Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Educating or Lobbying

There was a great deal of concern in Libraryland when HB1727 (Internet filtering) narrowly passed the Illinois House. So the Illinois Library Association called for a "Library Day of Unity." They suggested calling or faxing your local state senator, distributing flyers, posting signs, and even turning off public access to the internet for that one day. The goal was for everyone in the Illinois library community to do SOMETHING.

The "something" that we seemed to do the most here at KPL, was discuss what we as public servants could legally and ethically do while on the clock and with public funds and property. As library workers, we know first hand what is actually going on in our libraries. We have an intimate knowledge of our budgets and what we can afford, of our community's standards and expectations for library services; and thanks to persistent sales people, knowledge about the technological products available to the library market. We have a valuable perspective. Shouldn't that perspective be shared with our legislators and patrons? Shouldn't our patrons be informed about how a proposed state law could negatively impact their library and the services they have come to expect? We are doing our duty, educating the public.... or have we crossed the line and begun lobbying our own agenda?

As much as I personally and professionally think that filters are not a good option for our library, I recognize that there are tax payers in our community who just as adamantly believe that filters are the only option. I don't believe that the pro-filter folks want to hurt public libraries, and I certainly hope they believe that libraries are just as concerned about online safety. The facts, information, and education are the key - they also happen to be our job.

Cindy Fuerst
Library Director

5 Comments:

Blogger SafeLibraries.org said...

Obviously you are well intentioned. But with the reports CBS investigative reporter Dave Savini has filed, the facts are not in your favor. Please see for yourself.

May 16, 2007 9:03 PM  
Blogger Lions-Online said...

None of the "facts" you site on your website are relevant to The Kankakee Public Library. That's because porn is not being viewed in our library. We make certain of that because all our public internet computers are facing a staff desk and are clearly viewable by our employees. Users being inappropriate are warned once, then banned for one year on the second offence. Why should the people of the City of Kankakee be required to pay a "public interent tax" to solve a problem that doesn't exist in thier library?

May 17, 2007 2:46 PM  
Blogger SafeLibraries.org said...

Lions-online: The answer to your question lies in your own statement: "Users being inappropriate are warned once, then banned for one year on the second offence." With filters, expecially good ones as extolled by the ACLU (in ACLU v. Gonzales), such instances may become nonexistent, especially since your library is so vigilant as you say you are.

Congratulations. Really. And the filters will actually help you.

Think about this. In state after state where filters are used and the librarians cried foul, the end result is usually that the librarians find the filters are not so bad and actually help create a less harassing work environment. Get the filters and enjoy the freedom. And read "Finally, a Library Director Who Gets It.

May 17, 2007 7:57 PM  
Blogger Lions-Online said...

Hello again,

I read the article "Finally a Library Director Who Gets It". Again, I don't recognize our library in the article. The ALA has no grip on me or anyone else in our institution. I think you have turned it into the classic "straw man." I invite you to read one of my previous blogs. Is the ALA Out of Touch

May 30, 2007 2:39 PM  
Blogger SafeLibraries.org said...

I read that link you recommended. All I can say is, "WOW"! I'm going to add that material to my group's Good Librarians page. And I'm going to inform Family Friendly Libraries to consider you for an Award of Recognition.

And you pinned the tail on the donkey when you said if libraries followed the ALA recommendations, people would be calling for filters. We agree, as I already said elsewhere, that the libraries are the cause of their own problems by having wacky rules that the public then needs to try to rectify.

Bravo!

June 01, 2007 4:57 AM  

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