Porn in US libraries

In the age of the Internet, not many of us have the need to go the library any more. But these places have not been forgotten by everyone - there’s more than enough “action” going on there, causing a major public debate.

­Get the kids away from your screens – RT goes among the book shelves to discover what some patrons have really been up to.

A library is a place of serenity and peaceful contemplation, but if only walls could talk. Lust has been filling these silent rooms – browsing porn online in public libraries is legal in the US.

“I am not really sure what to think. I do believe that people have the right to do whatever they want. But then library has the right to do or not to do whatever they want, and to provide or not provide whatever service they want,” said actress and model Cami Parker.

Some of these services are causing a public outcry.

Locally across America, Internet policies at libraries may differ, but one thing a library can’t do is put a ban on perusing pornography – this is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Only federally-funded libraries must use filters to block adult content such as child porn or obscenity – to protect children from seeing it. Apart from that, anything else goes.

 “All adults who have library cards have the option to remove Internet filters to view anything they want. But if what they are seeing is disturbing to another library patron, the library staff will ask them to remove it from the screen,”
said Joanne King, Associate Director of Communications, at the Queens Public Library.

Locations are plenty – just in the Big Apple there are 200 public libraries that with a push of the right button let the imaginations of its patrons run wild. For some the inconveniences are technical.

“Library speeds are so slow. Have you ever used a library computer? They have the world’s slowest connection. It would take an hour and a half to watch a 3 minute porn clip,” said editor of crushable.com Lilit Marcus.

To others it’s the public aspect that’s bothersome – they want users to take the fun home.

“I don’t watch porn unless I am with a girl who is in the porn, that’s my policy. But i think if you’re going to allow this to happen, then you have to have a private setting. I don’t want to walk by somebody watching porn,”
said brothel owner and entrepreneur Dennis Hof.

Some city officials and concerned citizens want the perusal banned.

“It’s gross and filthy. You can’t do that in public places where there are kids. People go there to do regular day to day activities, it’s just not right,” said one New Yorker.

The fact that a library is a public place is keeping some up at night. Not watching erotic movies – but in horror.

“You can make the same argument about masturbation. Everyone does it, but you don’t necessarily want to watch other people doing it. When it comes to pornography, that’s generally sort of its purpose,” said executive editor at the Raw Story Megan Carpentier.

Civil rights advocates, attorneys and freethinkers say constitutional rights can’t be touched.

“If I am at the library and I am using a computer, and the person next to me is reading a website that politically is the complete opposite of what I believe, may be I find that offensive – let’s ban everything,” joked Lilit Marcus.

At a rally against library budget cuts, some book-lovers insist that pornography can have an educational purpose.

“Adult Internet sites should not be banned from public libraries because they do help in the understanding and the biology of the human body,” explained one library worker to RT.

Activist Paul Schupert has formed his opinion from personal experience.

 “I, as an adult, have visited some of these sites, and they have no educational value at all. A library is a center of education – only educational websites should be permitted at an educational institution,” said the activist.

Especially with other types of “institutions” being a bottomless pit.

“Considering all the peep shows we have around times square and other places in the city – if he truly wanted to access adult material, you have at least a hundred of these different available shops in the city,” suggested Schupert.

While the blushing kind may start staying away from libraries if the rules don't change, porn-lovers can be put in the corner, but no one can kick them out for now.