Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sunshine Week: FOIA Libraries Where Library Patrons May Have Sexually Harassed Librarians

Sunshine Week 2019 is March 10-16.  Sexual Harassment of Librarians is participating in Sunshine Week as a way of encouraging people to file requests under open government laws for records related to the sexual harassment of librarians and library employees as caused by pornography-viewing patrons.  I'll give an example FOIA request below.

Times up for librarians too, but they fear speaking up because their own library association bullies them into silence for fear that negative publicity would harm library funding drives, such as #FundLibraries.

You see, the American Library Association [ALA] recommends policy that, when implemented in local libraries, facilitates pornography viewing despite the law.  To be clear, according to United States v. American Library Association, 539 U.S. 194 (2003), while there may be a First Amendment right to view pornography in the public square, that right does not extend to public libraries.  Were libraries to use Internet filters and keep them properly maintained, negative consequences of being the neighborhood free porn show would be precluded.  And so you know, the ALA-recommended solutions of privacy screens and moving the furniture only made the problems worse, the US v. ALA Court found.

ALA misleads librarians / governments / communities by saying only child pornography and obscenity is illegal (besides material harmful to minors), but only a judge can determine that, and only on a case by case basis of the multimillions of web sites available—completely ignoring that the issue is Internet porn in libraries, not what's already been asked and answered in older cases.  ALA even says librarians have never been sexually harassed nor will they ever be harassed by porn-viewing patrons since sexual harassment is supposedly so hard to prove.  So much for believe all women.  As a result, even in a #MeToo #TimesUp #BelieveAllWomen environment, many librarians still work in sexually hostile work environments.

Library covering up child porn viewing earns
"Intellectual Freedom" award.
ALA policy is so egregious that it even recommends covering up the viewing of child pornography.  When I and others revealed publicly where ALA made that guidance public, ALA simply replaced the page with an older version.  ALA appeared multiple times in a library that covered up that crime to support the cover up.  ALA even had the library that covered up child pornography awarded for protecting "intellectual freedom."  At a public awards ceremony to present the award to the library, ALA blocked from admittance the man who uncovered the crime with his friend even though he paid admittance fees.  ALA even mocked the man for being gay and questioned why a woman would let her small children around a gay man.  See, "Gay Hate @ Your Library," for which I was sued in federal court on advice of ALA to force me to censor my reporting on ALA's homophobia.  The library spent $480,000 fighting open records and open meetings laws!  An entire book was written about this debacle, and it could be considered the Bible of FOIA requests.

So below I present an example of the filing of a Freedom of Information Act request for information about the sexual harassment of librarians.  It is important I do this so others see how easy it is to do since I'm literally the only person making such requests on a national scale.

Notice I FOIA the city government, police, and the library itself as all may have relevant records, and cross checking all sources might provide the most accurate result, especially in an atmosphere where ALA advises libraries to destroy public records of such incidents, as you will see below.

Hat tip to National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) that provides a list of sample FOIA requests for various states.  Follow @NFOIC.

And if you are a sexually harassed librarian or library employee, see, "Librarians Report Sexual Harassment by Library Patrons Here."  Already reports are coming in and I'm investigating.

Happy Sunshine Week 2019!

Dear Records Custodian,

Under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to obtain copies of public records that provide any information in your possession about 1) the viewing of pornography/obscenity on Summit Public Library computers ( ), which may include Police Department records or records made by other municipal sections such as the Common Council and including the library and the library board itself, including 2) any responses made by anyone representing the library in any capacity, and 3) any records about how investigations of or related to the viewing of pornography / obscenity on said computers were thwarted in any way, including by library policies to delete public records in violation of public records retention laws, such as Internet browser histories that should be retained as public records and made available for legal police inspection, or by statements that First Amendment rights apply to the viewing of pornography / obscenity on said computers.  Finally, 4) provide any records about any sexual harassment in said library of any librarian, library employee, library manager, library trustee, library volunteer, etc., that is in any way related to the viewing of pornography / obscenity on said computers by anyone, including patrons and other librarians.  5) This OPRA request includes a request for any legal bills relating to any documents being produced under this request.  This OPRA request does not pertain to pornography / obscenity in printed paper form unless said form resulted from print out obtained by the viewing of pornography / obscenity on said computers.

