Monday, April 02, 2007

The High Cost of Filters

We have been discussing Illinois HB 1727 A LOT around here lately. This is yet another unfunded mandate requiring all public and school libraries to install filters on their public computers. Of course it requires that the filters to be turned off at the drop of a hat by a library employee who is over 21 who then needs to monitor the unfiltered session. Libraries and librarians who do not comply face fines of up to $100 per day, and possibly imprisonment. I think orange jumpsuits are a fashion faux pas for women over a certain age. I really don’t want to wear one.

The dark side of the Internet has been widely hyped in the media. Even I am amazed at some of the explicit sites that can be accessed for free on the net. Most reasonable people, including our legislators, want to protect our kids and think filters are a good thing. It is hard to argue against them; but the Illinois Library Association has a list of excellent talking points on why they oppose HB 1727.

If HB 1727 passes and becomes law, our Library’s cost for providing free public computer access will more than quadruple. The staffing alone will cost more than $60,000 a year. I’m basing this on minimum wage ($8.25 an hour in Illinois), having two people here all the hours we are open (69 each week), for 52 weeks a year. I have yet to factor in the actual cost of the software, and as I mentioned before, this is an unfunded mandate. If this passes, the liability and the costs will just be too high for some libraries; they may be forced to discontinue providing public internet access. Now that would really be a crime.

Cindy Fuerst
Library Director


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is absolutely the coolest....what a great use of the blogesphere.

Kitty Pope, Alliance Library System, Illinois

April 14, 2007 4:35 PM  

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