Library Complaint and Censorship Records (Essex County Correctional Facility Library)

Chris Peterson filed this request with the Essex County Correctional Facility Library of Essex County, MA.
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From: Chris Peterson

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Massachusetts Public Records Law (M. G. L. Chapter 66, Section 10) for a copy of the following records:

Copies of written and electronic complaints and challenges for removal, reclassification, or other reconsideration of publications including books, magazines, movies, websites (e.g. filtered from library computers), or other media from January 1, 2010, to present, as well as records, petitions, and correspondence related to these challenges.

We seek such records as, for example, are classified by the Massachusetts’ Supervisor of Public Records Municipal Records Retention Manual under Section 17.004: Complaint and Censorship Records, though we do not limit our request to those so classified.

According to 950 CMR 32.06(5), every custodian of records is encouraged to waive fees where disclosure would benefit the public interest, as we believe these will. This request is part of a research project by the Center for Civic Media to better understand how and why library materials are challenged in the State of Massachusetts. We are committed to open access and plan to make our findings broadly available to the public. If fees cannot be waived please inform me in advance.

We ask that, if possible, you please respond via email with text documents or clear, high-quality scanned PDFs. If you cannot reply electronically, please mail us the best quality copies you reasonably can. Your efforts helps us ensure broad accessibility and equity.

The statute requires your response to this request within 10 business days. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in helping us better understand this important aspect of the work that you do. Please feel free to email me directly if you have any further questions.


- Chris Peterson
Research Assistant
Center for Civic Media
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on March 12, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Catherine Moore

2013 April 4
Your initial request was forwarded to Deputy Jason Faro on March 19th after I realized the email was not spam. The facility had received a notice March 5th that spam might be seen. I have forwarded your follow-up request to him as well.

From: Jay Faro

Hi Chris,

Would you be so kind as to provide me with a contact number as to gain some clarification regarding your request. Thank you.

From: Catherine Moore

2013 April 4
Is there a telephone number at which you can be reached? Deputy Faro would like to discuss with you your request.

From: Essex County Correctional Facility Library

Hi Chris,

Thank you for the call yesterday. As discussed we do have some policy requirements in terms of materials that inmates have access to. Largely, these restrictions center around items that are pornographic in nature or that would potentially threaten the security of the institution. However, I have not nor the library received any grievances or complaints within the realm of censorship or restrictions on literature or books. I hope this explanation fulfills what you are looking for. Any other questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you.


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