Library Complaint and Censorship Records (Whitman Public Library)

Chris Peterson filed this request with the Whitman Public Library of Whitman, MA.


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

From: Andrea Rounds

Mr. Chris Peterson
Center for Civic Media
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dear Mr. Peterson,

The Whitman Public Library has not had any physical materials in our
collection challenged in the time period you referenced.

We did have one petition from a patron to filter explicit websites at our

The Trustees of the Whitman Public Library voted unanimously to reject the
use of web filtering software at their 8/4/12 meeting. I am attaching the
minutes of that meeting and the response we sent to the patron regarding
the decision not to use web filtering software.

Please note that the PDF file attached includes some blank pages, this is
due to a technical glitch here on my end. There are 3 pages of text and
they are accounted for in the scan.

Best of luck with your inquiry.


Andrea Rounds

Andrea Rounds

Whitman Public Library
100 Webster Street
Whitman, MA 02382



You see, I don't believe that libraries should be drab places where people
sit in silence, and that's been the main reason for our policy of employing
wild animals as librarians.*
— *Monty Python*