Boy would I have liked to use that headline! Well, I guess I just did, but I mean in earnest. Just this week, as my cadre of faithful readers will remember (thanks, you two!), I called for the ALA to take a stand on behalf of sexual predators to do their sexual predatorying with library computers.
And then yesterday, my beloved AL Direct email arrived, just before my tea. Now, for someone like the Annoyed Librarian, always looking for ways to expose the foolishness of the ALA, the arrival of AL Direct in the mail always provides a frisson of excitement. What have those crazy guys and gals over at the ALA headquarters been up to this week, I wondered.
And then I saw the headline: ALA Opposes "Deleting Online Predators Act". Which of course, by eliminating the double negatives and applying a little vindictive interpretation could be read to say: ALA Supports Online Predators! I thought Micheal Gorman and the rest had fallen into the clutches of the Annoyed Librarian.
Here's part of the statement from Michael Gorman:
"If passed, H.R. 5319 - the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA)- would block library computer users from accessing collaborative networking sites like MySpace, and would also bar access to a wide array of other important applications and technologies such as instant messaging, e-mail, wikis and blogs.
As libraries are already required to block content that is 'harmful to minors' under the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), DOPA is redundant and unnecessary legislation. Further, the proposed law would block access to some of the Internet’s most powerful emerging technologies and learning applications, essentially stifling library users’ ability to participate fully in the educational opportunities the Internet offers."
I also took a look at the proposed act. And, well, it's pretty stupid, though not necessarily for the reasons Gorman gives. I mean, really, "bar access to a wide array of other important applications and technologies such as instant messaging, e-mail, wikis and blogs." "Most powerful emerging technologies and learning applications"? Learning applications like IM? Has he seen the kids in action lately? "Stifling library users’ ability to participate fully in the educational opportunities the Internet offers"? Educational opportunities like email and MySpace? Does he really think that the kids are in the library hanging out on MySpace for the educational opportunity? If you want to read about what they're doing on MySpace, check out this article.
He's acting like the main reason for the existence of public libraries these days is to educate and inform the public, including the kiddies. Back in the day that might have been true, you know, back when librarians with severe glasses had their doubts about whether libraries should have fiction sections. We know how novels corrupt the lower orders, and we librarians wanted to elevate them. Is that how we think now? Maybe it's how I think, but I'm probably in the minority. Don't we know that public libraries are about bread and circuses? Bums on seats, luv, and we get the bums on the seats (boy, do we!) by having lots of videos and trashy fiction and computers for the kiddies to mindlessly surf and the perverts to drool on.
So why is it a stupid law? Because it might block Blogger. And that would mean the kiddies wouldn't get the chance to read Annoyed Librarian.