November 20, 2017

Porn Issue Behind Library Bond Opposition in Southwest WA

By LJ Staff

The libraries of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District in southwest Washington are overcrowded, but the community has failed narrowly to pass bond measures in the past two years to build a new library in Vancouver and another branch. So, the library has been soliciting input, both online and at public meetings. At one recent meeting, critics focused on the library’s Internet policy. The library complies with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which means it allows adults to choose unfiltered access – but also attempts to minimize unintentional viewing of others’ Internet use and asks users "to respect the sensibilities of others when accessing information that may reasonably be offensive to others."

But that’s not enough, "Pornography makes it unsafe," said resident Andrew Campbell, who according to the Columbian called for retired Christians to monitor Internet access. Another resident, a board member of the group LifePac, which opposed the bond issue, said that even filtered terminals are used to view porn. Counter-critics wondered whether the library opponents would start targeting books about evolution – indeed a worry since LifePac seeks a citizens’ committee to select library materials. The library board will discuss public comments at its January 9 meeting.

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