Bosque Farms library proposes ban of online adult material

........................................................................................................................................................................................

After a long discussion, the Bosque Farms library board decided to suggest changes to the village's library ordinance that bans library computers access to online adult content.

The councilors voted unanimously to publish the changes to the ordinance. There will be a hearing Sept. 26 at the council meeting to get public input about the changes.

At last month's village of Bosque Farms council meeting, Mayor Bob Knowlton said the change stemmed from an incident last year.

"A gentleman had come into the library and was observed accessing pornography on one of the computers," Knowlton said. "He was asked to leave and he did."

After that, the library staff put together an ad hoc computer-use policy that asked patrons not to access pornography.

Patrons wishing to use the computers were asked to sign a copy of the policy, the mayor said.

The man returned and, when asked to sign the policy, "left in a huff," Knowlton said.

The library board, of which Knowlton is a nonvoting member, decided to amend the ordinance and incorporate the Children's Internet Protection Act.

Congress enacted the act in 2000 to address concerns about children's access to obscene or harmful content over the Internet.

It requires libraries receiving E-rate funding to filter content to prevent minors from having inadvertent access to adult content, Knowlton said.

"We do filter but we're unable to keep them current," he said. "And we don't have a separate area for adult-only computers."

He said the American Civil Liberties Union has challenged this type of law successfully in other cities, usually larger cities.

"This is a small town and we value our children. We don't need them to have access to adult content," Knowlton said. "Basically the ordinance says it's unlawful."

The mayor said the amended ordinance has been reviewed by village attorney David Chavez. The council will decide on whether to enact the proposed changes.

Librarian Amanda Vigil said the computers at the library are in the building's main room and can easily be monitored.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.