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Dear Editor, Regarding EBSCO

 

 

Recently, a “newsletter” was circulated to businesses and organizations in Lamar by the Heritage Defenders (HD) stated that illicit content is being distributed through online resources available at the Public Library, mentioning that I and various Lamar residents are somehow complicit in this effort.

Several HD members recently testified online during a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding SB19-048 [1] , a bill that sought to impose fines when images or text deemed to be obscene showed up in online resources used by schools and libraries. It was defeated, signaling that the state Senate sees no merit to these claims.

In late 2018, similar stories about EBSCO database content reached the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN), a state-supported organization provides access to the databases in Utah schools statewide. The UETN closed access to the database in September to investigate the issue. After a month of intensive review, the UETN Board voted unanimously to reopen access statewide. The UETN chairman said, “we have not been able to replicate” access to inappropriate materials that resulted in the temporary shuttering of the database…”It has been locked tight. I feel comfortable that my grandchildren and other children are not being exposed to content that is inappropriate”.[2]

Clearly, this has become just another conspiracy theory for those who believe in a flat Earth and Elvis sightings. While people have a right to their beliefs, they do not have the right to ignore facts, bend the truth to the breaking point, or impose misinformed beliefs on others to halt—or worse, criminalize—access to legal and useful information in schools and libraries. Believing a nationwide company and libraries would conspire for years to deliver so-called ‘obscenities’ anywhere is simply ridiculous.

Elected officials in two states have shown that this topic has no merit and should be dismissed, just as any rational person would dismiss other such false theories. Anyone who hears about this topic should respond with two words: “prove it”. The fact is, they can’t…without falsifying facts.

It’s time to stop this spread of unfounded misinformation and let the library, schools, and city council get on with their business without being harassed by allegations that are clearly false.

Eugene Hainer
Former Colorado State Librarian (ret.)
Ehainer2@gmail.com
1029 Syracuse Ct. Denver 80230

[1] Protect Students from Harmful Material: Concerning protecting public school students from electronically accessing harmful material.

[2] https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900038287/board-votes-to-restore-utah-public-schools-access-to-educational-database.html. October 22, 2018.

 

 

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