During the recent observation of Banned Books Week 2016 (September 25-October 1, 2016), I was reminded of the challenges that can face the information we harbor in our libraries.
Posts Tagged ‘censorship’
So you are at your public library about to download or view information for a research paper, and then it happens: The library’s blocking software lets you know that you are not allowed to access a certain webpage because it has been filtered out by the network’s firewall. You are immediately disappointed because you know the information you are trying to access is harmless and poses no threat to minors; however, according to the library’s firewall, the webpage has been categorized as “adult,” allowing you no access to the page. This is not only a disappointment but also a disservice to many students who are simply trying to access informational resources.
Libraries are meant to be places where anyone can read on any subject, as described in the Library Bill of Rights. So it was concerning to see a “Library Journal” article that discussed a March 2015 Harris Poll which found that 28% of adults now support book banning in school libraries. In 2011, only 18% of adults supported it. While this poll refers to school libraries specifically, the change in attitude could present implications for public libraries.
Patrons of Orland Park Library sparked a national debate last November, on acceptable material available in their library, specifically pornography on the Internet. Some patrons were shocked and outraged they were able to see (and therefore their kids were able to see) adult patrons viewing pornographic material on the computers.
In the July/August 2013 issue of Technology Review (vol 116, no. 4), there is a brief article “Reading the Tea Leaves of Censorship,” by Tom Simonite. The article explains how scientist , monitoring censorship on social media sites that are occuring in China, can predict political events happening (or about to happen) within the country. This article intrigued me.