Holland, Michigan

February 29, 2000

Last week there was an important vote during the Michigan primary that you probably haven't heard about. The voters in Holland, Michigan were asked to vote on whether their library should install filters on the computers to block Internet pornography. The measure would have cut funding to the Herrick District Library until it installs Internet filters on six of its seven computers. The city council and the library trustees opposed the measure which lost by 750 votes.

Two weeks ago I talked about the fact that the American Library Association has routinely rejected the idea of restricting access to computers or putting blocking software on computers. But in the face of that opposition, librarians in Minneapolis decided to stand up and sign a letter that appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. They pointed out that they were subjected to pornography that was sometimes left intentionally on the screens and in the printers. They said they felt harassed and intimidated by having to work in an environment where they might be exposed to degrading or pornographic pictures. They also noted that they hear numerous complaints from parents.

Even here in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex there are been concerns raised by parents who have walked into public libraries and found young children surfing the Internet and looking at pornographic pictures on the screen. While some librarians argue that it isn't their role to censor content, most seem uncomfortable with what appears to be happening more and more in public libraries.

Internet filtering of public library computers is an issue that is gaining momentum. Citizens should support measures that uphold the safety and decency of our communities. That's why I'm encouraged by some of the recent ballot measures and letters to the editor. I believe this is an issue whose time as come. We need to support initiatives that block Internet pornography in public libraries.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.