Dirty Dozen List 2017 - American Library Association header

The Problem

The ALA zealously encourages public libraries to not install Internet filters on public-access computers, thereby granting patrons—including children—the opportunity to view sexually obscene or explicit material. This has turned the once safe community setting of the public library into a XXX space that fosters child sexual abuse, sexual assault, exhibitionism, stalking, and lewd behavior in libraries across the country.

As a self-styled champion of the First Amendment, the ALA has for decades encouraged public libraries to keep their computers unfiltered. This misguided campaign has resulted in countless patrons of all ages accessing or being inadvertently exposed to hardcore pornography. Even child pornography is being viewed on library computers. It should be no surprise then that many cases of stalking, public masturbation, sexual harassment of librarians and other patrons, and even sexual assault have been documented at public libraries across the country.

The ALA has also filed lawsuits (and LOST!) against laws requiring public libraries to use Internet filters. Despite losing and the courts making it clear that libraries have the right to filter out obscene content, the ALA continues to disseminate misleading information to libraries about their ability (and social responsibility) to filter hardcore pornography. Libraries look to the ALA for guidance on best practices and legal advice, but unfortunately the ALA refuses to give library administrators the facts about the law. The truth is that the First Amendment is not a license to disseminate or view obscene material in public spaces.

The ALA even goes so far as to encourage public libraries to refuse funding from federal and state sources which require that that libraries utilize filters (and which also often provide the necessary funding to cover the cost of installing good filters). This can lead to increased public expenditure at both the state and local levels simply because some libraries insist on offering hardcore pornography as an option to patrons.

If you are interested in having Internet filters (or better filters) installed in your public libraries and schools, we have a special project dedicated to making that happen. Please visit www.SafeLibraryProject.com to learn more and get started.

Read our letter to the American Library Association

WARNING: Any pornographic images have been blurred, but are still suggestive. There may also be graphic text descriptions shown in these sections.


Proof of Harm in Schools & Libraries

Proof of Harm in Schools & Libraries

Video Proof

This is a playlist of videos uploaded by library patrons, most made by teens, who have caught other patrons viewing pornography at their local libraries. After talking with many librarians, looking at the news articles that pop up in “Google Alerts” daily on this topic, and just a quick perusal of YouTube – one can see that this is clearly a common occurrence in public libraries.


News Articles Demonstrating Harm



June 5, 2018

A 43-year-old Berwyn man convicted of sexually assaulting a child in Wisconsin in 2014 is free on bond after being arrested by Riverside police for viewing pornography on a computer at the Riverside Public Library in violation of the conditions of his sentence.

May 10, 2018

In Florida, the parents of a boy with special needs say that older students in his special education classes used an iPad to show their son pornography. The boy’s mother also “claims the school’s gym teacher called her son a ‘tattle-tale’ after he reported what happened.”

March 13, 2018

Parents of a boy in New York said their son came home from school one day and said that another boy had been looking at porn on a school computer. The parents showed up on campus to talk to school administrators about the incident, and the administrators could not provide any details because the matter was under investigation. The parents refused to leave the school property until they received answers, and they were arrested for trespassing.

February 16, 2018

A mother claims her son unintentionally viewed pornography three times on a school-issued iPad. Her son typed in the phrase “girls with trucks” and nude pictures of girls popped up.

January 30, 2018

A woman’s nine-year-old granddaughter saw a man looking at pornography on a computer at the library. She did some research and realized that looking at adult websites at public libraries is actually legal. Librarians who see patrons viewing pornography can ask them to move to a computer with a private screen, but they claim they have no power to regulate the content that users view.


December 21, 2017

Librarians report that they often have a hard time balancing the right of freedom of information against protecting the rights of other patrons. Libraries that receive federal funds are required to install filters, so many libraries forego these funds in order to maintain “intellectual freedom.”

November 22, 2017

NBC4’s report on pornographic viewing in libraries have spurred two city council members to take action and demand the installation of filtering software on library computers.

