OF DECEMBER 16, 1998

The Hennepin County Library Board met on Wednesday, December 16, 1998, at the Rockford Road Community Library.

PRESENT: Patti Baskin, President
Jack Cole
Peggy Kelly
Richard Mueller
Carol Walsh
J.L. (Bob) Zaragoza

LIBRARY STAFF ATTENDING: C.Brown, S.Charles, J.Morgan, V.DeFord, L.Jennings, G. Wronka, E.Feinberg, S.Louis, P. Johnson, J.Foster, J.Friedrich, M.Flotten, G.Peterson, M.Turner, C.DeGraff, C.Ahrens, & B.Berg.

GUESTS: Marilyn Maloney (County Attorney's Office), Mike Amery (Commissioner Steele's Office), Mark Brunswick (Star Tribune), Mark Reidell (Ramsey County Public Library), and Jev Baskin.

President Patti Baskin called the special meeting to order and welcomed guests.

Victoria DeFord reviewed her role as facilitator of this meeting and reviewed the Ground Rules (mailed to Library Board members).

P. Baskin requested Library Board input and thoughts on participation. J. Cole requested that if staff wishes to participate, that they move up to the table to address the Library Board. C. Brown recommended staff participation by invitation. Role of Public participation will be determined on an individual basis.

Marilyn Maloney, Assistant County Attorney, was present to listen and provide general parameters. Technology is a constantly changing topic legally. Specific recommendations will be made based on the final policy draft.

General Parameters:
M. Maloney reviewed the Communications Decency Act (CDA) case; cases from the east and west coast. CDA: ACLU vs. Reno-cannot reduce an adult's access to "legal" materials. East Coast: Louden case-protect minors from pornographic material; cannot use mechanism that filters out materials adults may see. West coast: Livermore case-parent sued library for failing to restrict access to a child who got pornographic material; library is exempt from liability due to CDA; protected if all library does is provide access. Obscenity and child pornography are illegal materials. "Harmful to Minors" - a MN law, illegal materials to minors, is a sensitive area. From the Louden case, it was determined that once a library has an Internet policy, restrictions may only be "content neutral" - cost, time, regulation, logistical placement of terminals, etc. If restricting children's access, need to determine if that affects adult's access.

Process and timeline for discussion was reviewed.

St. Paul Public Library:
Since the SPPL Internet Policy has not been challenged, M. Maloney has no legal opinion on it.

P. Kelley moved that monitoring Internet use not be a demand of HCL librarians; seconded by J. Cole. Amended that this be covered as a procedure, not as policy. Motion passed unanimously.

J. Morgan noted that there are some items in the HCL policy that are also included in the SPPL policy.

Review of Current Draft Internet Policy
  1. Staff requests a beginning statement that includes a scope and purpose.
  2. Values/Principles: added a statement to show HCL as pro-active.
  3. Review of specific bullet items on pg. 1-3.
  4. Children & the Internet: review of King County document and recommend adaptations.
  5. Pointers for Parents: move to guidelines, as a separate issue.
  6. Access to chat rooms and e-mail: Some Library Board members recommended restrictions; C. Brown pointed out that the Job & Career Center needs e-mail access for applicants, he feels this is a community service, and recommended use of "discourage use of...." Language. Chat rooms for children should be encouraged through Kidlinks, not the general Internet access; P. Johnson addressed this request.
  7. Signage at terminals is important.
  8. Frequency of policy review by Library Board: review annually; Library Director will watch for major developments and alert the Library Board.
  9. Requiring parental permission for use of Internet was discussed (see notes below).
  10. Format of policy: introductory statement, values/principles, guidelines, children, revision, and addenda. Request was made to number the items rather than use bullets.

Parental Permission:
Topic was addressed by Gretchen Wronka who had prepared a database of research on libraries requiring permission approval. Issues brought up included: majority of Library Board does not support use of permission slips; permission slips are not required for library cards to restrict use.

Peggy Kelly made a motion approving the policy in concept (as discussed 12-16-98), pending legal review; seconded by Dick Mueller; motion passed unanimously.

Meeting was adjourned.

J. L. Zaragoza, Secretary