Libraries May Spurn U.S. Aid Over Computer Filters

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Some libraries may give up federal aid rather than comply with a law requiring them to outfit their computers with filters that block sexually explicit Web sites.

The San Francisco Chronicle says city librarian Susan Hildreth might give up the $240,000 the library receives each year in federal funds, about half of the $430,000 the library budgets for telecommunications and Internet costs. “I don’t believe our library commission or our Board of Supervisors would really be interested in the use of filters,” she said.

Library groups and patrons challenging the law protested that it blocked access to information on health, politics, gays and lesbians, and other legitimate Web sites. San Francisco’s Hildreth said not every adult might be sophisticated enough to ask a librarian to disable the filter. She added, “this is not the best use of a librarian’s time.”

The Supreme Court upheld the federal law by a 6-3 vote. An Associated Press story cited yesterday by Crime and Justice News erroneously reported that the court’s vote was 5-4.


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