Editorial by the Plain Talk Gov. Mike Rounds, at first blush, appears to have stepped into the role of the little boy who discovered a leak in a dam and plugged it with his finger.
The boy, in this tale that we�re all familiar with, knew full well as he stopped that leak that he was committed to that task. No running off to play, or his town may be lost when the dam broke.
The boy was met with additional challenges. More leaks began appearing in the dam, making his presence there imperative, not to mention the use of all of his fingers and toes.
In mid-July, Rounds cut off access to the state library�s teen Web site because of his concerns over some of the content found on the site�s links. He said �some of the items found on those links are absolutely not appropriate for young teenagers.�
He�s received a fair share of criticism since then. He�s been called heavy-handed. Short-sighted. A censor.
We believe it�s safe to assume that Rounds knows full well that the Internet is ripe with objectionable material these days.
A teenager needn�t rely on the state library Web site to gain access to items deemed inappropriate. There are, no doubt, much more sexually explicit links on the Internet that teens may easily access.
Rounds apparently believes, however, that the state shouldn�t be in the business of providing inappropriate material to young people.
The governor wants the State Library Board to approach this issue in much the same way a parent would.
In other words, would parents object to the materials their children may access from a state Web site?
It�s not so much an issue of censorship.
Rounds is just asking the state to use some common sense.
It won�t be easy. Like the little boy with his finger in the dam, perseverance will be in demand.
The definition of what is appropriate is not always apparent. The Internet poses new challenges for the traditional role of librarians.
It also poses new challenges to our young people. Hopefully, those who have been critical of Rounds in the last month won�t lose sight of that.
Our hope is that these challenges will be met; and the state will ultimately provide material via its Web sites that are appropriate for our youth.
The Vermillion Plain Talk editorials reflect the opinion of Plain Talk editor David Lias. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org