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Back to June Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 269 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JUNE 2008

Public Libraries Make Decisions about Technologies
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In an effort to draw more teens, libraries are stocking the shelves with more CDs, DVDs, and even video games. The Rochester Hills public library in Michigan now stocks 1,823 video games. The games, not surprisingly, are popular, with 1,300 checked out at any given time.

Branches in Rochester Hills host monthly video game events such as "Guitar Hero" and "Dance Dance Revolution" competitions. Library patrons and other taxpayers are debating the merits of such efforts to entice teens into the library. Some, believing that libraries should change with the times, point to the merits of many audiovisual materials libraries now showcase. Others say that video game events and loans stray too far from the educational purpose of local libraries. (Associated Press, 2-18-08)

Controversy also surrounds the use of search engine filters on library computers. The Sacramento, California library board recently divided 7-7 on whether to expand or restrict access to pornography on library computer terminals. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had urged the board to remove porn filters and purchase new computer desks that would allow users a more private screen view. The California Campaign for Children and Families (CCF), on the other hand, called for a zero tolerance policy on pornography in the library.

"People are shocked to learn that sex addicts are viewing pornography, violent rape images, and even child pornography every day at the library," CCF president Randy Thomasson told the board. Thomasson referred to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 2003 upholding the Children's Internet Protection Act. "You don't need battling attorneys to tell you what the law says. Just read the U.S. Supreme Court decision which says a library is not a public forum and that libraries don't have to provide any pornography unless they want to." (savecalifornia.com, 4-25-08)


 
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