what are your state’s filtering laws?

I spoke to a librarian at a rural library today. She works ten hours a week — well she’s paid for ten and works many more. The library has one computer, and that computer has dial-up access. Her board is considering getting her a second computer, so that she can do her work while the library is open and patrons are using the other one. She has also been talking to them about possibly getting broadband access. She and I discussed creating a web page for the library, maybe thinking about wireless in the longer-term future. Money is tight, as you can imagine. When I mentioned thinking about E-rate assistance for connectivity, she wasn’t enthusiastic. I’m not sure if this is because of CIPA or other reasons, but we’re looking into alternatives.

Vermont is not one of the states that has its own filtering laws in addition to the laws laid down by CIPA. What I did not know was that twenty-one states have filtering laws that apply to schools and/or libraries. Some of these just require libraries to have an Internet use policy concerning public/patron use of the Internet, but many go much farther than that. The Utah code, for example:

Prohibits a public library from receiving state funds unless the library implements and enforces measures to filter Internet access to certain types of images; allows a public library to block materials that are not specified in this bill; and allows a public library to disable a filter under certain circumstances. Requires local school boards to adopt and enforce a policy to restrict access to Internet or online sites that contain obscene material.

The National Council on State Legislatures has a page outlining all these state laws with links to the actual state legislation: Children and the Internet: Laws Relating to Filtering, Blocking and Usage Policies in Schools and Libraries

4 Responses to “what are your state’s filtering laws?”

  1. Kevin Yezbick Says:

    Michigan Public Act 212 of 2000. I just went over this the past week, after somebody asked why there were children upstairs on the “uncensored computers.” Michigan law requires us to provide at least one computer with filtered access.

  2. MichLibTech Says:

    Not exactly – Michigan libraries can choose to use a filtering system or some other system that doesn’t necessarily have to include filtering.

  3. Sarah Mae Says:

    I’m not sure what the California State law is but the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors (County) passed regulations requiring libraries to have parents choose filtered, unfiltered or no internet access for their minor children. They also just recently said that we will have to install more porn-blocking software and privacy screens on the public computers.

  4. Kevin Yezbick Says:

    Re: Michlibtech…

    Thanks for the correction. Now I’m brushing up even more. I just came across Andrew Mutch’s 2001 TLN production concerning Public Act 212 — and I’m a bit concerned about the second note on this slide….Is that right?