State Bill Would Require Libraries Block Internet Porn

Kat Khan
DES MOINES — Iowa libraries may be required to block computer access to adult content websites and restrict children from viewing R-rated movies under new legislation proposed by three Republican state senators.

"Libraries should be safe havens where children go to learn," Sen. Jeff Angelo said, who authored the bill along with Sen. Brad Zaun and Sen. Jerry Behn.

The legislation specifies that libraries that don't install computer filters would be prohibited from receiving state aid. The measures are aimed at protecting children from being exposed to sexually explicit material, according to the bill's sponsors.

"It is important that people have access to the Internet and all of the information that it has,” Susan Craig, director of the Iowa City Public Library, added.

Various librarians said they also are concerned about children but they believe policies governing libraries should be set at the community level.

Twenty-one states currently have Internet filtering laws that apply to public schools or libraries. Congress has already approved similar rules for libraries that receive federal money.

Recently, the Board of Supervisors for Los Angeles County unanimously passed a funding measure set to dole out $344,000 to county libraries for the purchase of strict filtering technology, privacy screens around monitors and a complete redesign of where computers are stationed.

The decision to allocate funding for filters followed an October 2005 measure that required libraries to begin using limited filters for sexually explicit content at all Los Angeles County library computers.