Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy The Internet Your Rights Online

Librarian Suspended over Patrons' Web Access 414

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the acceptable-use dept.
bsw149 writes "The head librarian of the Valparaiso Community Library in Florida was suspended after investigators found that users had viewed adult content on public computers. While the library has a policy against viewing adult material on library computers, the librarian is facing possible dismissal. Is the best enforcement policy to hold librarians personally responsible for the materials patrons' access?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Librarian Suspended over Patrons' Web Access

Comments Filter:
  • That's Stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheComputerMutt.ca (907022) <jeremybanks@jeremybanks.ca> on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:05PM (#13311476) Homepage Journal
    How is it the librarian's fault? They're not looking over the people's shoulder's all the time, and they could just hide the content when the librarian walks over.
    • My guess is they'll get him on the ground that he didn't install a proper web filter or something like that.
      • by schon (31600) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @03:52PM (#13312527)
        In Canada (or at least Alberta), libraries are not allowed (by law) to install filters of any kind, because doing so violates their charter (open access to public information.)

        There are several rural schools that share network access with public libraries, and this is one of the things that we have to work around (computers belonging to the school must be filtered, but computers belonging to the library must not be.)

        I find it amazing that libraries in the US are not only allowed to censor information, but that they are *expected* to.
        • by slazar (527381)
          Not all libraries censor information. Some, like in my town of Santa Cruz, CA, have linux kiosk stations out in the open. This has the effect of preventing surfers from viewing porn because people can see the screens easily. Sometimes it happens though, and they have to ask them to stop. That's all.

          Just a little while ago they put in some Linksys WRT54G access points and people come in with laptops. The WRT54G has custom firmware http://www.portless.net/menu/ewrt/ [portless.net] that gives a spash page with the TOS.
    • Re:That's Stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

      by uberdave (526529)
      It would be the librarian's fault if the librarian was supposed to implement a firewall blocking adult content and failed to do so, or did so with imcompetence.
      • Oops! My finger slipped. That should be incompetence not imcompetence. Sorry folks.
      • Re:That's Stupid (Score:3, Informative)

        by yar (170650)
        You're probably thinking filtering system, not firewall. ^^:

        It depends on the library. A library doesn't always need to block adult content from adults. This is partly because a librarian shouldn't be in the position to determine what is or is not adult content for the library's patrons.
      • Re:That's Stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

        by qw(name) (718245) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @01:16PM (#13311848) Journal

        It wasn't the librarian that's getting suspendeded. It's the "The director of the Valparaiso (Fla.) Community Library".

        It looks like people are on a witch hunt since a registered sex offender downloaded child pornography from the library's website.

        If anyone should be fired it should be the librarian on-duty sice he or she was not doing his or her duty of performing a walk-through of the area and monitoring all the computers.

        From the article:
        The Sun quoted a letter Martin had written to Billingsley in which she explained, "We continually enforce our policy by monitoring all computers. Any suspicious use is immediately checked by accessing the history of the patrons' Web use. In addition, the staff monitors the patrons' use by 'walkthroughs' of the computer areas."
        • Re:That's Stupid (Score:3, Informative)

          by IdleTime (561841)
          I find it amusing and really sad that the world is about to end because a person looked at *gasp* porn! I'm sure if he had been looking for weapons, chemicals, nuclear devices etc nobody would have bothered him. USA - land of prudes!
          • Re:That's Stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

            by qw(name) (718245)
            Gasp all you want. If that's what the majority of the people in that community want then that's what is to be enforced.

            You may not see anything wrong with it but that's just your opinion, which, I suspect, has no basis science and merely an opinion. The dangers of sexual addiction (the sex offender from the article is key in this discussion) are widely known within and outside of psychiatric circles. Do your own internet search for proof.
        • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Saturday August 13, 2005 @06:22PM (#13313148) Homepage
          "If anyone should be fired "

          And that's the point. No one should be fired over this incident. The librarian is there to assist patrons in study and scholarship, not to be a net nanny that makes sure nobody is downloading porn.

