Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Orland Park Public Library's Computer Lab a "Pervert's Dream"

Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan are not pleased with Orland Park Public Library's public computer access policy (Public Access to Electronic Information Networks Policy) , which, for the time being, is summarized on the library's homepage.

The man who first addresses the library board is Kevin DuJan, founder of HillBuzz.  He describes himself as a gay conservative political analyst, essayist, author and radio and TV commentator on politics, pop culture, LGBTQ issues, and current events.

He seems to have some issues, as they say.

In debate over pornography, Orland Park library pleads the First. (Chicago Tribune, 11/4/2013)

Excerpt:   The controversy is the latest installment in a debate that stirs passions on both sides and has lacked a cure-all answer for decades. How should public libraries balance access to information with keeping potentially inappropriate material away from children? With the advent of new technologies, the dilemma extends beyond books and into websites, photos and videos, making an attempt at balance even more daunting.

I regularly use this article, “Internet Use Policies and the Public Library: A Case Study of a Policy Failure”, by Robert C. Ward,  as a starting point for small-group discussions in the public library management class I teach for UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies.

I particularly like the way Ward summarizes the challenges that continue to face public library staff and trustees.

The failure of the Greenville Library to establish an Internet use policy acceptable to the local community highlights a normative conflict that potentially exists in all public libraries in the United States.  

On the one hand, public library directors and trustees seek to advance a series of professional 
norms and values grounded within the ethics of the profession. 

On the other hand, all public libraries in the United States are local institutions, created to advance the local community’s welfare, and reflective of the local community’s values. 

The challenging task facing all public library directors and trustees is locating the appropriate balance between the profession’s norms and values and the local community’s norms and values.

(Disclaimer:  In referring to this article, I don't mean to infer that the Orland Park PL is experiencing a policy failure.)


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