ACLU Sued Library for Not Allowing Online Porn

Can't get online porn at your local library? That's censorship, according to the ACLU, who is suing a Washington state library district:

If you log on to a computer at the Wenatchee public library and type "porn" into the search engine, the list of results will appear as if porn doesn't exist.

The North Central Regional Library District banned pornography from its computers. The censorship also means other websites are blocked. The board decided it's a matter of a safe work environment and its responsibility to the public.

"We believe having pornography in public places hurts our ability to accomplish our mission," said Dan Howard, director of public services.

But not all libraries ban porn:

... despite repeated complaints from women about men watching porn in full view of their children, the Seattle Public Library held fast to its policy of unrestricted online access for adults, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

The paper says the King County Library System has a similar policy: it only filters kids' access on computers. The American Library Association endorses the same stance.

"Sometimes, in a library, you're going to see information that's going to make you uncomfortable," Barbara Jones, director of the association's intellectual freedom office, told radio station KUOW Wednesday.

What do you think, Neatoramanauts? Should porn be banned in taxpayer-supported public libraries? Is now allowing online porn to be viewed by adults in a library a form of censorship or just common sense?

(Photo: Shutterstock)


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wow. this is just beyond words. I hope the aclu has to pay out the butt for legal fees with they (god willing) loose this ridiculous suit.
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I'll say this straight up - I'm opposed to public libraries allowing access to porn. I'm probably considered "conservative", so keep that in mind if you feel like arguing against me for below.

That said, I work for an organization who supports a public library, and they allow this. They even have people who will use the library printers, for a nominal fee, for this purpose.

The basis of the argument is that this behavior is protected by 1st amendment rights. They're not allowed/supposed to censor anything. That includes porn. Certain types of porn, of course, is clearly defined illegal, so there's no way even the 1st amendment can protect that.

You can't have it both ways. You can't prohibit people from accessing porn while permitting other types of "morally questionable" material. I hope people here are familiar with the issues around books like "Catcher in the Rye" and so forth. With the exception of that material which is clearly illegal, who is the person to make the judgement on whether the porn is morally offensive? Some people might consider even relatively benign material, like lingerie catalogs, to be morally objective.
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It might technically be called censorship, but in this case I would let common sense prevail.

Unless you wanna argue that bums in the street with no home or any possessions also have a right to online porn.
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People love to hate the ACLU but for some reason fail to Google before making a post, or commenting. Get the facts right. Here:

"The lawsuit in Wenatchee by the American Civil Liberties Union alleges that the library district improperly censors Internet access in an overbroad way. The ACLU suit was brought in 2006 “on behalf of a college student who was prevented from researching for a paper on youth tobacco use, an artist who couldn't look at sites of art galleries and artwork, a political group whose publication ‘Women and Guns’ was blocked, and a man who wanted to update his MySpace page,” the nonprofit advocacy group said in a statement."

http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/03/10309475-libraries-struggle-with-issue-of-internet-access-and-porn
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Libraries should not impede access to knowledge, within legal bounds. There are obscenity laws to deal with anyone immoral enough to view porn in a public place.

It does illustrate the shifting role of libraries over the past century or so. From their inception, libraries were a place where members of a community could find an expansion of their world and a broadening of views. But somewhere between the advent of radio and the proliferation of the internet, the library came to be a shelter from the big bad world outside, a refuge.

Not sure whether libraries should embrace or fight that role.
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