          This is an unfortunate incident that a politician is trying to make a name from. If anyone should be fired its the commisioner who is now on a witch hunt.
      • Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't mandated filters illegal in a library?

    • by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:44PM (#13311712)
      She was supposed to use her god-like omniscience, and know what all people were doing at all times. In fact, it was her duty to read their minds and stop them before the fact. Since she didn't, we need to get two sturdy pieces of wood, and three nails. Crucify her!
      • Florida is a strange place - lots of banned books too, website by the name of ?forbiddenlibrary.com lists the censorship.

        But since i went in to a libary this week may i add that i had the full atttention of a librarian for an hour reserving 18 books.

        Libraries need to decide what they are either a) blockbuster, b) a book shop, c) or an internet cafe. and hire the right staff.

        When i go into the library i dont want dvd's, or computer time. I want books, and if i take an hour of the library staffs time to r

        • Re:That's Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ultranova (717540) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @03:28PM (#13312429)

          Libraries need to decide what they are either a) blockbuster, b) a book shop, c) or an internet cafe. and hire the right staff.

          Libraries are d) a storage and distribution center for information and culture, whether it is printed in books, recorded into a tape, engraved into a vinyl disk, burned into a CD, downloaded from the Internet, or memorized by bards. They exist to distribute information to everyone who needs (by his own judgement, not governments or anyone elses) it, and culture for the enlightenment and entertainment of all. As new forms to store and distribute information are developed, libraries need to adapt to do their job. They are doing exactly that.

          And the "right staff" is people who refuse to install any kind of information filters into computers, or perform any other kind of censorship. Internet content filters are just a modern equivalent of book pyres. Installing them is suitable behaviour for nazi hordes, not for civilized citizens of civilized countries.

          A librarian who walks behind peoples backs to make sure they don't access forbidden pages might be complying with laws, but she is betraying her society by perverting her job into a propaganda officer ("citizen, don't watch those disgusting lies, go and watch this page which gives praise to our glorious leader").

          When i go into the library i dont want dvd's, or computer time. I want books,

          Well, you obviously either have a computer of your own or can use some other way to connect to Slashdot, but not everyone is so lucky. Be happy that you are.

          And DVD's are in the library for the same reason that cassettes, vinyls, CD's and videos are - they contain culture, and it is half of librarys mandate to give access to that culture to its users.

          and if i take an hour of the library staffs time to reserve those books then it takes an hour - if your behind me well thats your problem.

          Any particular reason you're mention this ? Are you just trying to demonstrate what a though guy you are, or are you trolling ?

          But go ahead, take an hour (altought that's about three minutes per book - pretty slow library staff you have there). We have three desks in my library (and most customers use automated lending machine anyway), and I'm sitting and you're standing while making the reservations. No skin off my back, or anyone elses, plenty of skin of your feet :).

    • Re:That's Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by canuck57 (662392) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:56PM (#13311774)

      How is it the librarian's fault?

      You hit the nail on the head with that statement. It should be city management that should be fired for neglect of supporting policy. City politicians could have subscribed to a block list and lay down the infrastructure to enforce this policy, like most do. Instead they make her out as the cause when in fact it is disfunctional inept city politics that is the cause.

      I hope the lawyers tear the city apart for wrongful dismissal. The city's only chance in surviving would be if they demonstraited support for the library personnel to boot patrons out for viewing porn, which is not likely. And last I checked, sex offenders don't walk around with tattos on their forehead to say so.

      She is clearly a victim.

      • And last I checked, sex offenders don't walk around with tattos on their forehead to say so.

        Right. They keep it on the business card. It says "Politician."

  • by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:07PM (#13311485)
    Is it in their job description to monitor what users access? When they signed their job contract or whatever, did it clearly outline this? Cause if not, they librarians should not be dismissed.
    • Even if it's not specifically in the job description, suspending the head librarian when people misuse library resources certainly puts the behavior-punishment chain in the correct place. The head librarian should be implementing sane policies that prevent things like this, and should be trying to provide a sliver of oversight for this stuff.

