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LONG HILL TOWNSHIP, NJ - Plan2Succeed.org is bringing to your attention an issue of potential great interest to the residents of New Jersey and perhaps beyond. The citizens of Long Hill Township in Morris County are not allowed to have their opinions polled as to whether or not they want their taxpayer-supported public library to install Internet filters on computers to prevent children from seeing p-rn-graphy. Instead, the guidance of a 60,000-member union of librarians in Washington, D.C. effectively keeps filters off the computers. Internet-related crimes have already occurred in the library and are likely to get worse since the library is getting newer, faster computers and speedier Internet connections.
Our Library Board of Trustees will not accept the input of citizens but explicitly seeks guidance from the American Library Association (ALA). The ALA believes children should have access to p-rn-graphy because it would be age discrimination to keep them from seeing it! The ALA also advises libraries not to install filters but to keep talking about how they are thinking of installing filters. We have attended three monthly meetings and each one shows us our local Library Board of Trustees is following the ALAís advice to the letter in making only a superficial show of considering the input of the citizens.
Plan2Succeed.org has also attended 2 Township Committee meetings in an attempt to get their support in determining the opinion of the public as to whether the library should filter the Internet, then forcing the Library Board of Trustees to comply with the results of that citizen poll. The Township Committee refused to take action, even refused to put a public question about Internet filters on an election ballot, claiming the Library Board of Trustees is totally autonomous in anything it does, no matter what it does.
Plan2Succeed.org pointed out that autonomy should not apply to anything outside of the broadly defined functions of the Library Board of Trustees. For example, if the library allowed weekly public readings by naked ladies, and that is not part of the broadly defined functions of the Library Board of Trustees, then the Township should be able to require the library to stop providing the naked readings or to replace the trustees with those who will comply. To show the Library Board of Trustees has in fact exceeded its authority and the Township Committee should rein in the Board, Plan2Succeed.org showed the Township Committee that the Library Board of Trustees admitted it is acting outside its broadly defined functions. In the so-called Internet Policy published online and in existence for about 4 years, the Board says, "[B]ecause [the Internet] is a vast and unregulated information network, it also enables access to ideas, information, images and commentary beyond the confines of the Library's collection, mission, selection criteria and collection development policies." See? Even the Library Board of Trustees admits an unfiltered Internet falls "beyond the confines" of the library, beyond the "mission," beyond the "selection criteria," and beyond the "collection development policies." So, if this falls outside of the libraryís mission, and they admit this in their own words, the shield of autonomy should not apply, and the Township should determine the opinion of the citizens then ensure that opinion is applied to the libraryís computers. But the Committee refuses to act. The US Supreme Court case of US v. ALA discusses this very point extensively and rules that filters should be used to enforce library collection practices. While that case applies to libraries that accept federal funds, there is no reason to discard its reasoning in cases involving libraries not receiving federal funds, such as the Long Hill Township Public Library.
Plan2Succeed.org obviously wishes that filters be placed on all library computers accessible to the public. However, its goal is not to force filters into the library, but to require the library to obtain and follow the wishes of the community, not the wishes of a librarianís union in Washington, DC, a union that has radical views allowing children to see all the p-rn-graphy they desire, thereby exposing children and citizens to permanent dangers and towns to great liabilities.
It seems unbelievable to us that, in the United States of America, the views of the citizens are ignored, and the Township refuses its responsibility to represent its citizens with justice for all. Something is wrong when a small group of people called a Library Board of Trustees determines that a library must continue to allow access to p-rn-graphy despite admittedly being outside the library's mission, the Township Committee claims it is powerless to stop the Board, and the citizens have no say. It canít be that a handful of people ride roughshod over the wishes of the citizens and absolutely nothing can be done. Something is definitely wrong here. Something must be done.
Because all efforts for redress from the local government have failed, Plan2Succeed.org is now seeking legal counsel willing to launch legal actions against the Board and the Committee on a pro bono basis. We are confident that an injustice has been, is being done. We feel that legal action will force the Township to realize autonomy does not protect actions admittedly falling outside the mission of a Library Board of Trustees. We feel that attorneys will be interested in this matter because if the matter is won in Long Hill Township, it may apply to all other libraries in New Jersey and possibly even the United States. Like the US v. ALA case required filters on Internet computers of libraries that accept federal money, this matter could be the start of a case that forces all libraries to comply with the wishes of the citizens all over the United States, whether or not they accept federal funds. This could literally be the leading edge of a wave of action that will ripple across the USA, removing the negative influence of the ALA from public libraries, protecting children from viewing p-rn-graphy, and keeping potential criminals out of our public libraries.
Thank you for any assistance provided in publicizing this issue and continuing to bring it to the attention of the citizens of New Jersey. The ALAís negative influence only survives while no one knows itís happening or no one does anything about it. Well now they know, and now Plan2Succeed.org is doing something about it. Please see our web site to learn more, http://www.plan2succeed.org.
Plan2Succeed Citizen's Group is a grass roots non-profit organization dedicated to placing on the ballot a public question as to whether or not Internet filters should be installed on all computers in our public library, to informing the public nationwide about the ALA's efforts to mislead the public regarding Internet filters and to push pornography on children, and to focusing the efforts of many other grass roots groups nationwide to address the source of our common problems, namely, the ALA. We urge our Board to filter all computers, to update the Internet use policy, and to stop following the ALA's "Library Bill of Rights" until it comes into compliance with the law. Please contact us with questions or to join us at http://www.plan2succeed.org/ where this article will be posted with hyperlinks backing up all statements:
Plan2Succeed Citizen's Group
641 Shunpike Rd #123
Chatham, NJ 07928