October 5, 2017

After being caught viewing child porn on a public library computer, a man is facing federal child pornography charges. A librarian says he had confronted the man about looking at pornography several times in the past couple of years. Currently, the library does not use filtering programs to block certain websites.

September 30, 2017

A woman saw a man viewing child pornography on a library computer and the police department is investigating the report. Although child pornography in any form is illegal, the library policy does not limit or restrict access to information due to controversial content. In fact, the library does not have any filters on its public computers.

September 25, 2017

Parents of a twelve-year-old boy say that their son stumbled upon pornographic images on his school-issued laptop. After the parents looked into the matter, they realized that the school filters did not block hundreds of pornographic images. The problem with the school district’s filtering system is that it can only block websites based on web address, keywords, or category, so it often fails to block explicit images.

September 1, 2017

A father of two children noticed that his son was able to pull up YouTube on a school-issued laptop, on which YouTube was supposedly blocked. After doing some simple searches, the father realized that pornographic content was easily accessible on the laptop.

January 24, 2017

A woman went to the library to fill out forms for her mother’s nursing home, but instead saw someone watching “very explicit” porn without blinders, without headphones, and videotaping it on his phone.  “It’s not my business what they look at,” said a librarian at Harold Washington Library.

January 3, 2017

Monte Carrol Wainscott had several search warrants executed in which officers were able to impose 15 charges of possession/ promotion of child pornography.  It was found that he was using the library’s computers to upload pornographic pictures of children.


November 8, 2016

Using the Washoe County Public Library (Nevada) computers, a man downloaded child sexual abuse images (i.e., child pornography) and email them to himself.

October 26, 2016

Police say the 36-year-old man was taking inappropriate pictures of children, teens and adults without their knowledge. Library workers in Indiana told police that they found child pornography on a computer that the man had recently used.

October 26, 2016

A man was arrested after allegedly viewing child pornography at a public library in Southeast Idaho.

September 28, 2016

Kids studying after school at their local library went to check out a book, but from the checkout line could see someone viewing porn on one of the library computers.  The ALA says “the use of filtration software is a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.”

September 21, 2016

Police in Austin, Texas, watched live security video showing a man searching for child sexual abuse images. Police say it appeared the man was saving the images to a hard drive. The security officer recognized the man, having kicked him out of the library once before for viewing pornography on the public computers.

September 15, 2016

A Bridgewater, Connecticut, man was arrested at the town’s library after police caught him committing a lewd act while apparently watching pornography on a computer. Police say a 14-year-old was sitting next to him at the time.

August 26, 2016

A Knox County, Kentucky, man was arrested Tuesday after he was allegedly discovered looking at child sexual abuse images on a Pulaski County Public Library computer.

August 20, 2016

A man in Huntington, West Virginia, was arrested and charged with distribution of child porn after Huntington Police state he accessed child porn via computer at the Cabell County Public Library’s main branch in downtown Huntington.

June 17, 2016

Two of Houston County’s public libraries were hacked and for downloads of pornography. The libraries will both shut off their Wi-Fi until they obtain federal money to update their systems.

May 9, 2016

A convicted sex offender was arrested allegedly downloading child pornography on a computer at a San Diego, California, library and then distributing the images to other people.

April 6, 2016

A complaint of a man viewing child pornography on a computer at the public library in 2014 led to his arrest in 2016 for possession of child sexual abuse images.

January 26, 2016

A state appeals court says a man does not have a constitutional right to view pornography on a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire library computer.

January 19, 2016

While on a fieldtrip with her students at the Billings Public Library, a local teacher saw of pornography on one of the private screens.

January 14, 2016

Police say U-District sex offender fresh from prison downloaded child sexual abuse images at a number of public Wi-Fi sites, including the Seattle Public Library.


December 24, 2015

A Winlock, Washington, man was arrested after an FBI investigation revealed that he was allegedly using a social networking site and public library Internet service to send and receive child sexual abuse images.

November 21, 2015

In what may be a national first, a public library has approved the use of unfiltered computers in the children’s section of the library.

September 23, 2015

A convicted sex offender is accused of distributing child sex abuse images from a public computer at the Bellmawr branch of the Camden County Library, New Jersey.

