The First Amendment Right to Receive Online Information in Public Libraries

Document Type


Presentation Date

Summer 5-28-2011

Conference Name

International Communication Association

Conference Location

Boston, MA


During the Great Recession, libraries have seen an increase in the number of Internet patrons. The public library’s mission is to support intellectual freedom and to provide open access to all patrons. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the First Amendment right to receive information and applied that right to two cases involving libraries. However, in 2003, the Court failed to address this right to receive and ignored precedent when it upheld the Children’s Internet Protection Act, which mandated that libraries receiving federal funding install Internet filters on computers. Nearly a decade later, filtering software remains imprecise. The CIPA cannot do what Congress expected of it and continues to interfere with the First Amendment right of patrons to receive online information in libraries.


First Amendment, library, libraries, Internet, filter, children, minors, CIPA


Communications Law

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