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National Research Council Committee to Study Tools and Strategies for Protecting Children from Pornography and Their Applicability to Other Inappropriate Internet Content

The Library Perspective

Judith Krug, Director American Library Association, Office for Intellectual Freedom

The American Library Association is not against Internet filters, which are a wonderful device for parents to use at home.

Internet filters are not appropriate for public institutions, specifically Libraries because:

  1. Libraries are publicly supported institutions and are therefore subject to the First Amendment.
  2. Libraries are places of inclusion, not exclusion.
  3. The filtering companies, which are private companies, consider their criteria to be proprietary information.
  4. Filters are both under inclusive and over inclusive.

There are other, less restrictive and more effective methods for protecting children on the Internet.

Libraries provide training, support, and guidance for children, parents and all library users to become responsible Internet users.

  • Public Library of Nashville
  • Canton (Mich.) Public library
  • Free Library of Philadelphia

We are living in a global information society. Students of all ages must be able to assess as well as access information.

Alternatives to blocking software:

Internet use politics;

  • Educating the community about how to assess information an the Internet;
  • Direct guidance to educational, entertaining, and safe sites;
  • Developing children’s Web sites and home pages that lead children directly to the best of the Web.

Communities have been developing many different and effective ways to guide children's access to the Internet. Filters do not solve the problems of obscenity and child pornography on the Internet.

More Testimony

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