In May, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee filed suit against the Knox County and Metro Nashville school district for blocking lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer websites. Two weeks later, on June 3rd, the school districts announced that they would stop filtering the websites of gay-friendly advocacy groups such as the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). You can read the full article about the decision here.
A lot of schools and libraries filter their Internet to block explicit sexual or violent content. In fact, post Children’s Online Protection Act (COPA) / and Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) legislation, many public libraries are required to use Internet filtering software if they want to receive funding from the federal E-Rate program.
Earlier this month, someone from the Pelham, NY, public library tattled to the high school principal after an eleventh grader was at the library researching gun conceal & carry laws. The student was called into the assistant principal’s office and interviewed by the police. After talking to the student, police Detective Kevin Campion assured everyone that there was nothing to be worried about and that the student had not broken any laws.
Many public libraries make a commitment to their communities–including teens!–that they will protect everyone’s privacy. You may have heard of a little thing we like to call Intellectual Freedom. The U.S. Constitution guarantees us the right to access any and all information without fear of persecution (excepting obscenity, libel and fighting words), and librarians have really taken that to heart.