More on the issue of Internet filtering and libraries. Yesterday morning I was out running an errand, and caught the tail end of a radio interview with psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg. He was promoting his new book, Real Wired Child: What Parents Need to Know About Kids Online. As I mentioned in a previous post, our federal government is planning to provide free Internet filtering to households and public libraries. Carr-Gregg remarked that every public library will have a designated "safe" terminal with a filter installed. For terminals without filters, it will be up to the librarians to monitor their usage. He sees this as unreasonable, because it will require librarians to act as Internet police, as he put it.
I actually don't see this as unreasonable at all. Libraries are community spaces, utilised by members of the public from all walks of life, and as a librarian, I have a professional obligation to ensure that my patrons can use their library without the risk of being exposed to inappropriate online material. If this means reprimanding patrons who access this material, then so be it. As I mentioned in my earlier post on this issue, this has rarely been an issue in my professional life. Having said that, even working in a Christian organisation, one cannot afford to be naive about this problem. I imagine that my counterparts in public libraries would have the same attitude.