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National Library Week

The week of April 10-16 is National Library Week.  Back in late February, I posted a story about our Omaha Public Libraries on Eric’s website and their decision to allow any child, of any age, to check out movies without parental knowledge, even if they are rated "R."  Here’s the article:

Want your 7-year old to watch R-rated movies? Come to Omaha!

I live in a Red state, but appear to live in a Blue City…sometimes.  On February 20, 2005, the Omaha World Herald printed an article outlining a new policy the Omaha Public Libraries initiated allowing all children to check out any movie they wish, unless the parent placed a "block" on their card.  This is a departure from the original policy of only allowing those children 8th grade and younger to check out material marked "juvenile."  The Library Board made this decision, stating that it is "up to the parents" to decide what their children can or cannot watch. 

Fast forward to the Omaha World Herald on 2/26/05…."Library to Revisit Policy on Kids, R-rated Films." 

Here’s what the Library Director, Rivkah Sass, had to say: 

"Sass expressed concerns Friday about putting too many restrictions in place, particularly on the basis of a private movie rating system."

So, in other words, even though every other venue offering R-rated movies restricts viewing or checking out of said movies for those under the age of 17, the library feels like it is above that because the rating system for movies is private?  I thought the library was a place that kids were supposed to go to in order to explore and learn, not a place where they are exposed to violence, bloodshed, profanity and nudity.  What this comes down to is a misuse of funds and laziness.  The library system is looking for ways to cut costs and what better way than to put children into harm’s way and blame it on parent’s inability to monitor their children 24/7.

Interestingly enough, the reason they are "revisiting" this policy (not reverting to the old policy, mind you) is due to the public outcry regarding their decision.  My hope is that the heat is turned up enough that they are required to return to the original policy of restricting checkout.

One thing I will say about the Omaha Public Library - they have not yet bowed to the American Library Association’s recommendation to pull Internet filtering programs off of juvenile computers within libraries.  Here’s an excerpt from the ALA’s statement on filtering:

"The use in libraries of software filters to block constitutionally protected speech is inconsistent with the United States Constitution and federal law and may lead to legal exposure for the library and its governing authorities. The American Library Association affirms that the use of filtering software by libraries to block access to constitutionally protected speech violates the Library Bill of Rights."

Here’s the policy in the Omaha Public Library.  In a nutshell, it states that computers in the areas designated for minors would have filtering on them, in order to reduce the amount of exposure juveniles would have to content that they should not see (they are clear that it wouldn’t eliminate the material entirely, which anyone using filters understands), but greatly reduces the risk of juveniles seeing pornographic material.  In light of their position on audio-visual, I wonder how long it will be before the library board in Omaha decides that they should conform to this recommendation?  They are allowing full access for children to any audio-visual materials, even if it is inappropriate, why not porn on the Internet?

It will be interesting for parents here in Omaha to follow this story.  One thing still troubles me, however.  If the Omaha Public Libraries revert to their original policy of restricting access to audio-visual materials for those 8th grade and younger, it still allows a 9th or 10th grader to check out material a parent may want to view prior to their child checking it out.  I think I have the best solution of all - no library card in our household.  I’ll buy off of Amazon.com before I subject my children to the lax, non-family focused values of the Omaha Public Library.

As it has been awhile, I wanted to provide an update on the actions of the Omaha Public Libraries.

(more…)


Buy A Gun Day!

Now this is a holiday I can groove on.  The artist formerly known as Aaron the Liberal Slayer is promoting Buy a Gun Day on April 15th.

I like that, I like that ALOT!

So take that money you loaned the gubmint for a year with no interest, also known as a "tax refund" and get out purchase some firepower. 

As for us, we have our babies:

P95_1

Deer_2004_012

Not pictured are the hunting tools, two rifles and a shotgun.

cross posted at Vince Aut Morire.