      This is, of course, if the issue at hand really is people continually using library resources to view porn, and not a one-time thing, or the government calling breast c
      • by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot AT monkelectric DOT com> on Saturday August 13, 2005 @02:43PM (#13312245)
        he head librarian should be implementing sane policies that prevent things like this, and should be trying to provide a sliver of oversight for this stuff.

        Ever worked at a big institution? Everyone who works at big institutions tries to arrange the facts and situation so the blame lands somewhere else, often while they are not given the resources to do so, and completely conflicted directives.

        A friend of mine once worked in a situation where after working at a company for 5 weeks, he was asked to be personally responsible (as far as his career goes anyways), for the certification of each device manufactured. A piece of software which he was responsible for certified the devices, and this software was basically 8000 lines of if-then-else statements cobbled together over 6 years. A misconfigured device could easily destory 100,000's of dollars of materials.

        Whats wrong with that you ask? There was *NO* policy describing the correct certification of these devices. None. No way to verify the program is operating correctly, a no definition even of waht correct operation was. So basically they were looking for a fall guy when the inevitable happened.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @01:14PM (#13311842)
      Is it in their job description to monitor what users access?

      As someone with generations of many librarians in the family, I can say that monitoring what users access - be it electronic or paper - is antithetical to being a librarian.

      Librarians are supposed to be about enabling patrons to find the information they are looking for, not judging them and certainly not censoring the information.

      It's true that lots of people want to turn librarians into the information police to enforce their own social agendas. But that role is about as far from what it means to be a librarian as you can get.

      For example, when the Patriot Act required that libraries secretly reveal their patrons' borrowing histories in effectively warrantless searches, librarians around the country made sure that their systems stopped keeping borrowing histories. That all they ever tracked is what books a patron currently had checked out and once returned all records of that check-out were destroyed. Thus enabling their patrons to borrow any material they wanted without fear of being tracked.

      Being a librarian is about tearing down the walls around information, not building them up.
      • Here are some thoughts.

        One, librarians aren't the police. They shouldn't be forced to go around making sure people aren't committing crimes. As far as I know, child pornography is a crime because it involved harming someone, even if in the past-tense.

        However, if a librarian sees something illegal going on, wouldn't it be his or her duty to report it for further investigation?

        About borrowing histories, or histories of any kind (even ISP histories/logs), those definitely need to be destroyed. Same if there ar
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:08PM (#13311490)
    By analogy, perhaps it would be best to fire any cop who doesn't manage to stop all crime on his shift?
    • and all the firemen who let a building burn down on there shifts! I'm sick of this lack of personal accountability let's fire all the fast food workers who can't produce food in under a minute from when i've had my order taken! Lets fire all the security professionals who've had a system compromized, and lets fire all the programmers who've written buggy code!

      let's fire all the politicians who only server the interests of the people who contributed to there compaigns while were at it! and fire all the teac
    • by Boing (111813) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @02:10PM (#13312106)
      Poor analogy, because this situation is even worse. Stopping people from accessing desired materials is the POLAR OPPOSITE of a librarian's responsibility.

      It would be more accurate to say we should fire any cop who fails to increase crime on his shift. Ludicrous, yeah?

  • by OO7david (159677) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:09PM (#13311499) Homepage Journal
    TFA doesn't go into what actually happened, only that someone watched porn and from that the librarian is being dismissed since she "had not done enough to prevent the incident".

    First off, it's an "incident" not "incident s ", so it probably only happened once, and if the history just showed one site, I can think of a thousand ways that could have accidentally happened.

    We're missing some kind of important details here.
    • Actually, it is incidents, since TFA also mentions that Billingsly heard from police (it doesn't say VPD or otherwise) that three male minors had also been able to access adult material.
    • The Fing Article (Score:3, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689)
      Florida Librarian Suspended over Porn Incident

      The director of the Valparaiso (Fla.) Community Library was suspended without pay in early August after city officials found that a registered sex offender had used library computers to access pornographic websites.
      City Commissioner Robert Billingsley said in the August 12 Gainesville Sun that he would ask the commission to fire VCL Director Sue Martin, but he declined to explain why he thought she had not done enough to prevent the incident, which occurred July

  • good grief. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:10PM (#13311500)
    Is the best enforcement policy to hold librarians personally responsible for the materials patrons' access?

    No, this is stupid. Librarians don't spend years in school earning higher degrees in library science to become nannies. The world has enough problems, why must they keep inventing new ones?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    what the hell does a suspension of a librarian have to do with my rights or anybody else's?

    The fact is that the librarian's superiors didn't think she was doing enough to stop people from browing for porn, and they took action.

    I also like how the slashdot summary noted it was "adult matierlal" when it was in fact kiddy porn, which is not legal at all.

    This story is not very interesting or relevant to most people. But it at least it provides a forum for the Chicken Littles to scream about the death of Free S
    • Tell me: if someone downloads kiddy porn at work, does the IT guy gets fired?

      Same for this dude. He has nothing to do with it, provided he took reasonable precautions prior to letting patrons on the library computers (i.e. install "sanctioned" filters). If patrons know how to circumvent the filter, then it's either the patrons who should be arrested, or the filter's manufacturer who should bear some responsability.

      What I'm driving at is that if the librarian did whatever he could to prevent downloading kidd
      • Tell me: if someone downloads kiddy porn at work, does the IT guy gets fired?

        If the "someone" in question happens to be a high-ranking manager, yes. Why? Because the IT guy didn't prevent the spyware that "accidentally" downloaded the kiddie porn. I had a roommate that was stuck in that position. The only way he got out of losing his job was that he started logging the manager's web activity and the CEO personally verified the logs on a clean computer to see if this stuff was being "accidentally" downlo
      • You refer to the librarian as he. His name is Sue Martin.
    • by LoadWB (592248) * on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:19PM (#13311574) Journal
      The issue is that of public access to the Internet, versus policing of that access. Libraries do not traditionally maintain collections of adult material on their shelves, so they are expected to extend that prohbition to the Interntet access they provide. But, time and time again, it has been proven that such prohibition is virtually impossible.

      So, in essence, this is about everyone's rights online.

      Knowing about how cheap the Valparaiso City Commission can be about things, I doubt the library was provided the funding for any kind of useful software to help in this task. But I cannot say authoritatively since the last time I visited the ValP library was back when the only computer there was a Commodore 64.
      • by kfg (145172)
        Libraries do not traditionally maintain collections of adult material on their shelves. . .

        Lolita, Portnoy's Complaint, How to Draw Nudes, Ruebens and the American Library Association reports that the most commonly stolen library items are copies of the magazines Road & Track and . . .Playboy.

        The world is full up of adults and libraries are full up of adult material for them to access, unpoliced (well, except for that PATRIOT thingy).

        There is also an essential difference between denying access by not ac
        • OKay, I guess I need to amend that. Adult material does not == hard-core porn, child porn, etc. The later would be what I can't find at the library ;)

          Everything else seems pretty much spot-on to me.
    • by steelfood (895457) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:21PM (#13311588)
      Read TFA.

      The director of the library was suspended, not just any librarian. TFA doesn't go into the details too much, but the city officials were orchestrating this, and she have a hearing. That's pretty much how serious it is. Start thinking criminal charges. Maybe not jail time, but possibly community service.

      Nor was it kiddy porn that the people surfed. They just charged the sex offender with possession, but TFA states that he (and some underaged boys, big surprise there) had looked at adult material using library computers.

      Nice try, troll.
    • by yar (170650)
      "what the hell does a suspension of a librarian have to do with my rights or anybody else's?"

      An excellent question. Where to begin?

