Vermont Library Association
Statement on Internet Filtering
Adopted: September 23, 1999
The Vermont Library Association supports the principle of free and open access to information and ideas, regardless of the medium in which they exist. We do not advocate the use of filtering software. We suggest that the privacy of users be protected whenever possible. We support the right of individuals to determine what is appropriate for themselves and their children. The responsibility for determining what is suitable for children is best left to their parents or legal guardians.
The current state of filtering software is, at best, underdeveloped. As a consequence, filters may block information defined as constitutionally free speech, which in turn may jeopardize the effectiveness of the library in providing complete access to information. As a consequence, the Vermont Library Association opposes attempts by federal, state or special interest groups to mandate the use of filtering software, which we believe goes against the United States Supreme Court ruling in Reno vs. ACLU et al (521 US 844) that affirmed the merits of the First Amendment.
Individual libraries should work with their own governing bodies, constituents and staff in order to create electronic resources policies that best reflect the needs of their communities and the individuals in those communities. No library should feel untoward pressure form special interest groups in creating local Acceptable Use Policies.
We endorse the principles of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, including the resolution on the Use of Filtering Software. For more information on these documents, see the American Library Association’s home page at http://www.ala.org.