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Coeur d'Alene Library faces challenge of filtering their Wi-Fi

Coeur d'Alene Library Director Bette Ammon said the library faces multiple challenges in trying to filter the Wi-Fi. She also said they don't receive state funding.

Bette Ammon's job is to be both the Coeur d'Alene Library Director and be a librarian, so you can understand that Bette Ammon is normally reserved by nature.

Her job is to run the library, and now, her and her staff also have to take on the task of figuring out how to filter the library's Wi-Fi.

"I guess I am outraged about that. That's my job," Ammon said.

This battle isn't new, and Ammon described the fact that its an ongoing issues as "frustrating."

The filter will need to be designed to to make sure people don't access inappropriate stuff, like pornography.

The to make sure people don't access inappropriate stuff, like pornography, which state law requires in order to protect minors.

But earlier this year, lawmakers in Boise passed a bill updating the law to say that Wi-Fi networks must also have a filter on them. That way, minors using laptops or smartphones won't be able to access lewd content using library Wi-Fi.

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Ammon said they haven't had any issues with that here.

"And I don't know of a problem in any other public library. It's a solution searching vainly for a problem," she said.

She said the bill doesn't make it clear how filtering WiFi is supposed to work or how staff will go about it.

Moreover, the Coeur d'Alene Library rents out Wi-Fi hotspots that users can take home. She's not sure how filtering internet on those would work, either.

"We have no way of overriding a filter that's on a Wi-Fi network. Patrons use the Wi-Fi here for a variety of reasons," Ammon said.

Ammon said this library doesn't receive state funding, so the measure is overreaching. 

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She's also concerned that trying to put filters on a Wi-Fi network could have unintended consequences.

"It's the freedom of information. It's the freedom to access information," Ammon said.

For now, the updated library internet law is set to take effect next July. In the meantime, Ammon said the library plans to host local lawmakers to explain their view on the issue.

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The following video is a report on a Coeur d'Alene artist turning a decaying tree into a library. 

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