Viewpoint-based library filtering, as to adults and as to children
VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu
Mon Mar 20 09:18:16 PST 2006
Any thoughts on this? I'm not at all sure myself what the rules
should be as to library filtering, especially of material accessible to
children, but I thought this was an interesting example to use in
thinking about this.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri)
March 18, 2006 Saturday
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. A6
HEADLINE: Group charges libraries filtered out Web site
BYLINE: By Peter Shinkle ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
The Council of Conservative Citizens, a nationwide group that has been
portrayed as racist, is suing four libraries in the St. Louis area for
allegedly blocking patrons from viewing its Web site. . . .
The site, cofcc.org, does not feature the racial epithets commonly used
by racist groups. It does, however, provide a slate of news stories
about crime by blacks or immigrants. It also offers for sale a T-shirt
with the words, "White Pride," "Deutschland" and "Save Our Culture." . .
Baum filed a suit in U.S. District Court on Monday claiming the
Maplewood City Library, University City Public Library, Valley Park
Community Library and Festus Public Library had violated his
constitutional right to free speech by blocking access to the Web site.
At least two of the libraries say they now permit patrons to view the
site. . . .
Maplewood City Library Director Terrence Donnelly sent the group a
letter replying that the Internet filter service the library uses had
blocked the site after tagging it as being in "the categories of Hate
On Friday, however, Donnelly said that changed after the library's board
discussed the issue on Wednesday and he consulted with a lawyer.
Donnelly said the Web site is now accessible at the library. . . .
The University City Library stopped blocking the group's Web site after
it received a letter from Baum in November, said the library's director,
"We have turned off the hate speech filters for the adult machines, but
they're still in place for the children's machines," she said.
It was unclear whether the two other libraries block the site. . . .
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