The Librarian Will Decide If You're Mature Enough to View That

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A quick Google image search shows that people often associate librarians with sexiness. But what happens when librarians go overboard--say, way overboard--in trying to quash sexiness? Yes, they stop being sexy. But they also end up in court, sued by the ACLU.

Tomorrow, the State Supreme Court will hear Bradburn v. North Central Library Region (NCLR). The North Central Library Region is a system spanning Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, and Okanogan counties. Like other library systems that receive federal funds for Internet access, the NCLR is required to have the ability to block minors from seeing materials deemed "harmful" to them. Typically, libraries disable those filters at the request of adults; in fact, "the ease with which patrons may have the filtering software disabled" was among the US Supreme Court's justifications for upholding the filter law.

Nevertheless, the NCLR has instead decided that it will judge the merits of each adult's request to disable the filter. This, says the ACLU, "hampers adults in researching academic assignments, locating businesses and organizations, and engaging in personal reading on lawful subjects." ACLU spokesperson Doug Honig says that the majority of requests to lift the filter has been denied.

The organization sent out a partial list of sites that have been blocked by the filter:

* The website of an organization encouraging individuals to commit random acts of kindness (www.kindnessusa.org)

* The Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra website

* The website of an organization encouraging women to carry to term by creating "a supportive environment for women in crisis situations to be introduced to the love of Christ" (www.acceptpregnancy.org)

* YouTube

The ACLU notes that the population served by the NCLR is primarily rural and relies heavily on the library for Internet access. No one was available for comment at the NCLR--all the potential commenters are in Olympia gearing up for the big day. Also no word on whether the NCLR has contracted with Nokia-Siemens.

If you get off on that sort of thing, you can watch the case on TVW at 1:30. Unless you're trying to watch at and NCLR library. In that case, just hope it won't require a request, as those apparently take a day to process.

 
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