Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Being a librarian is not easy. I can just imagine you sitting out there in cyberspace thinking "Yeah, sure Wendy. What do you do stamp books and shush people all day?" Actually, I don't. For one thing, we're automated and I used a stamp for the first time last week (I've had this job for 4 years). I do shush people - but only rowdy children who are screaming at the tops of their lungs. And then I don't shush, I advise them to use an "inside voice."

Librarians do not have easy jobs. In between the Internet filtering debate that just won't die and the Patriot Act, we have a lot on our table. Let's analyze these shall we?

Internet filters don't work. If they did work, I have no doubt that librarians would jump on the bandwagon faster than you can say "The Bill of Rights." Filters block out some of the good and not all of the bad. They promote a false sense of security. That's why librarians don't like them.

No - we don't want children to access porn. We don't want anyone accessing porn. Hey, whatever you do at home to get your jollies is fine by me, but don't bring it into a public place - that's just icky.

And let's get this out of the way right now - kids are going to look at porn. It's a natural curiosity thing. Everyone (and I mean everyone - don't even try to deny it) stole a peak at a Playboy in their day. What is dangerous are chat rooms. Personally I would much rather catch my child looking at boobs than chatting with a 56 year old man who claims to be a 13 year old girl. That's just me though.

As for the Patriot Act - well this is a mess - just take a look at the link and see why librarians are so rankled. In a nutshell - it's a privacy thing. Not every person who checks out The Catcher in the Rye has plans to kill a Beatle. Not every high school kid who reads Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) wants to shoot up their school. It's that simple. Sure there is the "well if you don't have anything to hide why should it bother you" argument - but that's pretty ignorant.

What makes America great is the incredible amount of freedom we as citizens have. Take a look at the Bill of Rights some time. It's fascinating stuff - and the freedoms it allows are incredible.

Which brings me to my final point - it's my right as an Ameican to disagree with the actions our government takes - but does that mean I want to live in any other country in the world? Nope. Well - maybe England. I'd finally be able to get copious amounts of tea without any sort of hassle. Americans and their coffee - humpfh!

No comments: