up on what was new in the lives of their Facebook friends.

Are your legislators also cracking down on 900 phone numbers, adult video stores, and cute baby contest. Church socials and high school football games could also be thought of as social networking. Perverts can lurk anywhere. I don't believe this is the answer!

March 11, 2007 9:03 AM  

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