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Should Public Libraries Allow Porn?

Petition at: http://www.change.org/petitions/should-public-libraries-allow-porn

I ask you this question:

“Should people be able to walk into a

public library, sit at a computer and access pornography?”

Boston Public Library - Dartmouth Street entrance

Boston Public Library – Dartmouth Street entrance

I use the Boston Public Library a lot – because I LOVE BOOKS – and there is no greater resource of free and accessible books easily available to me than at the Boston Public Library (BPL)…America’s oldest public library!

The BPL was established in 1848. According to Wikipedia, it is the first publicly supported municipal library in the U.S., the first large library open to the public in the United States and the first public library to let people borrow books and other materials and take them home to read and use.

Boston Public Library, Boylston Street entrance. The Boston Marathon ends here.

I walked into the BPL the day after the Boston Marathon, April 17… (the marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street is next to the BPL, by the way)…and was heading to the Romance Section (so I live vicariously through all these dashing Regency Heartthrobs, OK!) when I passed near the Open Access area with computers.

This is an OPEN area on the ground floor with banks of computers where library patrons can either sit and enjoy internet access for an hour at a time. a staffer told me a patron can ask for another half hour. Patrons can also stand at a bank of computers that allow access for 15 minutes at a time. You can log on again as often as you like if there are free computers.

Open Access computers (SEATED) with bank of computers where people STAND (right) and CORRIDOR in background)
Different view of Corridor with Open Access Computers to Left, showing how open area is…anyone can be passing/walking by.

Anyway, there was I, in a good mood: beautiful day in Boston, blue Caribbean sky, 70-degrees at least, Summer in the air in April and I’m heading to as choice of dashing heroes when I glance at a computer screen…

And a picture of a woman pops up on the wide screen – her legs spread out and she’s well…you know…having her own party! I felt a jolt/shock move through my body!

Heading to Romance Section hereabouts….

I’ve heard of people at libraries watching porn – I’ve never seen somebody at the library watching porn until now! In my head I go: “What?”

I turn to the library guard who is sitting at the library’s monitoring desk located at a slight angle over the shoulder of the guy watching the porn and I ask: “Do you see what he’s watching..?

The guard shrugs in resignation and grunts an acknowledgement…

Based on the position of the guard – HE TOO HAS TO BE SEEING WHAT THE GUY IS WATCHING. If I worked at the BPL I would not want to be sitting there monitoring the room and having to watch porn!

I talked to various library staffers, (staff do NOT seem to support the idea). Seems this ONE computer (below, with empty chair, for now) is left unblocked…and can be used to access porn.

I’m told at every BPL branch, ONE computer is left with unblocked/unfiltered internet access!

So I walk to the shelf where the romances are kept, basically in the SAME area but farther back and I look at the books, but I’m not focusing – I’m still churning inside over what I just saw – so I go look for a library person to say something, but I change my mind. I grab my selection, check it out and leave.

When I get outside, I meet a cop (one of many directing traffic ass workers dismantle the viewing stand over the marathon’s finish line) and decide to talk to him about what I saw.

I ask: “Is watching pornography allowed in the Boston Public Library? And the cop says: “YES”.

For the second time I go: “What?”

Cop says: “Allowed. Long s it’s NOT child porn!”

Different angle – looking TOWARDS where I was heading as I passed behind desk, when person was watching porn…

So anybody can walk into the Boston Public Library and sit at one of the computers in an OPEN area and watch porn to their heart’s content.

The BPL’s website lists a number of Principles:

IV) Center of Knowledge
The BPL is a center of knowledge that serves researchers, lifelong learners, and the intellectually curious through its incomparable collections, digital resources, and access to other scholarly networks.

Watching porn is very stimulating. Intellectually…

Courtyard

VIII) Fun
The BPL leads the way for people of all ages with recreational reading and media, invigorating programs, user-created content, and opportunities for discovery in settings that are stimulating and engaging.

More stimulation…? I think that’s enough – don’t you?

Now, hear me. I AM NOT A PRUDE. I not against porn. I’m not against people watching porn. I am even against people who choose to work in the porn industry.

But somehow, when I walk into the BPL, the first public library in America, I don’t want to see porn flashing on a screen. then I started thinking: what if it was a child, who was passing? These people are sitting in an OPEN area, where anybody can see what’s on their screen…

Shouldn’t the library BLOCK porn sites…!?

I tried once to access a web hosting site at the library – and that was blocked – but people can access porn?

Courtyard

Part of the library’s funding comes from the City/State.

According to the BPL website: The Boston Public Library Board of Trustees voted on March 13, 2012 to approve submission of the recommended FY13 Operating Budget to the City of Boston. The $40.2 million budget…

While the BPL Board of Trustees has approved this recommended budget, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is still in the early stages of budget development.  The Governor released his FY13 budget recommendation (H2) on January 25th and level-funded those line-items that impact the BPL, including the Library for the Commonwealth (LFC) at $2.75 million.

It is anticipated that the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee will release their FY13 budget recommendation in mid-April; The Senate’s Ways and Means Committee will follow with their recommendation in mid-May.

Variances in the respective House and Senate recommendations will be resolved in a joint conference committee and will result in the FY13 Conference Committee budget to be released in mid to late June.  Upon receipt of the FY13 Conference Committee budget, the  Governor will have 10 days to submit his vetoes.

Does Beacon Hill KNOW that patrons can access PORN at the BPL? Do they even care? Should they?

Governor Deval Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and Secretary Jay Gonzalez at a press conference announcing the Administrations Fiscal Year 2013 budget.

Does the governor KNOW he can veto the budget and voila, no porn?

What does the ACLU think? Do library patrons have a RIGHT to be able to access porn?

I don’t know…

I mean use the library’s internet services to access your email, job searches, newspapers and stores, etc…but PORN?

What so YOU think, America…?

BPL facade

Oh the irony! I am afraid, on my own computer at home, to watch porn. I was looking for a photo for one of my blog stories this week and I clicked on an image and some naked guys popped up. Now I can’t be a hypocritical Republican. I was, well…impressed. Very impressed. I wanted to keep on clicking. But I’m so afraid that Google is tracking me…and that if I ever run for PTA anything I will be exposed, that I gave it up…

And now I learn I can go to he BPL…

Yipee!

Take the poll: Click here:
Should people be able to access pornography at Public Libraries?

Of interest: 

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