April 22, 2018

Sacramento PL’s Net Policy Plays it Safe

By LJ Staff

The Sacramento PL‘s board March 22 nixed an attempt by some of its nine members – all city council members or county supervisors – to fully ban the viewing of pornography on its PCs, ending what no doubt was a heated debate. The library said it will continue to make its facilities a "safe, welcoming, and comfortable environment" when it comes to Internet use through privacy screens and shaded desks for the roughly 400 public terminals throughout the 26-branch system. Although board member/county supervisor Susan Peterson claimed that permitting porn on library PCs was "inviting pedophiles," the library’s current policy, which allows adult patrons and minors with parental permission to have filters turned off, seems effective; the library reports less than one percent of computer use as unfiltered and of the 129 recorded incidents in a 13-month period involving PCs, only four were porn related. The language of the proposed ban was its stumbling block, with board member/county supervisor Roger Dickinson claiming that since there is "no definition of pornography" the library could find itself in legal hot water by banning certain sites.