Brooklyn – After working closely with Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) over the past few years on ways to prevent children from being exposed to inappropriate content on library computers, Councilman David G. Greenfield is pleased that BPL officials have agreed to install new internet filters on all public computers at library branches across the borough. This technology is something that Councilman Greenfield has personally discussed with library officials following complaints from constituents who were concerned that children could easily view or be subjected to indecent websites and videos. Councilman Greenfield introduced legislation in 2011 that would make it a crime to view such content within 100 feet of a child in a public library building. As a result of Councilman Greenfield’s advocacy on this issue, parents no longer have to worry about their child seeing things that are inappropriate on a computer while visiting the local library branch.
“This is a great step towards protecting our children and maintaining the safe and welcoming environment that makes our libraries so great. This is an issue that I was personally concerned about as a parent of young children and have heard about from many of my constituents. The new policy balances the need to prevent minors from being subjected to graphic material without censoring library-goers who are using the public computers in an appropriate manner. My thanks to President Linda Johnson and the entire Brooklyn Public Library leadership for addressing this serious issue in a way that considers the needs of everyone and makes our great neighborhood library branches safer for everyone who visits them,” said Councilman Greenfield.
The new effort to better filter inappropriate internet content and protect children at local library branches utilizes Websense software, which will bring greater consistency across all browsers and will lead to fewer mistakenly blocked sites. In addition, under the most substantial change to the policy, streaming adult video is now completely blocked for all users on all library computers. This is in response to a major concern of Councilman Greenfield and many Brooklyn residents that children could easily get around the prior safeguards and view adult websites. There is now a total block of adult videos on all computers, with an attempt to view such sites resulting in a window alerting that the site is completely blocked for all users, regardless of their age. Finally, the new filtering software will also help better block access to websites that contain viruses and other malicious software.