      First, the library is one of the traditional places for persons to get information. Things related to your rights that concern librarians:

      -Censorship
      -Public Access to Information
      -Public Access to Government Information
      -Intellectual Freedom
      -Privacy
      -Copyright and Intellectual Property

      There's more.

      One of these issues is technological barriers to access, such as filtering, and how t
    • The librarian is facing dismissal, and possible criminal charges for the actions of another. So if the system this, why could we not punish you for someone else's crimes?
    • by nurb432 (527695)
      No, i think you are the one that is freaking out.

      The issue is that a person is getting fired for what appears to be out of their control. For a what seems to be a single incident.

      This has nothing to do with freespeech/etc. Its about the transposing of fault to innocent people.

      The person doing the viewing is at fault and should be punished, not the person running the building.

      The only thing it should do for the librarian is serve as a wakeup call that their blocking procedure isn't adequate.
    • Read the article again. The article said the following things:

      1) The patron was caught browsing adult material on library computers.
      2) The patron was a registered sex offender.
      3) The patron was caught a few days later with kiddie porn on his hard drive.

      Nowhere in the article does it explicitly say (or even imply) that the material at the library was kiddie porn.
    • Actually, the issue for me is "should a public library monitor or seek to prohibit the public's access to lawful content?" The article does not make it clear what type of "adult material" was actually viewed on the library's computers.

      Assuming that the content involved was not illegal (i.e. child pornography, warez, etc.), why should a public library interfere? If the librarian was seeking to protect the public's right to free access to protected speech, then she should be commended not fired.
  • Standard Policy? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zakir (849137) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:10PM (#13311502) Homepage
    If someone reports the user to the librarian, the librarian walks over, what power do they have? The person will most likely close the window when they see the librarian. Is the librarian allowed to ask the person to leave or ask person to stop using the computer? Is there a standard policy for what to do, and the librarian isn't following it or does the person just make it up when they catch somebody?
  • by ThatGeek (874983) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:12PM (#13311517) Homepage
    Here's what they should do: ban all devices and texts that display inappropriate information. Who wants to live in a world in which people can see sex, violence or evolution?

    Once we get rid of all those books and magazines and that interweb thingie, we can get back to the important stuff. I think it's time we put an end to all of this inappropriate behavior by setting an example. Let's put the librarian to death and be done with it. She's obviously a witch.
  • Librarians better watch for people entering the building with magazines or other reading adult material. Someone could be reading something relating to procreation or even pictures of it on government property if they aren't careful.
  • Libraries originally came into existence by the altruism of wealthy individuals. They were endowed with trust funds administered to keep the libraries funded for the future. Private administrators ran these libraries under guidance by the rules established by the trust. If a librarian broke these rules, they were fired.

    Today, most libraries are called 'public' and are paid woth tax dollars in addition to donations given to the public body administering the library. They're now restricted so much by gen
    • The fallout of government censorship comes from the government censoring. The increased in public libraries is one of the more positive changes that has occurred with respect to access to information, government or otherwise. While it is true that if the libraries did not receive public money the government would not be in the same position to affect library policy (and censor), there is far less ability for the public to affect private information policy.
  • As the HEAD librarian the person concerned does have responsiblity to implement library policy. If they didn't do it they they should be for the chop; if they are under investigation then the authorities owe it to possible witnesses amongst the library staff to keep the head librarian off work until the investigation is complete; once they are proved innocent (here's hoping) then they can come back to work. heads of organisations have a lot of power and with that comes responsibility and the risk of suspen
  • by MisterSquid (231834) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:16PM (#13311554)

    The real question is what is a public library funded with public dollars doing by being in the business of censorship. Adult-oriented material should be freely accessible from publicly-funded. In some cases, libraries should implement measures to ensure that non-adults are not exposed to adult-oriented material but, then again, there are no limitations on what books one may check out from a public library, regardless of age.

