Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 16:32:33 -0500 Subject: SLAC Bulletin A briefing paper (about 5 pages) pertaining to the purchase of blocking software by public libraries is available at http://www.spectacle.org/cs/library.html. This is intended to be used by free speech advocates in conversations with public librarians and local authorities. It explains the First Amendment precedents under which purchase of censorware by your public library is clearly illegal. Here is a summary. I will email the paper, in Word or ASCII, to anyone who requests. "Most advocates of the use of blocking software by libraries have forgotten that the public library is a branch of government, and therefore subject to First Amendment rules. While libraries have discretion in determining what materials to acquire , the First Amendment prevents government from removing materials from library shelves based on official disapproval of content. Secondly, government rules classifying speech by the acceptability of content (in libraries or elsewhere) are inherently suspect, may not be vague or overbroad, and must conform to existing legal parameters laid out by the Supreme Court. Third, a library may not delegate to a private organization, such as the publisher of blocking software, the discretion to determine what library users may see."