A friend of mine used to be the library director in a small town in Illinois. There was one little girl, Rebecca, that just couldn't get her books back on time. She was a bright, sweet child, and stopped by the library almost daily. And every day, at least one librarian would remind her, "Rebecca, you've got a book due tomorrow. Don't forget."
But she always did. Every book she checked out, she brought back late. That meant Rebecca had to pay overdue fines.
My grandfather was, I now realize, a Freethinker. The American Heritage Dictionary defines the term as follows: "one who has rejected authority and dogma, especially in his religious thinking, in favor of rational inquiry and speculation."
Granddad's favorite period in history was the American Revolution, and his favorite person in that period was Thomas Paine, author of "Common Sense," and "The Age of Reason." I recommend both of these books, by the way - Paine still has the power to infuriate and challenge, way more than any newspaper columnist today.
State Representative Tim Fritz (R-Loveland) has recently introduced House Bill 1376. This bill mandates the use of "electronic protection measures" - commonly known as filtering software - on all Internet terminals that can be used by minors. It also allows for the disabling of that software, whether for adults or for children, if, in the opinion of the librarian, the person is doing "bona fide or legitimate research."
The Colorado Library Association is opposed to this bill. Here's why.
First, we're doing a great deal about this issue right now.
Technology can be worrisome. My grandmother worried about her daughter on the telephone. Who knew what she'd hear?
My mother worried about my sister in her friends' cars. Who knew where they'd go?
My wife worries about my daughter's use of the Internet. Who knows what she'll see?
And as everyone remembers from their own childhood, you did indeed hear things, go places, and see things you know your parents didn't want you to.