Brickbat: What a Witch


Anaka Hunter wanted to research the religions of various Indian tribes, so she went to the Salem Public Library to do some research. But she found that many of the websites she wanted to look at were blocked on the library's computers. The library blocked "occult" sites, including those with information on pagan and Indian religions. Library Director Glenda Wofford told her she'd need a legitimate reason to have those sites unblocked. Hunter says Wofford also told her she had an obligation to report anyone who asked to view blocked websites. The ACLU took the library to court, and a federal judge ordered the library to unblock those sites.

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  1. While I think that’s stupid to block sites like that, I also think public libraries shouldn’t be in the business of providing free computer and internet use.

    That’s what internet cafes are for.

    Or loaning out movies or video games.

    Why are people being taxed just to compete with private business?

    1. You probably should have just said “there shouldn’t be public libraries,” because nothing about your arguments against movies, internet and video games isn’t also true for books.

  2. Wofford also told her she had an obligation to report anyone who asked to view blocked websites.

    CROWD: We have found a witch! May we burn her?

    SIR BEDEVERE: How do you know that she is a witch?

    CROWD: She looks like one looked them up on the internet!

  3. The library is required by law to have a filtering system to prevent children from accessing obscene images and other content considered harmful to minors.

    “Even libraries that are required by federal law to install filtering software to block certain sexually explicit content should never use software to prevent patrons from learning about different cultures,” Tony Rothert, an attorney for the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, added.

    Apparently the ACLJOO thinks I shouldn’t be allowed to learn about the culture of obscene imagery in the privacy of my own public library.

  4. She should have known better than to be a witch in a town called Salem, for Christ sakes.

  5. I’m sorry the institution that uses force to confiscate wealth to fund itself didn’t respect your freedom to suckle at the public teat. Get a job, buy your own computer. And why are libraries still a thing?

    1. I’d like to think that libraries might
      survive without public funding. I wasn’t already forced to pay for that a host of other useless “social goods”, I’d choose to make charitable contributions to libraries: something that I know from personal experience can help a child grow up to become economically self-sufficient.

      1. To clarify I mean a publicly funded thing. I like museums but they should private, filled with collections on loan from foundations and private collectors. The staff should be volunteers or paid out of admission fees. I am not anti-culture just anti-government approved culture.

        1. Subscription libraries have a long history in this country.

    2. So they can act under government orders to promote Obamacare, of course.

      Which might give us a hint about how URL blocking will be handled in the future. Can’t expect to keep spreadin’ those lies about government tyranny on the President’s dime, you know.

  6. The library blocked “occult” sites, including those with information on pagan and Indian religions

    The browsing history at the public library is now free to become a breadcrumbs of tears.

  7. Of course such sites are blocked. Little Johnny might see some boobies.

  8. Other things Librarians censor?
    How about The Obama thanking them for joining the Obamacare Army.

    1. “The ALA, which is a tax-exempt 501(C)(3) foundation, agreed last weekend during its annual meeting in Chicago to help the president get the word out about Obamacare.”

      The IRS, since it’s politically neutral and subjects left-wing organizations to the same scrutiny as right-wing ones, will surely be looking into the ALA.

  9. It would have been funnier if the town was Salem, MA. Unfortunately, it was Missouri.

  10. She needs to respect that librarian’s authoritah! Even the lowliest of public employees are petty tyrants. If anyone should be burned at the stake……

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