Why I don’t want to work for the New York Public Library!

26 Apr

In case you hadn’t heard, watching porn is permitted at the New York Public Library. Yes folks, now there are roughly 200 public libraries in the New York area where you can definitely watch your favorite illicit acts without censor.

I am hugely opposed to censorship of almost any kind, but even I have my limits. I believe it is each parent’s responsibility to censor their children the way they deem appropriate. Libraries should not restrict materials based on questionable content, but advise parents that such materials do exist in the library because we don’t “ban” books.

However, allowing porn viewing in public is just plain ridiculous in my opinion.

One comment I read on one of the many articles about this new decision asked “If public nudity is against the law then how can public porn watching be allowed?!” Why indeed…

According to many of the sources found on this touchy topic, pornography is under the protection of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As long as the porn is legally made it can be legally viewed by adults in the library.

Even with all of that I still don’t quite understand how viewing it in a library, where children might be exposed to viewing it, can be not only allowed, but protected! As far as I know those websites require the viewer to be at least 18 of age (and in some states the age is 21). So if Joe Shmoe is watching “Dixie Does Trixie” at his local library and a child watches from behind him, isn’t that violating something?

The whole porn situation is incredibly complicated and sensitive, but I really don’t support this decision. It just opens up the doors to far too many issues.

I saw one commenter suggest having private kiosks in libraries so children wouldn’t be exposed to anything explicit, but honestly that is only one step away from the “viewing booths” for 25¢ that you see along the highway on the way out of town. And no library employee wants to be cleaning up those kind of sticky floors.

2 Responses to “Why I don’t want to work for the New York Public Library!”

  1. Monica November 23, 2011 at 3:05 am #

    Where did you get this information? According to their policies, the NYPL has filtering software on all internet ready computers to attempt to block out pornographic images, which suggests that they do not allow pornography to be viewed on their computers. http://www.nypl.org/help/computers-internet-and-wireless-access/a-safety-net-for-the-internet

    • LittleLitGirl November 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      Firstly this post if from April so it is entirely possible that the news coverage of this forced NYPL to change their policies, but further investigation doesn’t seem to indicate much change if any.

      Back in April this story was all over the internet. There were several sources I got my information from. Here are a few links to sources that I used back in April.
      New York Post: http://nypost.com/p/news/local/porn_ok_at_city_libraries_hSqZExlZstWZIzeNX47VCM
      CBS New York: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/04/25/watching-porn-at-nyc-libraries-is-ok-officials-say/
      United Press International: http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2011/04/26/New-York-library-Porn-is-free-speech/UPI-75361303803000/

      Also if you simply Google “NYPL porn” several other sources pop up immediately.

      I will admit that the Post has a reputation for sensationalism, but the article does include a quote from a NYPL spokesperson, ‘”In deference to the First Amendment protecting freedom of speech, the New York Public Library cannot prevent adult patrons from accessing adult content that is legal,” said New York Public Library spokeswoman Angela Montefinise.’ Another spokesperson is cited, ‘”Customers can watch whatever they want on the computer,” said Brooklyn Public Library spokeswoman Malika Granville.’

      Also, if you examine the policy you sited closely, you will see it says, “The Library cannot and does not guarantee that the filtering software will block all obscenity, child pornography, or materials that are harmful to minors.” Later on it also says, “In addition, any user who is 17 years of age or older may disable the filtering software in order to obtain unfiltered Internet access…“. These are very open ended polices that are put in place to protect the NYPL more than anything. They are practically saying, “We don’t really want people to watch porn, but can’t stop adults from doing so because of the First Amendment.”

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