February 1, 2012

D.C. Public Library: Please Don’t Watch Porn On Our Computers

On public computers inside Brooklyn’s public libraries, you are welcome to watch pornography. No, really. The Village Voice’s Runnin’ Scared blogconfirmed it after learning about a fight that broke out between a guy who was watching porn and another guy who wanted to use the same computer.

 

According to the friendly library spokesperson we talked to, not only are adult customers able to view whatever they wish on public library computers, the library actually provides privacy screens (those dark covers for monitors that the user can see through but those beyond cannot) for customers who wish to view “questionable material.” There’s a separate area for children and teens, which is the youth wing (where questionable material is not allowed).We asked, of course, for clarification. So, really, you can watch porn?

“This means you can watch porn,” he said.

This, of course, begs the question: are the District’s libraries similarly cool with customers enjoying pornography inside Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial or in the shiny new facilities in Shaw, Petworth and Tenleytown? George Williams, the library’s spokesperson, tells us that DCPL would really prefer it if customers left the porn at home.

 

“Actually, what we do here, which is a little different than Brooklyn,” explained Williams, “is we filter to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act. But ours is a system-wide filter” — as opposed to Brooklyn’s, where the filter is only in place in areas where young people have access to shared computers. See, in many of D.C.’s newer libraries, the area where computers are accessible are places where children could conceivably walk by, so places where it’d probably wouldn’t be great for an orgy (or what have you) to be on display.

But what about the installation of those privacy shades, like the ones in Brooklyn — wouldn’t that solve the problem of some kid getting a glimpse of some T&A? Not really, said Williams, who indicated that D.C. libraries weren’t using them because they weren’t really that effective.

Of course, with wireless internet and private conference rooms now available at several libraries, there’s very little that the library can actually do — aside from making users agree to a series of terms — from preventing someone who’s dead set on watching porn inside the library from doing so.

“If someone is looking at something that is somewhat objectionable, and we were informed of it, the library can just ask them to not look at that material anymore,” Williams admitted.

 

Original article posted here: http://dcist.com/2011/04/dc_public_library_please_dont_watch.php

by: Aaron Morrissey

April 22, 2011

 

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