July 22, 2015

The library staff was alerted after a man was seen sitting at a computer, watching porn and masturbating. After staff told the man to leave, he started screaming and threw a computer keyboard. A staff member followed him to the parking lot where the man hit the staff member with is car.

April 22, 2015

An Oregon man was charged Wednesday with first-degree sexual assault of a child after police said he touched an 8-year-old girl on the buttocks while she played a game on a computer at the Madison Public Library. Police in another jurisdiction reported multiple contacts the man because he searched for pornography as school and public libraries. .

April 17, 2015

A homeless sex offender faces federal charges for watching pornography at several Akron libraries.

March 7, 2015

The Orland Park Library is the scene of the latest effort by a library to cover up its literally criminal ways by having published a letter to the editor of the Orland Park Prairie.

March 7, 2015

Library patrons are disturbed by a man viewing pornography on public computers. The librarian claims that all she can do is suggest he move to a more discreet computer, of one is available.

February 27, 2015

A man uses public library computers to view underage girls in pornography. Library patrons are surprised and stunned that a man could use the computer to look up such explicit and illegal material.  

February 16, 2015

A group of regular library visitors is known for viewing sexually graphic video and images with parents and children nearby. They also print sexually explicit images, which cause other library patrons using printing services to be involuntarily exposed to the material.

February 13, 2015

High school students spotted a man viewing child pornography on the computer at the Westland Public Library. After arresting the man, the police found hundreds of items related to child pornography in his home.

February 13, 2015

An arrest was issued for a Fargo man accused of using a public computer at the Fargo library to search for child pornography.

January 31, 2015

A La Crosse man claimed he was looking at pictures of models on a public library at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Murphy Library, but officers found sexually graphic videos and pictures of children as young as 4-years-old during a search of the computer.

January 6, 2015

An 11-year old girl and her friend saw a man viewing porn on a computer, despite the privacy screens, at a public library. She immediately told the librarian, who informed her, and then her mother, that it was “his right” to view pornography at a public library.


October 17, 2014

A mother is concerned about the exposure of children to pornography at Auburn Public Library. The woman was in the kid’s section with her children and witnessed hard core pornography being watched on a screen in the adult section that was facing right in their direction.

August 7, 2014

A Portland man is facing charges after he allegedly viewed child pornography inside the Central Library in downtown Portland on Tuesday.

June 5, 2014

A former school bus driver on probation was arrested for downloading hundreds of images of child porn at Scottsdale library. He specifically used the Mustang Library because, according to him, its computers “don’t filter as well as the other libraries.”

May 13, 2014

A northwest suburban man listed by the state as a sexual predator will spend 10 years in prison for looking at child pornography on a computer at a public library last year.

April 17, 2015

A homeless sex offender faces federal charges that accuse him of watching child pornography at several Akron libraries.

March 13, 2014

A 41-year-old Wood County resident was convicted of accessing child pornography with intent to view it while he was logged on to a computer located at the Parkersburg and Wood County Library.

January 7, 2014

A 23-year-old Gresham man is facing criminal charges after police said he looked at pornographic photos of children on a public computer at the library.


September 20, 2013

A Westmont man was charged with obscenity and disorderly conduct after he viewed online pornography in the youth services area of his local library.

September 9, 2013

Seattle public library says, that because it is an issue of censorship, the libraries will not stop their customers from accessing information that is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

August 6, 2013

A woman reported seeing a man viewing child pornography on a public computer at Monroe library. The man had been downloading child pornography from the city library onto a cellphone.

July 24, 2013

A Bloomingdale sex offender was arrested Wednesday after police say he was viewing child pornography at a public library.

April 18, 2013

Director of marketing and communications for Chicago Public Library said Chicago libraries don’t use filters because “in terms of pornography, it is legal.”


July 21, 2012

In response to the complaints from numerous library patrons concerning pornographic images being in full view of passersby, a library installed 18 computer monitors with plastic hoods. They prefer this solution to filtering or censoring images.  

