Do you like playing "direct-shooter" video games?
Well, whatever they are, you can't play them at the Paterson Free Public Library in New Jersey anymore. Prompted by a petition from library staff members, the library's board voted last month to ban the play of such games on computers at its facilities.
“We felt we should do everything we can to prevent our kids from learning these behaviors,’’ said library board member Irene Sterling.
“We feel a responsibility to the kids of the community,’’ said the library’s director, Cindy Czesak.
Don't agree? Neither does the National Coalition Against Censorship who last Friday sent a letter to the N.J. library criticizing its new policy. The letter reads in part:
It is no more acceptable for a library to ban access to certain kinds of video games than it would be to selectively remove other lawful materials. Library patrons,including young people, have a First Amendment right to make their own decisions about literature, art, informational materials, and entertainment without having those choices limited by the subjective views of library officials. Library officials attempt to justify their decision by claiming that they are acting in parens patriae.
However, librarians are not baby-sitters, and they have no way to know that their views correspond with those of parents or guardians. Moreover, the policy apparently applies to patrons of all ages, including adults and minors who are accompanied by an adult.
You can read the entire letter here. It is also signed by The Center for Democracy and Technology, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers and The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen