Say No to Library Internet Censorship in San Jose

Feb 26, 2009
Nicole A. Ozer

Page Media

ACLU of Northern CA

If you live or work in San Jose, please speak up for free speech and say no to library internet censorship!

The San Jose City Council is deciding whether to install blocking software on library computers and endanger access to important information about healthcare, sexuality, art, and politics. If you live or work in San Jose, please tell the San Jose City Council and the Mayor that library Internet access must not be censored and please forward this blog post to others who live and work in the community.

A recent study by the San Jose Public Library revealed that this blocking software, while touted to filter out sexually explicit material, actually ended up stopping access to these and other important sites:

  • American Urological Association;
  • World War II history sites;
  • Victims of Pornography (an anti-pornography support group); and
  • PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays — a LGBT support and advocacy group).

The software also blocked access to items in the library's health and wellness databases, its online encyclopedia, and even its own online catalog of available books.

Internet use at San Jose libraries is very high, and problems associated with Internet content are extremely rare. There were only 13 formal complaints from patrons from throughout the entire library system last year. Any limited problems can, and should, be properly dealt with by the use of privacy screens, recessed seating, and the continued work of the staff to enforce library rules — not by censoring access to the Internet.

The capital of Silicon Valley should not be denying you or anyone else the ability to access essential information on the internet.

Please contact the Mayor and City Council members now and urge them to support open access and say no to blocking software and no to censorship in the San Jose libraries.

Learn more about library Internet censorship.