Porn Allowed to be Watched at LA County Libraries

Fort Worth Library public computers (note area...

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A man watching porn online at a Los Angeles library sparked a major First Amendment right’s debate leading to the L.A. City Council approving porn to be viewed in the city’s libraries.

The L.A. City Council voted against installing porn-filtering software for the 72 branches within the public library system on Tuesday April 26, 2011. City libraries will make computer monitors more difficult to be seen by “moving computers to [areas] where they cannot easily be seen by someone standing behind” computer users and installing dark “privacy screens.”

“If we could maintain the level of privacy without compromising security, I think we’ll find a win-win where no one can sue the city for violating their First Amendment rights,” said Councilman Ed Reyes, a member of the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee. “At the same time, we have to be cognizant that there are certain characters that don’t have the best judgement in their behavior around children, around families in our libraries.”

“The library system receives two to three reports per year of Angelenos using computers to look at porn,” said City Librarian Martin Gomez.

Martin Gomez described “the incident at the Chinatown Public Library” in detail to council members “when patrons told librarians that adults and children waiting in line to check out books could see an individual viewing Adult Entertainment content on a computer.”

Even though library patrons can view porn they aren’t allowed to watch child porn, porn with minors under 17, or “engage with other patrons while viewing pornographic material.”

The debate over watching porn in public libraries is a huge across the states. In New York it has reached fever pitch. The faith-based group, Morality in Media, has called for New York Public Libraries to block porn stating “allowing patrons to watch internet porn on library computers is illegal.”

“There is no First Amendment problem in blocking porn at libraries. They have an obligation to protect children from pornography,” said Patrick A. Trueman, president and CEO of Morality in Media.

New York Public Library officials understand that seeing porn being watched by another patron maybe offensive however it’s a right protected by the First Amendment.

“Customers can watch whatever they want on the computer,” said Brooklyn Public Library spokeswoman Malika Granville.

In April a library patron waiting to use a computer at the Brooklyn Public Library punched out another patron he saw watching porn. The attacker was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, and harassment.

Will Los Angeles and New York’s policies set precedence in other states like in Washington where library patrons are kicked out for watching porn.

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2 Comments

Filed under The Written Word

2 responses to “Porn Allowed to be Watched at LA County Libraries

  1. it is a library … a place for books… if you want to get hard, go to a orn shop and buy a damn video …

    • Victor Yates, writer

      i actually used to work at a library and when we had someone looking at porn we’d politely hand them our policy. each time out of embarassment they’d leave

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