Just Say No to HB1727

Now that I've finally finished posting all of my Computers in Libraries notes (has it been nearly a month already?), I can step away from Library 2.0 dreamland and get on with the business of talking about the reality of computers in libraries. And our reality here in Illinois is becoming grim and anger-making.

Currently awaiting debate in the Illinois Senate is House Bill 1727, which, if passed, would mandate the installation of internet filters on all computers in all public and school libraries in the state. The Illinois Library Association has declared Monday, May 14, a "Day of Unity," calling for libraries to take action to educate their patrons about this onerous, cookie-cutter legislation, and to ask them to contact their own state senators.

While we're not going so far as to shut down the Internet to make our point, we are doing what we can to get the word out. Director Carolyn Anthony sent a letter to Senator Emil Jones and Senator Ira Silverstein, encouraging them to vote no. I created flyers that are being dropped by all of our adult internet computers, as well as a poster for the Adult Computer Lab.

Ruth, bless her heart, even though she was still on vacation blogged about it and, from the comfort of her sunny backyard, created an e-newsletter to go out to Skokie teachers and other residents who have subscribed to our newsletters.

And while an informed citizenry is considered a Very Good Thing, there is sometimes the risk that it will come back to bite you in the butt. One of the recipients of Ruth's newsletter wrote back indicating that she thinks the legislation is a good idea and that she supports mandatory filtering in libraries. [Insert heavy sigh here]. I find that a bit discouraging to hear. I only hope that the other 953 recipients of the newsletter fall into our camp.

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