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U of U to Co-Host Forum Examining Use of Internet Filters In Libraries

November 7, 2002 — As Internet content is unrated and unregulated, parents and grandparents, educators and legislators are increasingly concerned about what images and information children can access on the World Wide Web-especially in a library setting, away from parental guidance and home and family Net rules. But does the installation of software that filters what some may deem objectionable material in a public library constitute censorship? Who should take responsibility for what can be accessed in a library?

These issues will be explored at the Great Issues Forum “Do Filters Equal Censorship in Libraries?” The Utah Library Association (ULA) and the University of Utah’s Marriott Library will present the discussion, on Monday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. The forum and a reception, beginning at 6 p.m., are free and open to the public and will be held in the Marriott Library’s Gould Auditorium.

“The topic of Internet filters is one that comes up frequently in all types of libraries and affects anyone who tries to conduct serious research using the vast resources on the Internet,” notes Leslie Haas, head of reference at the Marriott Library.

The Great Issues Forum will explore whether filters hinder intellectual freedom. Judith Krug, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom since 1967, and Jerry Ropelato, chief operations and technology officer of ContentWatch, a leading content control solutions provider, will debate what, if any, place filters have in our public, school and academic libraries.

Krug is a noted author and speaker in the area of intellectual freedom and has won numerous awards for her efforts. She is the vice-chair of the Internet Education Foundation and serves on the Media Institute’s First Amendment Advisory Council.

With more than 20 years experience in the technology industry, Ropelato has spoken extensively and written articles on technology and pornography.

“The Great Issues Forum is sponsored annually by the Utah Library Association to spark public interest in issues of importance to both the community and libraries,” says Kayla Willey, Utah Library Association president and metadata librarian at Brigham Young University.

“The discussion between Judith Krug and Jerry Ropeleto will be exciting and informative,” notes Haas.

For more information on the forum, call 801-422-6766.