Friday, February 17, 2006

Libraries and Pornography

While the Children's Internet Protection Act requires libraries receiving certain federal benefits to provide filtering for computers to which children have access, the Montgomery County (Maryland) Homeland Security Department apparently decided that their duties include policing adults' computer use at the public library as well. According to the Washington Post today, "two uniformed men strolled into the main room of the Little Falls library in Bethesda one day last week and demanded the attention of all patrons using the computers. Then they made their announcement: The viewing of Internet pornography was forbidden." A librarian intervened, and eventually the officers were removed and reassigned, and "Montgomery County's chief administrative officer, Bruce Romer, issued a statement calling the incident "unfortunate" and "regrettable"." While the FBI has referred to our profession as "radical militant librarians," we take seriously our role in providing unfettered, unquestioned access by adults to the information of their choice.