Porn in Gwinnett libraries?

Lawrenceville resident Ruth Hardy says there’s porn in the library just down the street from my house!

Ruth Hardy said that she complained to the board in September that she had witnessed a patron at the Collins Hill branch viewing a naked woman gyrating on a bed.

Brett Taylor, the only member to respond to her complaint until three weeks ago, accused her of misrepresenting what she had seen and suggested she join with him in having Internet access removed from the library entirely. In fact in an e-mail addressed to her, Hardy said, Taylor stated he didn’t understand why the library bothers buying books.

“Someone with such disdain for the concerns for the public he serves has no place representing the community on our library board,” she said in a packed meeting room at the Five Forks branch.

Board Chairman Lloyd Breck…

…said the Gwinnett County Public Library uses filters provided by the Georgia Public Library Association and they are working with vendors to make sure “we’re using it in the most effective way.”

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11 comments

  1. StevePerkins says:

    If there’s a problem with the Gwinnett County Library system, it is that crappy parents use it as a government-sponsored babysitting service while they’re off doing other things. The Peachtree Corners branch near my house is all but unusable… unsupervised kids running around and yelling, slamming the door to the “quiet” study room, etc.

    No filtering software is 100% effective… a kid is going to eventually find some porn if he or she is deliberately seeking for it. For that matter, not even BOOKS are 100% “safe” if you’re too lazy to supervise your kids. I remember as a kid getting my jollies from anatomy books and the lingerie section of the Sears catalog (how did we ever survive pre-Internet?!?). Bottom line… if you’re a bad parent who abuses the library for babysitting services, ruining it for the rest of the citizenry, then the rest of the citizenry shouldn’t give a flying rip about your complaints regarding the quality of babysitting service.

    On the other hand, at least this sort of thing isn’t as bad as Gwinnett’s anti-Harry Potter wackos.

  2. ToddH says:

    When I was a freshman in college a friend and I were in the school library when he said that I had to see this crazy image he found on the internet. Let’s just say it involved a woman and it was quite graphic, and wouldn’t you know at that exact moment the librarian would walk right behind us and see the porn on the computer.

    While she tried to pick her lower jaw on the floor I booked a hasty retreat and damned my good friend to some righteous indignation.

  3. Bill Simon says:

    What is the definition of “porn,” again?

    Please recall that nut from Gwinnett who has been fighting Harry Potter books for a couple of years. You would have thought the Potter books caused suicide rates to increase among children based on her interpretation of what the books were about.

    Andisheh, for a guy who never runs out of things to criticize the Bush Administration on in terms of privacy rights, you sure are quick to come up with a solution to a problem that may not be as it is reported.

    Again, what is the definition of “porn?” Who is defining it?

  4. StevePerkins says:

    How about just getting rid of the computers… or limiting them to card catalog searches only, rather than open Internet access? That may sound like a shocking thing to say, especially coming from someone who works in the online industry for a living. However, think about it. I would argue that the factors which lead public libraries to push for Internet access have changed over the past decade.

    Ten years ago, a typical computer cost two or three grand, and Internet access was fairly expensive (and if you lived in a rural area, might require a long-distance call for access). Politicians railed about the poor not having an “on-ramp” to the “Information Superhighway”. Today, however, you can buy a usable PC for two or three HUNDRED bucks… and even broadband access costs about a dollar a day. Does the giant “digital divide” really still exist? I just don’t believe that the market conditions today necessitate the government having to provide Internet access to the poor like they did ten years ago.

    Either way, does anyone seriously believe that PC’s in the library actually get used for anything remotely educational? I’ve never walked past a computer in my local library that wasn’t being used for Facebook, MySpace, or Hotmail. Basically, the PC’s are just used as an amenity for the babysitting service… and end up dragging down the library for those of us trying to use it as a library.

  5. liberator says:

    What a bunch of prudes in Gwinnett! Last time I checked nobody ever died while looking at a naked woman gyrating on a bed. Nude Dancing is an art form.

  6. denisev says:

    You are confusing two separate issues here. The problem of Internet porn in the library is not caused by irresponsible parents dumping their kids off at the library. Both problems could be solved with simple policy changes.
    1. Require children to be accompanied by an adult while in the library
    2. Prohibit the viewing of Internet porn on library computers and make the staff enforce the policy.
    That would make the library a more enjoyable place for everyone, except the porn addicts, who would have to go home.

  7. SafeLibraries.org says:

    The library may use filters to make existing book collection policies extend over the Internet. See US v. ALA, US Supreme Court, 2003.

    Further, unfiltered access likely violates the library’s enabling statute and is therefore unlawful. A library board allowing unlawful activity is acting ultra vires and its usual independence from the government may be pierced so the government may step in and order a stop to the illegality. If the library board persists in violating the law, if that is true, I suggest getting the government to carefully examine the library’s enabling statute and the case of US v. ALA, then act accordingly.

    Do not be fooled by misinformation reraising issues already asked and answered in US v. ALA. And even if the library does not accept federal funding, that does not make US v. ALA moot.

    I will be happy to help anyone with questions. Contact me at http://www.SafeLibraries.org/

  8. liberator,

    I couldn’t care less what you look at or do at home, however in a public place such as a library, where kids and other who don’t want to can see it, don’t look at porn. Furthermore, I don’t want to help pay for you to look at porn – do it on your own nickel.

  9. jsm says:

    This all comes down to the purpose of the computers. If they are restricted to uses related to their purpose (which probably does not include myspace, facebook, etc.), no harm is done. I’m sure some will scream about their freedoms, but they have the freedom to buy their own computers and internet access.

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