Internet Filtering

The Sierra Vista Public Library values free and equal access to information, even when that information may be controversial, unorthodox or unacceptable to others. With its implementation of filtering software, the Sierra Vista Public Library balances its commitment to customers’ diverse interests and individual rights with the need to comply with federal and state laws intended to protect minors from content that could be harmful or obscene.

Q:  Why do Sierra Vista Public Library computers have filtering software?
A:  Arizona Revised Statutes 34-501 and 34-502 mandates Internet access be filtered for minors. It requires that public libraries that provide public access the Internet “deploy and enforce a technology protection measure to prevent minors from gaining access to visual depictions that are child pornography, harmful to minors or obscene.” Additionally it requires libraries to “deploy and enforce a technology protection measure to prevent anyone from gaining access to visual depictions that are child pornography or obscene.” (ARS 34-502)


Q:  What sites are filtered?
A:  The filtering software blocks sites that depict child pornography (ARS 13-3553), material harmful to minors (ARS 13-3501), and obscene material (20 United States Code section 9101).


Q:  How does Sierra Vista Public Library’s filtering software work?
A:  The filtering software blocks sites that depict pornography, child pornography or obscenity.


Q:  Who decides which sites should be blocked?
A:  The Leisure & Library Services Director selects the categories of websites to block as defined by the vendor of the filtering software. Currently, the only categories selected are ‘Adult Content,’ ‘Nudity’, and ‘Pornography.’


Q:  Will children be safer using filtered Internet access?
A:  That is the goal. However, no filtering software is totally accurate, nor is it a substitute for parental judgment and oversight. The Sierra Vista Public Library believes that the reading and viewing activity of children is ultimately the responsibility of parents who guide and oversee their own children’s development. The Sierra Vista Public Library does not intrude on that relationship, except when mandated by law.


Q:  Will objectionable material based on hate or violence be blocked?
A:  No.


Q:  Will information on health and sexuality be blocked?
A:  The filtering software is designed to block images and videos that depict pornography, child pornography or obscenity, not medical information or information on sexuality. However, there may be instances where information has been inappropriately blocked.

If this happens, please complete the Request for Reconsideration of Access to a Web Site form. Sierra Vista Public Library staff will evaluate the request and if deemed appropriate, will unblock the website. The customer will then be notified of the decision within five business days.


Q:  Does the Sierra Vista Public Library filter social networking sites such as Facebook or blogs?
A:  No.


Q:  How can customers request that a site be permanently unblocked?
A:  Customers may complete and submit a Request for Reconsideration of Access to a Web Site form. Sierra Vista Public Library staff will evaluate the request and if appropriate, will unblock the website. The customer will then be notified of the decision within five business days.


Q:  Can the filters be turned off?
A:  The filter will be disabled only if the blocked site is appropriate for viewing in a public space and the site has been reviewed in compliance with our review process. The staff will evaluate the request and notify you within five business days.


Q:  Will the wireless Internet connection be filtered?
A:  Yes. Filtering software is deployed for both wired and wireless Internet access.