Chesterton Tribune

Porn, guns and aliens, Library Board gets a dose of social issues

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Whatís the difference between artistic images, sexually explicit images and child pornography?

Westchester Public Library is developing a procedural guide to help employees determine when an illegal activity is taking place using public WPL computers.

Director Phil Baugher told the Library Board on Thursday that last week two staff members observed a patron viewing what they believed to be child pornography; the patron was banned from the library and the incident immediately reported to police.

Baugher said while a patronís circulation records are considered confidential, the history of their public computer use is not.

Viewing artistic images in the library is acceptable, he noted, but viewing sexually explicit images is not if employees find it to be sexually harassing to them creating a hostile work environment. Child pornography is illegal and not acceptable under any circumstance, Baugher stated.

ďWeíre working on language so staff knows how to respond when they see it. We need to define the parameters,Ē he added.

Also Thursday, WPL is reviewing its policies regarding two new state laws on the books. Senate Enrolled Act 590 mandates Hoosier libraries be sure their contracts for services require the contractor to utilize the E-Verify program to confirm unauthorized aliens are not employed by them.

Senate Enrolled Act 292 bans libraries from creating or enforcing rules that prohibit someone who legally owns a registered firearm from bringing the weapon onto library property; any existing such policies become void. However, libraries can prohibit/restrict their employees regarding possession of a firearm while on duty.

ďThis really seems much ado about nothing. Do people routinely carry guns into the library?Ē asked Library Board president Claire Jolie. Male board members present said more persons carry guns than one might think.

In other business, Baugher announced WPL has nominated assistant director Jane Walsh-Brown, also curator of the WPL-operated Westchester Township History Museum, for both the Indiana Library Federation lifetime achievement award and the Hawkins history award from the Indiana Historical Society. Walsh-Brown is retiring at yearís end.

WPLís received six applications for the professional librarianís position being vacated by her and 17 for the position of museum curator.

Baugher said heís received tentative information about the financial fallout for WPL from Burns Harborís proposed tax abatement for ArcelorMittal. ďItís still pretty vague. We just donít know what the impact will be.Ē WPL has $7 million in all funds, much of it being saved for a likely future addition to Thomas Library in Chesterton.

In June circulation at Thomas was down 7.6 percent compared to last year, much of which Baugher attributed to a heat wave and the prolonged closure of nearby Calumet Road. Circulation also was down 5.3 percent for Hageman Library in Porter. Year-to-date WPLís circulation of 189,028 items is a dip of just under 2 percent.

The Library Board opened the meeting by welcoming newest member Michele Corazzo, recently appointed by the Duneland School Board to complete the remaining nine-month term of John Corso, who resigned. Also introduced was new minutes recorder Christine Hoover.



Posted 7/15/2011