The library board plans to vote next month on a proposal to install Internet filters on more than 1,000 computers in its 26 libraries. Hennepin County libraries are the only ones in Minnesota that don’t already use filters, said board Secretary Holly Guncheon.
Currently, the library relies on staff members to enforce rules against displaying offensive material, said Janet Leick, operations director. That’s a poor use of staff time and sometimes leads to confrontations when patrons refuse to log off offensive sites, she said.
State law allows libraries to use filters to protect children from viewing “harmful” material, Leick said.
“Because the filtering software has advanced so dramatically, you are not keeping people out of sites that are acceptable,” Guncheon said. Patrons who believe they have been barred from a legitimate site can ask a librarian to override the filter.