April 1, 2012

Man found stripped to his underwear in library; police report shows the past year of assaults, lewd acts, drug-use have occurred at San Juan Library; Martin Luther King Library has big problems with patrons accessing pornography on computers.

March 20, 2012

A Corsicana man arrested for allegedly viewing child pornography on a Corsicana Public Library computer was indicted Thursday on 10 counts of possession of porn.

February 3, 2012

The ACUL is suing a Washington state library district with the claim that not allowing porn is censorship.

February 2, 2012

The Seattle Public Library has a long list of rules of things you can’t do in the library. You can’t eat, sleep, look like you’re sleeping, be barefoot, be too stinky or talk too loudly. But you can watch graphic porn on a public computer in front of kids.

February 1, 2012

A resident complained last week about a man watching pornography on a public computer and behaving lewdly in front of a Malibu library. According to a county Board of Supervisors policy, the Malibu Library is unable to stop customers from using computers to view pornography.

January 31, 2012

A Seattle librarian refused to force a man watching hardcore porn on a computer to move to a more discreet location, even after a woman with two children complained.

January 29, 2012

A man was seen snapping photos at the park. On the same day, a woman reported that her daughter had just left RSM library where the same man was watching pornography on a library computer.

January 6, 2012

Library patron printed pages of pornography off a computer used by the public, but never collected them at the printer before it ran out of paper.

January 3, 2012

When a homeless man was accused of fondling himself in the Laguna Beach public library while viewing pornography. Laguna Beach libraries have insisted that they are obliged to provide Internet access to pornography as a matter of their clients’ free- speech rights.


December 15, 2011

A Hannibal man accused of downloading child pornography on a Hannibal Public Library computer has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. Gary Wayne Martin, 45, was indicted by a federal grand jury of one felony count of production and two felony counts of possession after an arrest last March.

December 5, 2011

Fourth grader exposed to hardcore pornography while visiting library with mother. Mother says the girl was deeply affected and could sleep that night. Librarian refused to do anything about it.

December 5, 2011

Grand Rapids resident, Alan Waldron, 43, faces a maximum of five years in prison for using the Lowell Library’s wireless to download more than 100 images of pornography—including some that depicted sexual acts between children.

December 2, 2011

A registered sex offender from Orange County made his initial appearance in federal court Thursday, following his arrest at a local public library where witnesses allegedly observed him viewing child pornography on one of the library’s computers.

December 2, 2011

Eight men watched pornography at a public library computer while one masturbated in public. The library responded to public outrage, saying there wasn’t much they could do.

November 11, 2011

Hawthorne-Longfellow Library will continue its policy to not restrict Internet access, despite several incidents of involving pornography and public masturbation in the library.

April 13, 2011

After a recent outcry about online pornography at a Chinatown branch library, Los Angeles has been working to protect bystanders while not infringing on computer users’ 1st Amendment rights.


November 17, 2010

A sex offender is behind bars after police say he surfed for porn in a public library, in front of a child.

September 9, 2010

Birmingham, AL librarian sues library for having a ‘hostile work environment’ where patrons view porn in her presence, harass and grope her, and are allowed to do so in presence of children.

June 29, 2010

Quincy, MA, councilman wants list of people accessing porn in libraries after several incidents of public indecency.

May 6, 2010

The Washington State Supreme Court voted 6-3 in favor of the North Central Regional Library when the library was sued by the ACLU for installing Internet filters to prevent access to pornography.


June 9, 2009

Holyoke MA man charged with downloading child porn from library computers. The library he viewed it at had allowed 40 computers to remain filter-free after library governing body had required filters for the computers.


January 24, 2008

7.5% of web traffic was for pornography at a local Dallas library over a randomly selected period.

State School and Library Filtering Laws

State School and Library Filtering Laws

Take Action

Safe Schools, Safe Libraries

A surprising number of schools and public libraries do not have pornography filtering software

Help Pass Filters: ON Bill in Your State!

Check Your Local School’s Online Databases

Download the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s action packet

Share Your Story

For many, sharing their past or current experiences may be a restorative and liberating process. This is a place for those who want to express their story.