Library Board takes anti-porn measures

Steps will help address complaints

Filters have been placed on all computers in the Hood River Library children’s area, in response to a recent outcry over access to inappropriate materials at the library.

The filters are one of several steps taken by the Library District board after it studied the issue and the options for response.

Over the past several months, the board has been addressing the concern that pornography was being viewed on computers in Hood River, Parkdale and Cascade Locks branches, noted board chair Mike Oates.

“Our board took this concern very seriously and has spent hours gathering information so as to make the best possible policies to address the concern,” he said.

In addition to gathering public input at its meetings, the board visited other libraries, including some that filter their computers and some that don’t. Board members read “countless periodicals about the subject,” according to Oates, and gained information from the Oregon State Library, Oregon Library Association and Special Districts Association of Oregon.

The board’s position is that filtering all library computers would disrupt availability of some information and that filtered computers are relatively easy to bypass for those wishing to do so.

Oates said the library has also taken the following steps to resolve the problem. Those steps include:

  • Placing privacy screens on most public computers in all three branches. These screens limit the ability to view the computers from an angle
  • Changing the policy wording to prohibit the viewing of pornography
  • Posting public information notices within the library that state the policy on pornography
  • Adding a “click-through agreement” on district computers, and soon wireless networks, for users to agree to before they are allowed to use our networks
  • Training staff to address violations of the policy

In addition, the board is looking at the possibility of implementing age restrictions on upstairs computer use.

“The board is committed to offering a safe and appropriate environment for all ages to enjoy. We are also committed to providing open access to the variety of information our constituents need. It’s a fine line,” Oates said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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