Editorial: Libraries don’t need site filters

On Tuesday, testimony resumed in which national librarians are combating a law that requires them to filter Internet pornography. However, many librarians say the filters are an infringement upon citizens’ rights and should not be required.

Further evaluation of the librarians’ argument supports their suggestion that Internet access be offered as both filtered and non-filtered. The government should allow librarians to implement a flexible program so information access is not limited to citizens.

Proponents of the government’s Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000 say that Internet pornography sites must be filtered in public libraries. They contend that children might accidentally log on to such sites. The government also says that since printed pornographic materials are not allowed in libraries, it should not be acceptable to find such materials on Internet sites.

However, the government has overlooked problems with the filters such as the fact that any important medical sites are often filtered due to the program. Sites on breast cancer and sexually transmitted disease are often blocked along with pornography sites, according to The Associated Press.

Librarians say they are qualified to teach and show citizens how to filter inappropriate content on their own. Many librarians want the filters to be offered as an option, thus allowing adults the opportunity to search for everything needed at the library without wondering if important information has been lost due to a filtering system that is unable to discern individual material on all sites.

Librarians are trained to assist citizens and are capable of keeping pornography out of libraries. The government should realize the adverse effects to mandating filters at public libraries and leave it to librarians to assist patrons in maintaining an environment appropriate for people of all ages.