LM_NET: Library Media Networking

Previous by DateNext by Date Date Index
Previous by ThreadNext by Thread Thread Index
LM_NET Archive

I think this has turned into a valuable discussion about censorship, an
issue I do not have a clear, black and white opinion about.

From what I gather from reading this discussion, the ALA view on
censorship is that adults need to view, read, experience what they think
is appropriate for themselves. For children, their parents and guardians
set the limits for them, and it is up to the children to learn the self
control to obey their parents limits. Learning self control is a
mandatory skill for successful adulthood, and it is very difficult to
learn. And using self control is a major theme of Dr. Laura's!

If I can make a bad analogy...Dr. Laura is a Kosher Jew and she often
talks about how being kosher has helped her son learn self control. Her
family has adopted this limit; it is important to them and their
religion. But does that mean that Porky's Pork House Restaurant should
close? That no one else should be able to eat and smell that pork? IF
the smell of the food is too tempting, then they must choose to go the
long way around to avoid it.

The internet is a whole new ballgame. We cannot compare restricting
access to web sites with restricting access to adult oriented books and
magazines. We need to think of how we use and abuse the web in a new and
different way.

In my own home I am shown on a daily basis how much inappropriate
information there is out there on the web. We choose not to use a
censoring program, but to monitor our children's use by reviewing the
sites they have gone to, and disciplining them when our limits are
abused. But that is our choice, others make different choices.

I don't know about public libraries, but I think I read in some of the
messages here that users have to sign an acceptable use policy. In my
school, no one can use the net without having one signed by a parent. I
take signing that as a serious commitment to responsible use; it puts
the onus of responsibility right where it should be--with the patron.


Sharon Hamer
Hopkinton Middle/High School
88 Hayden Rowe Street
Hopkinton, Massachusetts 01748

> ----------
> From:         David Lininger[SMTP:tss003@MAIL.CONNECT.MORE.NET]
> Sent:         Monday, May 03, 1999 1:18 PM
> Subject:      Re: Dr. Laura (long)
> Colleagues:
> Now that Dr. Laura has been thoroughly denounced here, may I speak a
> word
> in her defense? I don't get to hear here much, since I'm at work when
> her
> show is on, but I have heard her show several times, and have visited
> her
> web site frequently. Like many of you, I don't always agree with her,
> but
> for the most part I find her answers to be quite acceptable. Given the
> fact
> that she can only hear one side of a question, obviously her answers
> will
> reflect that viewpoint.
> As I recall, the incident that started this whole discussion was a
> reference to the ALA "Ask Alice" site. One night last week, after my
> children were in bed, my wife and I visited that site. We both agreed
> that
> the site was completely unacceptable. I had been considering joining
> ALA,
> but after seeing that site, I'm not so sure that I want my hard-earned
> money going to support it. Perhaps if all of us, including the ALA,
> would
> take criticism as suggestions for improvement rather than attacks we
> would
> all be better off.
> "Ask Alice" is offensive to some people. That is a fact. What can be
> done
> about it? ALA can dismiss those who are offended as ignorant and keep
> the
> site as is. They can re-evaluate the site and remove what is
> offensive,
> keeping what is useful. They can drop the site entirely. Which choice
> shows
> the most professional attitude?
> We can talk about whether Dr. Laura and others are insisting on
> censorship,
> but we still are professionals and we are being paid to exercise
> professional judgement about what we have in our libraries. Even if we
> had
> unlimited funds, what librarian would put Playboy in a school library?
> Why
> should we allow the electronic equivilent?
> As far as the "how to make a bomb" sites, again, we wouldn't buy such
> a
> book. Why allow the internet sites?
> It seems to me that when our employers, the taxpayers, hire us, they
> expect
> us to do the jobs they ask us to do. Libraries are not supposed to be
> anarchist training grounds; rather, they are to be safe places for
> quiet
> study. If we, as professional librarians, are going to expect that
> parents
> come in with their children to supervise what they are learning in the
> library, it won't take long until those parents decide that
> professional
> librarians aren't needed. Is that what we want?
> I am involved in two hobbies that permit a great deal of individual
> freedom, with a bare minimum of regulation. What permits these hobbies
> to
> be so free is that there is a great deal of self-policing. Yes, there
> are
> those who think that "All is permitted except that which is
> specifically
> forbidden" means that anything goes. Those people are talked to by the
> rest
> of us, and if they don't mend their ways, eventually turned over to
> the
> proper authorities. We need to do more policing ourselves, asking
> "would I
> allow this in MY house?"
> Sorry this has gotten so long, but this has been bothering me for a
> long time.
> David Lininger, LMS
> Hickory County R-1 Schools
> Urbana, MO 65767
> tss003@mail.connect.more.net

    All postings to LM_NET are protected under copyright law.
To quit LM_NET (or set-reset NOMAIL or DIGEST), send email to:
 listserv@listserv.syr.edu         In the message write EITHER:
 3) SET LM_NET MAIL  * Please allow for confirmation from Listserv
 For LM_NET Help & Archives see:  http://ericir.syr.edu/lm_net/

LM_NET Archive Home