Resolution on Opposition to Federally Mandated Internet Filtering


WHEREAS, The American Library Association has as its cornerstone the First Amendment and free and open access to the information people need and want regardless of the format in which that information appears; and

WHEREAS, Millions of our nation’s library users cannot afford computers, require assistive technology to use them, and therefore rely on public access computers in their local libraries for Internet access; and

WHEREAS, Libraries depend on Federal funding, such as E-rate discounts, LSTA grants, and ESEA Title III grants to provide Internet access; and

WHEREAS, Librarians are partners with parents and work to help their communities—adults and children—become information literate by teaching them how to access, evaluate, and use information; and

WHEREAS, The ALA strongly believes that educating children to use the Internet wisely provides children their best protection, now and in the future; and

WHEREAS, The ALA strongly encourages local libraries to adopt and implement Internet use policies in the same way they develop other policies, based on the needs of their communities; and

WHEREAS, The ALA does not endorse blocking or filtering Internet content in libraries because there is no proven technology that both blocks out all illegal content and allows access to all constitutionally protected material; and

WHEREAS, The 106th Congress passed the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act, which mandates the adoption of a prescriptive Internet safety policy that undermines local control for recipients of E-rate discounts as part of a major spending bill (H.R. 4577) which was signed by the President on December 21, 2000 (PL 106-554); and

WHEREAS, The 106th Congress passed the Children’s Internet Protection Act mandating filtering or blocking for recipients of E-rate discounts, LSTA grants, and ESEA Title III grants as part of a major spending bill (H.R. 4577) which was signed by the President on December 21, 2000 (PL 106-554); now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association will work with the 107th Congress to encourage lawmakers to repeal the portions of Children’s Internet Protection Act and the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act that usurp and undermine local control; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the ALA will continue to work with the Federal Communications Commission, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the U.S. Department of Education, to ensure that the values of full and open access for all, are considered as they administer these grants and discounts; and be it further

RESOLVED, That ALA will continue to support and encourage local libraries as they educate children and adults in the safe and effective use of the Internet; and be it further

RESOLVED, That ALA will initiate litigation against these Acts to ensure that the people of America have unfettered access to information; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the ALA transmit this resolution to United States President-elect George W. Bush and Members of Congress.

Adopted by the ALA Council, January 17, 2001