    • by wkitchen (581276)
      but, then again, there are no limitations on what books one may check out from a public library, regardless of age.
      Yes, there are. It's limited to the books that the library has chosen to stock.
  • I would be held accountable for things like this, I wouldn't have taken the job. Or if I ahd taken the job, I would unplugged all the computers, 'sorry, too much risk...'
  • by hotspotbloc (767418) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:18PM (#13311573) Homepage Journal
    Maybe they'll send her to their "faith based" prison [msn.com] to repent.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:20PM (#13311582)
    Typical Slashdot. Not just anybody viewing porn but:

    "The director of the Valparaiso (Fla.) Community Library was suspended without pay in early August after city officials found that a registered sex offender had used library computers to access pornographic websites."

    Since I don't know what really happened I won't dispute whether the librarian is at fault. I'll just note that filters really don't work well and for libraries it's either the choice of internet or no internet. Nothing much in between.

    If internet access is so much of an issue, perhaps the computers should be put in a seperate room where you have to be over 16 or 18 to enter and use or have your parents sign a permission slip.

    Personally I think it's all that streak of classic American puritanicism anyway, TV shows violence with people's heads and other body parts blown off every night of the week, or have realistic grotesque autopsies on CIS-like shows, or real grotesque surguries/diseases/etcetera on the scientific channels, or animals mating on any NationalGeographic or discovery channel yet a kid can't handle a glimpse of people doing the same?

    If the sex offender viewed that stuff, put responsibility where it belongs and haul his ass to jail if he violated parole or whatever.
    • This may be shocking to hear, but summaries are not supposed to tell the whole story.

      Anyway, how is a librarian's responsibility to track whether a computer user is a sex offender or not?

      You must be new here.
    • I don't know why this isn't obvious to everyone, but if we have a problem with sexual offenders roaming around anonymously and using public computers to look up pr0n sites, then there's only one solution: make the offender wear a shirt or ID or something that shows everyone that he's not allowed to do certain things. For example, he could be forced to wear a bright orange "SO" t-shirt at all times when in public, just like those yellow drunk driver license plates some states have.

      And yes, I'm totally ki

  • Perhaps this is retaliation by the authorities for the librarians being so vocally opposed to the Patriot Act.
  • by HomerNet (146137) <homernet AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:25PM (#13311612) Homepage
    Here's the lovely Catch-22 that's been set up for this librarian:

    Librarians are not allowed by federal law to restrict what people view on the Internet.

    Now, the librarians can be suspended/fired for NOT restricting what people view on the Internet.

    What the hell is she supposed to do? Punt?

    • Here's the lovely Catch-22 that's been set up for this librarian: Librarians are not allowed by federal law to restrict what people view on the Internet. Now, the librarians can be suspended/fired for NOT restricting what people view on the Internet. What the hell is she supposed to do?

      She supposed to do what every other good fanatical amerikan is supposed to do, and just 'shut-up' and make believe that she is guilty-- on BOTH aspects of 'The Law'.

      This 'catch 22' is now the norm, with 'the governement'

    • Librarians are not allowed by federal law to restrict what people view on the Internet.

      Which federal law? As I recall, the federal government tried to pull the purse strings on libraries that didn't install internet filters.

      (Luckily, they didn't put any clauses in the law requiring that the filter actually work to any standard. A content-neutral proxy would have counted as a "filter.")

      This sounds like something a patron of The Gord [actsofgord.com] might say.
      • by 4of12 (97621)
        As I recall, the federal government tried to pull the purse strings

        You mean nano-filaments, don't you?

        Library budgets are right down there on the bottom rung with schools, parks and recreation and all the things society fears least and values most.

  • Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eminence (225397) <akbrandt AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:30PM (#13311647) Homepage
    Yes, that's a great policy. This way you motivate librarians to spy on patrons. They then become your agents, your pair of eyes in each library.
  • of trying to protect society from doing what it wants to do, compounded by holding everyone in the world accountable for everything anyone else does. (like every person on the planet needs to police the rest of the world or be held liable for what they do)

    When will it end? Somehow I'm thining "probably never." *sigh*
  • If a kid brings a gun to school and shoots people in his classroom, is the teacher responsible?
    If a man stabs his wife while visiting his parents, are his parents responsible?
    If a police officer shoots an innocent man while in the presence of his superior, is the superior responsible?
    None of these make any sense. Why should a head librarian be responsible for something that happened in his or her presence that he or she had no control over whatsoever?
  • Librarians (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yar (170650) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @12:41PM (#13311696)
    The library policy did say that they would monitor access. But constant monitoring is impossible. There are issues with monitoring in general: you don't want to invade patrons' privacy and you don't want to restrict adults' rights. But as everyone here should know, filtering is an ineffective solution. Filtering is also required for federal funding. Rock and hard place.
  • to this was, if the librarian can't be a network security specialist, sure fire her.

    Note the sarcasm in there... the internet is more than just a big reference. This isn't a card catalog with the dewey decimal system.

    After reading how they prevent these incidents, it's pretty pathetic. Imagine "Martin" in the article is head of IT instead of head librarian:

    The Sun quoted a letter Martin had written to Billingsley in which she explained, "We continually enforce our policy by monitoring all
  • Blame anyone other then the actual person at fault.

    Its always someone else's fault, they are just victims.
  • City Commissioner Robert Billingsley said ... that he would ... fire ... Martin, but he declined to explain why he thought she had not done enough to prevent the incident...

    Fire first (while the local headlines are hot), and ask questions later...

  • by RexRhino (769423) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @01:18PM (#13311859)
    People read stories like this, and then wonder why so many people are so hostile to the idea of municipal broadband servies.

    I will take my Internet service without Big Brother government watching, thanks.
  • As the employer, they can probably fire anyone for any reason that is illegal.

    But filters don't work. I worked at MSI [sorehands.com] during the development of CyberPatrol. You just can't keep up with the amount of porn on the internet. And of course, one of the other programmers who worked on it didn't implment proper coding techniques. He was fast, but sloppy. Why do you that was developped so easily. [tbtf.com]

  • Why do you citizens put up with this shit?

    Isn't it time you started demanding that things change?

    Come on, mobilize already!

    Your religious right is going to completely fubar your society and culture if you don't start demanding better. You can't afford to sit on your fat asses pretending that this stuff doesn't hurt you.
  • Librarians (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Renraku (518261) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @01:39PM (#13311958) Homepage
    I know an ex-head-librarian.

    Let me tell you, if they have time to sit around and monitor users internet access all day, they are not doing their job.

    You have a lot of responsibilities at that job, and one wrong step and everyone's clamoring for your resignation.

    Consequently, she refused to use filtering software. Mainly because it was easy to get around and way too restrictive. Monitoring the internet usage should be done by the assistant librarians, but the head librarian is more worried about other stuff, like you know, making sure the library stays open.
  • It is a sign of this warped administration that librarians who don't catch people viewing porn are being fired while innocent people are being killed in a war that had falsified justifications.
  • Is the best enforcement policy to hold librarians personally responsible for the materials patrons' access?"

    Well, if we're going to start blaming librarians for the actions of patrons on public terminals, why stop there? Why not broaden out the blame and let librarians take the rap for everything that's bothering us:

    The war in Iraq - The Bush administration isn't accepting any responsibility for going to war on falsified pre-war intelligence, so let's blame those damn librarians! After all, if they we

  • Bigger picture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheHawke (237817) <rchapin&pelicancoast,net> on Saturday August 13, 2005 @01:51PM (#13312015)
    Let's pull the zoom lens back out to a statewide standpoint. Florida in general has been beset by one major sex related crime after another. Their CPS is a dog's lunch and is currently paralyzed by the scandals surrounding it.

    The bottom line is that when something remotely sex related is found on a public access terminal in Florida, there is a kneejerk reaction to find a scapegoat and lynch that person as quick as possible.

    If this were anywhere else in the nation, there would have been a Gaelic shrug and beefier security procedures put into place, no one getting crucified over it.