I have learned that there have been at least two of such incidents of the viewing of pornography / obscenity on computers at said library.  One incident included a young child viewing pornography being viewed by an adult.  I have further learned that said library falsely excused such viewing as a First Amendment right, thereby inducing police to stop investigating further.  There is no such right ever since United States v. American Library Association, 539 U.S. 194 (2003). ( )

If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me if the cost will exceed $20.  However, I would also like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of how libraries mislead the public with false claims of a First Amendment right to view pornography on public library computers, thereby harming communities, including employees who serve the community.  For example, librarians are exposed to sexually hostile work environments; patrons including children are exposed to obscenity, and libraries, library managers, library trustees, and municipalities may be guilty of 2C:34-4, “Public communication of obscenity,” since they know there is no First Amendment right to view obscenity (defined in 2C:34-2) on computers in public libraries yet say there is or that there’s nothing they can do about it and enable such activity that harms librarians and patrons and exposes the library and the municipality to liability.  Having a public policy that expressly disclaims liability for both the library and the municipality for harm caused by the viewing of obscenity ( ) does not negate the law.  

Such information as I uncover under this OPRA request will be published by me on my SafeLibraries publication or my Sexual Harassment of Librarians publication, depending on what is found, as I am a representative of the news media and my request is for news gathering purposes.  Indeed, I am the only source for sexually harassed librarians—by patrons viewing pornography / obscenity on computers—to speak out publicly yet anonymously ( ) since the American Library Association repeatedly states such incidents never happen—since it is ALA policy guidance that public libraries follow that largely causes the problem in the first place.  That policy guidance is applied in Summit: “The Summit Free Public Library adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom, adopted by the American Library Association, as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements.” ( and which incorrectly states, “The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” ever since United States v. American Library Association cited above that expressly sets public libraries apart from other public fora. )

Such incidents usually go unreported in the media so my request is all the more significant.  Indeed I could find no media reports on any such incident in the library, yet here is a desperate mother who tried to bring attention to the issue:  “New Jersey State Legislature: Pass a law making it illegal to display obscene material to a minor” (

Any information I uncover via this OPRA request is not being sought for commercial purposes.
The New Jersey Open Public Records Act requires a response time of seven business days.  If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than this amount of time, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.
If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.

I ask that you send the requested documents in PDF format so they may be easily attached to an email, with the exception of photographs (that should be JPEG), audio files (that should be MP3), and video (that should be MP4 or MOV video files). If the document files are too large to transmit in one single email, I authorize you to transmit them to me either via a free file sharing service such as DropBox or via multiple emails (as many as required to send all of the documents requested). 

Where emails are involved, also provide the BCC as well as the CC and the TO. As you may know, BCC is for the convenience of the sender, not for circumventing public information laws. If senders / recipients include distribution lists, then please provide the document that lists the individual recipient email addresses in any distribution list; again, distribution lists are for the convenience of the sender, not for circumventing the law. 

Further, if any public business has been conducted via the use of personal emails, then please provide those emails as well. Conducting public business on personal emails is not a valid means for circumventing OPRA.  I have previously obtained emails written from personal email addresses, such as when the now Acting Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom ordered librarians to destroy public records precisely to hide them from open government record requests: “Subject: URGENT -­ must delete all documents related to 17 Dec crisis communications workshop .… Remove these from your servers today and destroy hard copies. This is an attempt by two individuals to obtain privileged information …. we cannot allow anything from 17 Dec to be produced in response to FOIA.” ( )

Any document written or recorded is included as well. That includes voice mails, audio recordings, transcripts or minutes of any public portion of any public meeting.

Thank you for considering my request.

The Sunshine Week logos and icon are federally registered trademarks owned by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE).  ASNE allows interested individuals or groups to use these logos subject to a limited, non-transferrable, royalty free, revocable, nonexclusive license in any medium, subject to various licensing terms to which Sexual Harassment of Librarians adheres.

Follow @SunshineWeek.

"Sunshine Week: FOIA Libraries Where Library Patrons May Have Sexually Harassed Librarians," by Dan Kleinman, Sexual Harassment of Libraries, 10 March 2019.

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