On Twitter today I learned that Vancouver Public Library is making a change to its internet use policy. You can read the document yourself, but here’s the addition:
Users must not use any workstation or the public wireless network to display explicit sexual images.
Staff will advise users of inappropriate conduct as required and will ask that any behavior deemed to be inappropriate cease immediately. Violations may result in loss of privileges for both the user and the cards used.
That is kind of bullshit for an organization that attached the CLA statement on Intellectual Freedom to the policy document. If you forget what that has to say it includes this:
It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee and facilitate access to all expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity, including those which some elements of society may consider to be unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable. To this end, libraries shall acquire and make available the widest variety of materials.
Clearly, VPL is now saying explicit sexual images are inappropriate. Clearly, the CLA statement says citizens should have access to unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable content. Clearly, these don’t mesh. I don’t understand why VPL would even include the CLA statement when the new policy is so obviously opposed to it.
Now, I doubt that VPL is going to be using this new policy to kick out people watching acceptably arty sexy stuff. If I read Oglaf at VPL I doubt I will be hounded out of there. This is a policy meant to weed out undesirables (who don’t look like a somewhat scruffy but obviously middle class dude) from the branch. It’s begging to be selectively enforced as an excuse to prevent access to the library for people who are unconventional unpopular or unacceptable based on what kind of media they are consuming. That’s bullshit and VPL should be ashamed of itself.
Anyway, this document was dated July 2014, so maybe it was shot down before implementation? The addition is not live on the website’s version of the policy yet. I hope it doesn’t make it there.