Mainstream Loudoun v. Board of Trustees of the Loudoun County case brief summary (1998)
b. Facts: P allege that D internet policy impermissibly blocks their access to protected speech sites
i. Analogy: D’s liken the internet to a vast interlibrary loan system, and contend that restricting internet access to selected materials is merely a decision not to acquire such materials rather than a decision to remove them from a library’s collection.
ii. Analogy: P’s analogize the internet to a set of encyclopedias, and the Library Board’s enactment of the Policy to a decision to “black out” selected articles considered inappropriate for adult and juvenile patrons.
1. D has misconstrued the nature of the internet. By purchasing internet access, each library has made all internet publications accessible to its patrons. Thus it is unlike ILL b/c they don’t have spend time or resources getting the materials – once they purchased the internet they purchased the whole thing
iii. Thus, the Pico plurality opinion is relevant and applies to the Library Board’s decision to promulgate and enforce the Policy
1. Pico stands for the proposition that the First Amendment applies to, and limits, the discretion of a public library to place content-based restrictions on access to constitutionally protected materials within its collection.
a. However, the factors which justified giving high school libraries broad discretion to remove materials in Pico are not present in this case, b/c no curricular motive justifies a public library’s decision to restrict access to internet materials on the basis of their content.
iv. Thus, the Library Board may not adopt and enforce content-based restrictions on speech absent a compelling state interest and means narrowly drawn to achieve that end.
v. NOTE: Essentially, this court’s ruling applies to library removal decisions, but not necessarily to library acquisition decisions.