The North Central Regional Library, headquartered in Wenatchee, is heading back to Federal Court on October 25, 2011 for oral argument on summary judgment motions in light of the ruling in favor of the library by the Washington State Supreme Court.
The 5 county rural library district is defending itself in a case brought against it by the Seattle based ACLU. The library’s 28 branches use an internet filter to meet federal requirements and make collection decisions about internet content. The library filters the internet narrowly including pornography and gambling categories. The library uses the filter as a first line of defense in controlling illegal internet activity. The ACLU wants the library to remove the filter.
According to Dean Marney, Director, “If we take the filter off there is nothing between us and someone who wants to use a library computer to access child pornography or other illegal and inappropriate material. We are a publicly funded institution. Our mission is to promote reading and lifelong learning. It is crazy to think that we should be required to use tax dollars to allow open access to internet pornography or to become illegal casinos. Removing the filter is unfair to the people who support our community libraries, jeopardizes the safety of kids, and creates a hostile environment for our patrons and employees.”
The North Central Regional Library district is the largest library district in the state serving Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, and Okanogan counties.
Dean Marney, Director
The North Central Regional Library (NCRL) received a $35,000.00 grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to expand its Columbia River Reads program directed to teens. NCRL will use the funds to bring Newbery Award winning author Avi to 20 additional high schools and middle schools in 2011 and 2012. The award is part of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation’s new “Making Connections” initiative which is intended to help strengthen the relationship between libraries and the communities they serve.
Since 2003, NCRL’s Columbia River Reads program has promoted reading among teens by bringing famous authors to schools. NCRL makes many copies of the featured book available its branch libraries and at schools. For example, over 200 copies of Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” were delivered to Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee in 2008 so that every sophomore could read the book. Over 800 people attended Mr. Alexie’s program in Wenatchee. In 2010, author Gordon Korman visited middle schools in Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Mattawa, Moses Lake, East Wenatchee, Omak, and Okanogan, and Waterville to discuss his book “Schooled.”
NCRL Director of Public Services Dan Howard said, “We are thrilled and humbled by the generosity of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. This program has been very effective in getting teenagers excited about reading books. That’s not something that happens every day. Children in our rural areas don’t often get to see successful local authors like Sherman Alexie in person and when they do, it makes a big impression. This grant will double the impact of this program.”
NCRL has benefitted from other recent gifts as well. Just over $3,500.00 from the Ferne Daniel Designated Fund will be used to purchase books for the Ephrata Library. Memorial funds related to Henry Monroe and John E. Hayes will provide about $2,500.00 each to purchase books for the Moses Lake Library. Memorial funds from Anne L. Simpson provide about $15,000.00 annually for books at the Leavenworth, Cashmere, and Peshastin Libraries. Dr. Lawrence Schrader and Dr. Elfriede Massier of Wenatchee donated $1,000.00 to NCRL’s defense fund to support the library in its ongoing federal lawsuit related to the library’s restricting access to pornography on the internet.
The North Central Regional Library (NCRL) has created its first infomercial to promote a new early reading program, Links to Literacy. The video can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhtBugKR_AM and is accessible on the library’s website (www.ncrl.org). Links to Literacy is a program designed to teach children the early literacy skills necessary to learn to read. It replaces Every Child Ready to Read @ your library as the foundation of the library’s early literacy efforts. Created by Kaplan Early Learning Company, NCRL adapted Links to Literacy to its children’s storytimes. Links to Literacy is based on National School Readiness Standards and is aligned with the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework. The program teaches 6 fundamental skills: Language Development, Book Knowledge and Appreciation, Phonological Awareness, Print Awareness, Alphabet Recognitions, and Early Writing.
The video is confidently narrated by Angela Morris, NCRL’s Children’s Services Manager and features storytimes presented by Brianna Springer and Rhonnie Craven. The video shows kids having fun while learning to read. Brianna and Rhonnie are clearly having fun too. The video was created by Howell at the Moon Productions of Wenatchee, Washington. NCRL commissioned Erik Brooks, a gifted local children’s author/illustrator to create related graphics. Brooks created a playful Library Lynx character reading scary pirate stories and hair raising adventure tales. NCRL Director of Public Services Dan Howard said, “’Every Child Ready to Read @ your library’ was an OK program, but it was designed to teach parents and other adults to teach children early literacy skills. We had to adapt it to our storytimes. We’re excited to have found a program designed specifically to these skills to young children. Our storytime programs are still a lot of fun and now we teach early reading skills better than ever.”
NCRL is pleased with the Supreme Court's decision validating our approach to Internet filtering. We embrace the Internet as a resource and encourage its use by all patrons. NCRL will continue to provide broad access to a wealth of rich and diverse online content consistent with our Collection Development policy and our mission to promote reading and lifelong learning.
More generally, we are heartened by the Court's acknowledgement of the multi-faceted role many public libraries must perform today. In fulfilling its role, NCRL must balance many important interests, some borne of tradition and some arising as a consequence of an increasingly complex world. First and foremost, NCRL is a traditional, full service library serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Ferry, and Okanogan Counties. We must consider the diverse needs of all our patrons, adults and children alike, in shaping our print and online collections. We strive to offer resources of depth, breadth, and quality yet we must do so within ever-tightening budget constraints. We also provide vital support to public schools throughout the region, including services that in some instances children might go without were it not for NCRL. We also have important workplace and safety responsibilities to our staff and our patrons. We are gratified to know that the highest Court in our State understands the context in which NCRL operates and the discretion we must exercise to perform our essential functions.
Please contact NCRL's Executive Director Dean Marney, or NCRL's attorney Thomas D. Adams, with any questions.
Dean Marney, Director
North Central Regional Library
16 N. Columbia
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Thomas D. Adams
KARR TUTTLE CAMPBELL
1201 3rd Avenue, Suite 2900
Seattle, Washington 98101