Madison County Library to filter adult content on library computers

Posted 1/28/20

The Madison County Library will install new internet filtering software on its public access computers to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)and retain the federal E-Rate discount that steeply discounts the fees for high-speed internet.

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Madison County Library to filter adult content on library computers

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The Madison County Library will install new internet filtering software on its public access computers to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)and retain the federal E-Rate discount that steeply discounts the fees for high-speed internet.

The library previously monitored users of the computers the old-fashioned way.

“Honestly, we just used our keen sense of observation the last 20 years,” said librarian Veronica Grooms.

Madison County Commissioners approved the purchase and annual fees for the new software at their regular meeting Monday. Once purchased and installed, the library will pay CertNet Solutions an $250 annual fee.

Preserving the E-Rate discount was a priority for the library, Grooms told commissioners. The federal program pays for 80 percent of internet access fees, or about $8,000 per year, she said. The library still pays AT&T approximately $2,000 a year for internet.

“Also, we used to get about 6 [megabits per second download speed]. Now it’s 95 [megabits per second.]”

E-Rate is the commonly used name for the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission. The program provides discounts to assist schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access.

To qualify for E-Rate, libraries must have a compliance policy with CIPA – also approved by Commissioners Monday – and software to block obscene material under the three-pronged “Miller Test” that stemmed from the 1973 Miller vs. California Supreme Court case.

Commissioners also approved an agreement with Avenu Government Record Services to put county deed and official public records online under a system that allows records to be viewed, but not printed, at no cost.

In late December, Madisonville Cemetery Association president Clark Osborne had asked commissioners for such a system, known as a watermark, to facilitate searches of plot

ownership. Under the current system, it costs $1 per page to view deed records remote from the county clerk’s office. Deed records at the clerk’s office are free to view on site, though it costs $1 per page to get copies.

Osborne asked commissioners to consider setting up a log-in so that he can search records even when the clerk’s office is closed.

Commissioners also heard from a members of the Madison County Beef Forage Committee – Kevin Counsil, Ernie Albers and Marguerite Lohmann – about concerns over a rising feral hog population in the county. The trio asked Commissioners to look into launching a program to control feral hogs, which they said are destroying resources needed for cattle ranching.

According to letter members delivered to commissioners, “[Feral hogs] root up and tear up land literally overnight causing devastating damage. Their rooting up and eating vegetation can also damage our ranch equipment.

“Damage to fence lines, weakened wire, and posts also affect our livestock operations. They also destabilize wetland areas, springs, creeks and tanks by excessive rooting and wallowing.”

Counsil suggested a plan similar to an existing county plan to control fire ants.

“The hogs are as bad as fire ants,” he said. “And maybe worse.”

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