posted Jun 01, 2001

Controversial Ruling on Library Filters Free Speech6/1/2001; 1:12:34 PM 'In early 1997, the Minneapolis Public Library began giving its patrons unfettered and unlimited access to the Internet. The library’s First Amendment-inspired policy was intended to provide a needed service to the community. But Wendy Adamson, a reference desk librarian at the library's central branch, said it effectively made her working life a nightmare, and federal officials appear poised to agree with her. 'Acting on complaints from Adamson and other librarians at the city’s central branch library, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Minneapolis office ruled last week that the library, by exposing its staff to sexually explicit images on unrestricted computer terminals, may have allowed for a hostile work environment. The blockbuster finding, issued on May 23 following an investigation by the agency, came in response to complaints filed a year ago by Adamson and 11 of her colleagues.'An intriguing angle on the issue. Still, one wonders why "filters" are necessarily the answer. While the Internet may have been involved, the activities described in the rest of the article are already illegal... why didn't anybody ever call the police and arrest these men? Problem more-or-less solved. I'd bet a good case could be made for negligence on the part of the librarians for not taking those steps.As usual, the knee-jerk reaction is to blame the new technology, but no Internet filter in the world can prevent a man from masturbating in a public place; that's for law enforcement.


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