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You can't tell a building by its label

Sending your child to your community's public library could be sending your child on an adventure to read a variety of excellent childrens books - or - to read and view pornography, chat on-line with pedophiles and obtain information on how to have safe sex with animals.

By James Kraemer
Most parents think obscene materials come from adult sex shops, pornography magazines and videos, and from special interest groups - such as the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) and the like. Many parents have no awareness that their children can view pornography and check out R-Rated movies at the public library, some public schools and other public resource centers; and may get assistance from adult and minor employees to view these materials.

One example is the American Library Association's weblink with Columbia University's, "Go Ask Alice!" The ALA promotes kids rights, health and censorship issues as the reasons for making alleged sexually explicit information available to kids. Mixed in with a storehouse of great information for kids is what some parents and child protective organizations consider objectionable material. Not the mild, "Why is Sally's body different from Johnny's," but issues probably prohibited printing in most main stream newspapers, including details to kids on how to participate in safe sex with animals (bestiality), and how to clean body fluids off the whip after engaging in Sado-Masochistic activities.

Toys R Us, a major contributor, didn't buy the ALA's explanation for some of Go Ask Alice content and withdrew support for the ALA's Children's Reading Rooms in Libraries. The ALA cites the efforts of a well known radio broadcast therapist, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who encouraged listeners to complain to the toy conglomerate.
What do you think about the ALA's position on censorship and kids? Should kids have the right to view any material they choose?

Your Thought

The ALA believes that library policies and procedures which effectively deny minors equal access to all library resources available to other users violates the Library Bill of Rights. Apparently, to help enforce this position the ALA has gone as far as offer kids a youth activism link to "Peacefire," a website that gives teens immediate procedures on how to disable blocking software, circumventing adult and parental authority to block their childrens' access to certain websites.

In some libraries parents are denied access to their child's reading record. According to ALA policies that's confidential and an alleged violation of your child's rights to let you see your child's reading record.

Pedophiles are taking advantage of library confidential access policies, accessing kiddy-porn and starting on-line clubs and communications with kids.

NAMBLA promotes kids rights issues a step further. NAMBLA's goal is "to end the oppression of men and boys who have mutually consensual relationships. NAMBLA's membership is open to everyone sympathetic to personal freedom." NAMBLA backs up its assertions with what they call scientific evidence. NAMBLA's page, "What Can Science Tell Us," presents their "Positive and Beneficial Experiences" outcome-based concepts of children engaging in sexual activities.

NAMBLA references several studies, including the American Psychological Bulletin's (July 1998 issue), "A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples," even though the APA discredited that article, declared it an unscientific work and expressed regret for publishing it. (See May [99], Adult To Adult, Experiences in misery - Is your child at risk?

The ALA may be considering an outcome-based study of their own, to support that children are not harmed by pornography, according to Filtering Facts, an organization of librarians and parents against childrens' access to hard-core porn in public libraries, July 30 (99) Friday Letter, "ALA Council Considers Internet Study to Prove Porn Isn't a Problem."

Filtering Facts Friday Letter reports that outgoing American Library Association President Ann Symons is apparently recommending to the ALA Executive Board that research be conducted, at the recommendation of Karen Schneider, to create "a body of research to underscore what any librarian will tell you: That the "problem" (of library cyberporn) has been manufactured by folks who are dead set on censorship, period, as a tool of their political agenda".

One of the council members pointed out to the ALA president that "we can't know the results though before we do the research," the report said.

The ALA situation, concerning pornography, has not received much attention from the mainstream press. Regardless, and mostly as a result of efforts from Dr. Laura, David Burt, concerned parents and parent/child groups, some state and federal lawmakers are beginning to address the issue.

In Illinois, libraries were considered exempt from obscenity statutes until this year, when a bill passed disallowing the dissemination of child porn by librarians. Other states have passed or are now looking at similar bills at the state level.

At the federal level, the the Senate is looking at the Childrens' Internet Protection Act, Sponsered by Sen. John McCain, and the Safe Schools Internet Act, sponsered by Congressman Bob Franks. These Acts address filtering issues in libraries and schools.

Kids often acquire permission for their misbehavior from adults, and all-to-often the most dysfunctional behaviors are promoted outside the control or awareness of the child's parents, by organizations once considered decent, honorable and cherished by our society.

