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

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."