The Burlington News
Thursday, January 22, 1998
page 1

Library will hear dad's Internet concerns

by Carmela Fragomeni,

David Auger hasn't given up trying to stop young children from being exposed to pornography on public library computers.

He's been invited and is scheduled to voice his concerns on CHML's Roy Green radio talk show tomorrow at 9 a.m.

And, at the encouragement of Mayor Rob MacIsaac, he plans to address the Burlington library board's meeting next Thursday.

Auger was in the Tansley Woods branch earlier this month with his fiver-year-old daughter, Jenna, when he noticed her staring at something behind him.

When he turned, his eyes met a computer screen with a semi-naked Penthouse model.

He says his concerns to library staff were met with what he described as a cavalier attitude. They said there was little they could do and attempts to filter or block pornographic sites resulted in medical information, such as breast cancer research, being restricted.

Auger understands the problem, but he also believes the library, as a publicly funded institution, is duty-bound to exercise some control.

"They don't seem to want to address it. I get the impression they hope it'll just go away."

MacIsaac, too, is concerned "whenever youn people are exposed to inappropriate material", but doesn't have a solution.

He encouraged Auger to bring his concerns to the library board.

"If he has a concern, and he's not happy with how staff are dealing with it, we ought to deal with it at the board level."

Auger doesn't want to limit access to the Internet, but he believes the library has a responsibility to ensure young children aren't exposed to pornography when they visit.

Chief Librarian Wendy Schick, meanwhile, said staff attending the Ontario Libraries Association conference in Toronto this weekend expect to participate in workshops and seminars on the issue.

"The whole question of Internet access is not unique to this library", she said, adding Burlington's library staff are always monitoring the other libraries' policies to see if there's a workable solution.

Hamilton's public library doesn't have controls on Internet access either, said spokesman Don Kilpatrick. But the library is devising a policy to respond to complaints that have been made about pornographic sites, he said.

Copyright © 1998 by The Burlington News. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.