Should Libraries Let People Look At Porn In The Open?

There is much discussion in the Seattle area today after a mom claims that while on a visit to her local library with her two young daughters, she spied a man viewing hardcore porn on a computer with a screen that was facing out to the rest of the library. And when she complained about it to the staff, she says her concerns were shrugged off.

From the letter sent to area bloggers by the mom:

I noticed that a man was watching hard core pornography (including anal penetration & other adult content) on a computer where the screen was facing out into the library. I told the librarian and asked for help in having him move to a more discreet location. She could see the screen from the information desk where we were standing and was sympathetic, but said that the library doesn’t censor content and they can’t be in the business of monitoring what their patrons are doing at any given computer. I then asked the man to please move to another computer. He declined. In the process of this interaction, I didn’t notice that my daughters had wandered over looking for me and one of them saw what was playing on the screen.

The mom says she’s all for the man’s right to look at whatever he wants to but feels there should be some consideration to “our right not to be inadvertent viewers.”

A rep for the Seattle Public Libraries confirmed the institution’s stance on the topic.

“We’re a library, so we facilitate access to constitutionally protected information,” the rep explains to SeattlePI.com. “We don’t tell people what they can view and check out … Filters compromise freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment. We’re not in the business of censoring information.”

The rep did say the library is working with the mom to figure out a possible solution — like reconfiguring certain sections of the building so that little children would not be inadvertently exposed to depictions of sodomy and other stuff they should learn about from magazines they swipe from their parents.


Seattle library lets man watch porn, despite complaint [SeattlePI.com]