Taking Action:
    Intellectual Freedom
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   Talking Points:
      Framing the Discussion
   Guidelines Based on Experience:
      Internet Filtering
        * CIPA and School Libraries

Talking points to frame the discussion: (For explanation and tips, see Power of Language or Talking to the Media. These will open into a separate popup window, and will remain in the background until you close the popup.)

Freedom of Assembly
  • The ability to gather and protest peacefully are essential to democracy; protestors deserve police protection, not provocation.
  • Law enforcement must protect the right of protestors to be heard, a demonstration is not a party.
  • Excessive force in attempting to control protestors has had disastrous results, like the deaths at Kent State and Jackson State Universities.
Media Ownership and Control
  • Increasing conglomeration of the news media means that we are hearing less information and fewer points of view.
  • Public television and radio stations can play an important role in bringing us variety and different perspectives - they need to be supported, even when they bring us unpopular information.
Mandating internet filters at public libraries

Local control, local responsibility
  • Libraries are responsible to their communities, most of their funding comes from their communities and they are governed by local community trustees. The vast majority of libraries have adopted standards about for the availability of sensitive material, whether on the internet or in other media.
  • Libraries are places to find information. They serve diverse populations with varying needs and standards. Locally controlled public libraries are the best places for all of us to learn how to use all of the information that is available.
  • Libraries facilitate the dissemination of information which is essential for citizen participation in democracy.
Parental responsibility
  • Filters give parents a false sense of security and don't help children develop good decision making ability. Parents need to be involved with their children's internet use, whether at home or in the library. Children need to learn how to deal with the rapidly increasing amount of information available from many sources.
  • In using a filter, you are shifting control over what children see from parents and community-run agencies to commercial enterprises which cannot be held accountable by parents.
  • Filtering isn't education. The same rules we teach our children about talking to strangers, about answering the phone or the door and about making safe choices apply on the internet, whether at home, at school or in the library.
Who's watching the watchers?
  • Filters are ineffective and inefficient. They often fail to block the type of material they claim to filter out. They don't tell you what they don't let you see, so you cannot judge how well they are working and will not even know that there if the information you are seeking is available.
  • It is for the courts, not private companies, to determine what material is not constitutionally protected. In a democracy, commercial filter companies, accountable only to their shareholders, cannot take the place of our judiciary system which is accountable to the people.
  • Librarians aren't judges and cannot be asked to judge whether a citizen's request for information is "legitimate" on a case by case basis.

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