These days, you can't tell a building by its' label; even sending your child to the public library may send that child toward an accommodated curiosity in risk behavior.

Your comments about this story; Subject Keywords: ALA

Author's Note: About fifty percent of America's public libraries offer access to the Internet. Not all public libraries offering Internet access follow in the footsteps of the ALA's anti-censorship policies, especially concerning childrens' access. Some libraries have installed filters or monitor activities closely. Other libraries may have written policies prohibiting using library resources to access pornography, while some libraries may require parents sit with their child at the terminal. Go Ask Alice is often considered acceptable information for youth by many of America's public libraries and some public schools. Parents concerned about kids access to pornography at the library (or at school) might try requesting extra monitoring (or promote filtering) to help insure their child's access is restricted.

2safeschools Message Board
Forum includes school staff and parents opinions concerning kids access to pornography in public libraries and schools. Now you can view our forums without joining - click on GUEST at log-in.
The L-Files
Alleged Illegal or ignoble internet activities or information accessible to minors at some public libraries and public schools. Warning! Some of the information at this page may contain pronography or may be objectionable to some adults.
One Librarian’s Story
A 10-year veteran of the King County, (Washington State) Public Library resigned rather than carry out library policy of providing children with pornography.
Library porn logs
Library logs, concerning adults accessing child pornography.
Schlessinger Monologues
Links to several articles and a forum, concerning pornography in public libraries.
Keeping Libraries User and Family Friendly
The Challenge of Internet Pornography. This article, by the Family Research Council, looks at how libraries can maintain local policies in the face of threats from the ALA and ACLU.
Center for the Community Interest (CCI)
The Center for the Community Interest (CCI) a national organization that serves as a voice for the community on crime and quality-of-life issues.  The CCI bills as the common sense counter to the ACLU - without going to the other extreme. 
Radio Broadcast
David Burt, with Filtering Facts, discusses ALA issue on American Family Radio. This broadcast is in .asx media format, usually included with windows programs. (Free windows media player)
Filtering Facts
Online source for information on making Internet access in libraries safe for children and communities. Published by a librarian and ALA member.
2Safeschools Commentary
Protecting children from porn takes awareness.
Useful Quotes
For and against ALA policies.
Librarianship on the Bleeding Edge
Meeting the Pressure to Filter, by Mark Smith.
ALA Updated News Release
Friday, May 7th, 1999, (Updated May 11), ALA report cites Dr. Laura Schlessinger for one-million dollar funding loss from Toys R Us.
America's 10 most dangerous Libraries for children
These public libraries are large systems that provide unfiltered Internet access to all children, and will do nothing to intervene when they see children accessing pornography, according to Filtering Facts, an organization of librarians and parents against giving children access to pornography.
Condemned.org
A group of computer security experts has formed a virtual neighborhood watch, policing the World Wide Web for sites peddling child pornography and in some cases hacking into the sites and taking them down.
Peacefire: Youth Alliance Against Internet Censorship
The American Library Association's Teen Hoopla Activisim link to "Peacefire" site, offers teens immediate access to procedures to circumvent adult/parental authority - "How to disable your blocking software, because ignorance shouldn't have to be hereditary"
New AFA video confronts dangerous library policies
A new video, titled, "Excess Access: Are Your Children Safe in the Public Library?," produced by the American Family Association warns parents that their kids may not be safe in the local library because of policies that allow even children unrestricted access to pornography.
Go Ask Alice!
The American Library Association's 'Alice' link that enraged so many adults nationwide.
Warning! Some of the information at this site may contain pronography or may be objectionable to some adults.
John Harvard Statue not John. Minister Donates Library
On September 14, 1638, John Harvard, a 31-year-old clergyman from Charlestown, Massachusetts, died leaving his library and half his estate to a local college. The young minister's bequest allowed the college to firmly establish itself. In honor of its first benefactor, the school adopted the name Harvard College. (Click on link to read more).
The 40 external and internal "developmental assets"
that all youth need to grow up healthy. Information from Search Institute.
A Mother's Story
What this mom did when the school and therapy failed her out-of-control son. Excellent reading for Parents and School Staff dealing with an out-of-control teen and nothing else has worked.
How to help keep your child's school bus safe
A short article from "In Loving Memory."

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