  • by _aa_ (63092) <j.uaau@ws> on Saturday August 13, 2005 @04:31PM (#13312669) Homepage Journal
    Libraries are for grown-ups, too. Adult images aren't illegal. Libraries aren't day-care centers, although I think that's what some people expect them to be. If I am forbidden to look at boobies on the internet at my local library, will I soon be forbidden from looking at boobies on African tribeswomen in the National Geographic on the shelf behind the computer? Or at the boobies in a book on art? Or read a description of boobies in a poetry book? There's a whole bunch of adult situations in that there bible these assholes are always thumping. Maybe we should censor that, too.

    In a million years, when the alien archeologists are picking through the remains of our society, they're going to have a hard time figuring out how we reproduced. "Well Xzgralfap, they documented the reproductive practices of every other species on the planet and labeled it 'biology'. But they're own reproductive practices were labeled 'pornography' and forbidden to be documented and studied by the ignorant."

    I'm tired of it. Mary Carey for President, 2008. Her and Bill Clinton are the only two pro-pornography candidates I can think of. Don't forget to order your save the court [justicesunday.com] kit, today!
  • by aduzik (705453) on Saturday August 13, 2005 @05:02PM (#13312771) Homepage
    Even in conservative northwest Iowa, the policy was very plain: you can look at anything you want, but you will be asked to look at something different, or asked to leave the computer if anyone complains.

    And, they had what I consider to be one of the most sensible policies for monitoring children I've ever seen: for children under 13, a parent or other guardian *must* be present for the kid to be allowed to use the computers.

    The rationale was, well, rational: as a parent, you know what you consider to be inappropriate for your child, so it's up to the parent to make the judgment call.

    I haven't been back to Sioux City in quite some time, and I certainly haven't been in the library, so I'm not sure if they've changed their policies. What I really liked about their policies is that they accounted for the unspoken question of appropriateness: appropriate for whom? The courts are never going to be able to decide what little Johnny's parents think is appropriate for him, so let/force them to decide. That's why I think it's crazy that librarians are expected to parent other people's children for them while they're at the library.

  • wrong question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by samantha (68231) * on Saturday August 13, 2005 @06:05PM (#13313094) Homepage
    There is no "best enforcement policy" for irrational laws, rules and in general attempting to dictate to adults what they may do with access to the Web. That the access happens to be in a library paid for by taxes should not mean that Congress critters or whatever set of Mrs. Grundy types who scream the loudest get to monitor or restrict content accessed.
  • by whitroth (9367) <whitroth@@@5-cent...us> on Sunday August 14, 2005 @10:02AM (#13315876) Homepage
    ...are
        1) *what* investigators?
        2) *why* were there investigators?
        3) who sent them?

    And a hearty thanks to all those who voted Republican, and so supported Christian neo-fascist "political correctness".

          mark "and libertarian votes help the GOP"
  • Darwinism at work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mattr (78516) <mattr AT telebody DOT com> on Sunday August 14, 2005 @10:43AM (#13316019) Homepage Journal
    Except for the librarian in question, for whom this is undoubtedly a stupid horror, this is just another high water mark that indicates the general stupidity of contemporary U.S. society, especially Florida which I'm sorry to say, may have a couple positive news stories but in general looks like an example of massive social deevolution.

    Even IF the librarian had a written contract guaranteeing perfect surveillance and control of the Internet kiosks, it is most likely a minor footnote compared to all the good done for the community. Or to put it another way, the inability to restrain suspicious conduct by a felon was found to outweigh all other contributions. Maybe an accounting of the tasks that were done instead of policing the kiosks would be illuminating.

    Possibly there is a secret war against sex offenders that requires the public library to be some kind of gauntlet the newly released offender has to run. Not sure if that wouldn't in fact count as entrapment but.. heck Florida doesn't think libraries and custodians of knowledge are that important so screw 'em! There's a limited number of slots in the Ivies and Big 10 schools anyway.

In every non-trivial program there is at least one bug.

Working...