Kansas Eyes Internet Filters at Libraries

The Kansas Library Association told the Legislature that filters would cost $150 per PC.

by / March 12, 2003
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A proposal to require that public libraries install computer filters to shield minors from Internet pornography would be costly and ineffective, opponents told a Kansas House committee Tuesday.

The testimony before the state's Federal and State Affairs Committee came one day after proponents spoke for the measure. Among the supporters was a Topeka woman who said the Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library was not policing its computers and their use by minors.

Robert Banks, the Topeka library's deputy operations director, denied the woman's assertion. He said the library staff monitors the computer activities of children and adults and expels those who violate a posted policy on proper use.

"We have had people arrested in the past and will do so in the future," Banks said.

Some legislators agreed with opponents who said the bill was unnecessary.

"It seems like the only problem -- if there is a problem -- is in Topeka," said Rep. Todd Novascone, R-Wichita.

Novascone's observation was based on comments from representatives from Wichita, Dodge City, Alma and Pottawatomie County who said their libraries already had either Internet filters or policies on computer use or both.

Rosanne Goble, executive director of the Kansas Library Association, said Internet filters would cost an estimated $150 per computer and would take time and resources away from serving the public.

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