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Copyright (c) 2009 Ginny Maziarka. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

West Bend Library Board refuses to filter computers - responds to complaint via media

In typical West Bend Library Board fashion, the refusal to apply for free funding for porn filters on the public computers was denied, and the complainants informed via the local newspaper. Though Tyree states they "seldom" have issues with patrons using the computers for porn, I can tell you that is not what he said to us when we met with him. In fact, he said that he had more issues with people viewing porn and having to deal with asking them to leave, than he did about any complaints about books. Yes, he did.


Our fave reporter, Dave Rank, of the WB News, reports here (note: We were not asked for our thoughts concerning the decision. Nice touch, Dave. No bias THERE! LOL! Hope you don't mind my interjections despite your obvious omission...)

My notes in red (of course!):

The West Bend Community Memorial Library will not apply for funding through the federal Child Internet Protection Act so that Internet filtering software would be installed on its 10 Internet access computers.

FREE money. Shucks. Guess we don't need it. That's right. We use taxpayer money to pay for $40-worth of phone calls from hotels (that we also pay for) when our library director goes to local conferences. We are buff with money for the West Bend Library, funded by people like Alyce and Elmore Kraemer who have no idea what their cash is being used for. A shame. A real shame.

Tuesday night, the Library Board voted unanimously not to act on a written request that it ask for CIPA funds. The request came from West Bend Citizens For Safe Libraries, the citizen group founded earlier this year by Ginny and Jim Maziarka from the town of West Bend, and was signed by the Maziarkas.

The Maziarkas have led a campaign to have certain books in the young adult section of the library moved and labeled because of homosexual themes or sexual passages.

WRONG AGAIN, Dave. Again and again and again. We have told you over and over, but you just don't get it. Sigh. Some old dogs just can't learn new tricks.

A library using CIPA funding would be required to install such filtering software, which would limit a user’s ability to surf for pornographic material with that computer. “

Actually, if you talk to any KNOWLEDGEABLE "I.T." guy/gal, they would tell you that is not exactly true. Filtering today is quite sophisticated and has come a long way, and is very effective without affecting the normal usage of library patrons.

The specific request is we apply for funds so we would be eligible for (the filters),” said John Aynesworth, the Library Board’s vice chairman.

CIPA funds would be used to pay for discounted Internet access (called e-rate) or for internal connection costs, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. “We don’t need to do that because we get our Internet connection through our (Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library) System, which gets it from the state,” said Michael Tyree, library director. “We do get an e-rate discount.”

'course, we don't, Mike. We have a nice, cheap rate, so we are happy with that and don't care about the porn issue.

As for people surfing the Web for porn on a library computer, it is not a common problem, Tyree said. In his 10 years as library director, he said, perhaps 12 incidents have occurred, “if that.” Each time, the offender is asked to leave the library — police are called if necessary — and that person’s library Internet access is curtailed, six months for a first offense, a year for a second. A letter is sent to the individual with a copy sent to the police, Tyree said.

Uh huh. So who are you telling the truth to, Mike? Us? Or the paper? IF there was anything we got out of our meeting with Tyree, it was that he had bigger fish to fry with people viewing porn on the internet. Hmmmm....

To use the library’s Internet access computers, someone must have a library card with an Internet use sticker on it, Tyree said. The last time someone was asked to leave the library because of inappropriate Web surfing occurred two months ago, Tyree said.

OUCH, and ICK.

“All of the computers can be seen from the reference desk,” he said, and library staff does keep an eye on computer use.

WHOA! They CAN? Do librarians have some mystical, magical, out-of-body vision ability? The library computers are placed in a row, back to back, with the back row obscured by the front row and facing AWAY from the librarian's desk. How the heck does she DO that? Inquiring minds want to know!

In the 27-library Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System only two have such “porn” filters on some of their computers, Tyree said, computers located in those libraries’ children's sections. “We don’t have computers in our children’s section.”

So it CAN be done, right? That's right. It can.

A filter also has to be turned off if someone requests that to research a legitimate subject that could be limited because of the filter, Tyree explained. The filters only affect the computers in which they are installed, and not personal laptops brought in to the library to use the building’s WIFI access, said Sue Cantrell, assistant library director.

This sends a huge message to the citizens, taxpayers, patrons and PARENTS of West Bend.

The West Bend Library Board does not care what you want, nor do they care about your community standards. PORN IS HERE TO STAY.

Thanks to the ALA, who even has a fund set up to fight legal challenges for CIPA funding. Nice.


Unknown said...

Respectfully, you seem to be twisting this to fit your mission. The library didn't respond "via the media". Rather, they responded by openly discussing and voting on the request during their public board meeting. Did you attend?

The media was present, and asked Tyree some questions after the meeting, and then published a story...which is what newspapers do.

Also, I fear you are misunderstanding how CIPA/E-Rate works. You don't "apply for CIPA funds", you apply for the E-Rate program in order to provide low-cost Internet. If you use E-Rate funding, then CIPA comes into effect, requiring the use of Internet filters.

The library decided it didn't need the E-Rate program.

If you want to have Internet filters, perhaps you should suggest a solution that doesn't require the library apply for Federal funds it doesn't need.

Unknown said...


You keep complaining about the various evils of the public library system in West Bend (some complaints being completely unfounded - I still fail to see the negative influence of non-pornographic homosexual material existing in a teenage section of the library). While 12 cases of pornography have been reported in the past 10 years, how many times have you walked into the library to find someone publicly masturbating? You must admit not often, if ever. The offenders, as stated, were removed and their Internet usage suspeneded, also a report was submitted to the police. While this was inappropriate public behavior, have we seen any negative side effects from any of these incidents? No. And does the lack of filters in the library permanently damage the innocence of West Bend's populace? No. These are probably questions the library board asked themselves when deciding whether or not they should take the funding. Obviously they reached the same conclusion as I did and decided the money could be put to better use elsewhere.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

MLIS: Are you saying I should be sitting at the meetings and intimidating the board? Guess I hadn't thought of that. Thanks. Perhaps it is a better idea.

The library decided it didn't "need" the E-Rate program? Why? Because they were happy with complying with the ALA policy of offering all materials to all ages despite inappropriateness? Yep, thought so.

By the way, we offered to help with funding for filtering software. Turned down flat. So try again, MLIS. Any other suggestions?

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Aaron: You sound like you read the WB News and swallow hook, line and sinker. Don't be unwise.

Unknown said...

Or I don't automatically distrust everything I hear. I question it, yes. I analyze it, yes. But my reaction is often less than hostile. I also question, Ginny, why you limit your responses to me to a few lines? It doesn't make for very entertaining conversation now, does it?