T h e U t o p i a n L i b r a r y

w o r k ▪ p l a y ▪ l e a r n ▪ s h a r e

1…2…3…4…Go!

As Ruth threatened, I am here to make my introduction, and golly is it overdue! (Get it? Overdue? On a library blog? Ugh.) I arrived home from Computers in Libraries 2007 on Thursday night, spent yesterday recovering from 4 jam-packed days of learning, and then spent a gorgeous spring day at work today. I shouldn’t whine about spending the day indoors, though, as it was a good day for talking to friendly library folks. I helped two recent Iraqi transplants get their library cards and find ESL class schedules. Three be-Heely‘d boys hit me up for some biographical background on Leonidas after seeing the movie 300. And I talked to some college kids about whether they’d use IM reference if we had it. Their response–“Heck yeah!” That’s what I like to hear.

I also like to hear about organizations getting together to solve problems sensibly. The Illinois Library Association has partnered with MySpace to spread the word about internet safety. The NetSafe campaign consists of a series of bookmarks that will be given to every public library in Illinois. ILA has also put up a nice, succinct list of articles about online predators, cyberbullies, and social networking. Unfortunately, well-timed and widely distributed bookmarks may not be enough to save Illinois residents from the cold death grip of censorship. Recent months have seen the introduction of bills into the state legislature that would:

  • require schools and public libraries to block all social networking and chat access (The Social Networking Website Prohibition Act, S.B.1682)
  • force public libraries to install filters, whether or not they receive e-rate funding, to “to prevent the display on a public computer of any visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors.” This same act allows any individual to take action against the library if another library patron was viewing obscene websites, leading to $100 a day fines for libraries found to be non-compliant with this law that is patently unenforceable due to the limitations of filtering software (Internet Screening in Public Libraries Act, H.B. 1727).

What gives, Illinois? Those of you who live in the land of Durbin and Obama (and oh yeah, that Lincoln guy!), call your representatives! For the love of all that is right and good! All you need to do is call your reps and say “Vote No on House Bill 1727.” Easy peasy. Even a lazy bum like me can manage that.

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21 April 2007 - Posted by | sad realities

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