Librarian Reprimanded For Reaction

10-Year-Old Caught Surfing Porn At Library
Librarian Reprimanded For Reaction

A Salinas librarian was reprimanded after she caught a 10-year-old boy looking at pornography on one of the library's computers, Salinas TV station KSBW reported.

Librarian Elizabeth McKeighen said that she caught the child looking at the pornography on a computer in the children's area.
"I reacted, in all honesty, with shock," McKeighen said.
McKeighen said she touched the boy on the back, but the boy's mother said the librarian smacked the child.

Police investigated the incident and McKeighen was warned she could lose her job if it happened again.

Full piece


When you were a kid if you had been caught surfing porn at the library would you have bothered telling your parents that the librarian slapped you on the back? For me it would have been wasted time. I could just see trying to tell my dad that the librarian hit me. The discussion would have quickly gotten back to why I was doing what I was doing. The librarian would have to draw blood for this to be an issue with my parents.

Who cares what our parents would/wouldn't have done? In today's society, you do not put your hands on another persons ANY way--apart from breaking up two kids fighting or something like that. I don't work with kids much on my side of the library, but I make a concerted effort not to physically touch any patron at all.

we all have personal ethics and we have professional ethics.
if there's a conflict and your personal beliefs override policy, then you might be in the wrong job.

I gave a hat tip to Bibliofuture and LISNews in my blog post on this matter:

Librarian May Lose Job for Stopping Child from Viewing Porn in Salinas Public Library

Please see the post as it contains substantially similar cases, and says:

I hereby request librarian Elizabeth McKeighen be publicly recognized for her common sense, and the community should consider using Internet filters, especially where library director Elizabeth Martinez misleads the public so seriously, leaving children open to harm. If the library director continues to obfuscate, remove her.


Way to ignore the issue. The question putting her job in jeopardy isn't whether she should or should not have stopped the kid from looking at porn, the question is whether or not she touched the kid inappropriately.

Talk about obfuscation.

Do you really think the librarian "smacked" the child?

Besides, the library director's reaction is in line with the other cases I cited.


She poked him, as in..."what do you think you're doing turn that garbage off you should be ashamed of yourself!" getting his attention type of poking.

Nice to see an eyewitness to the event here on lisnews. So, we have a librarian who said she "touched" him on the back, a mother who says the librarian "smacked" the child, and now an eyewitness saying she "poked" the child.

Um, so, yeah. This is why you do not ever touch patrons or their children.

Surely the library has -- or at least should have -- policies on both fronts.

Policy #1: Porn - Are kids allowed to surf porn on library computers? Are librarians allowed/encouraged/required to interfere when they see kids (or adults?) accessing inappropriate content? (And "inappropriate" should be defined by the library policy, not by the librarian's personal judgment.) Or is monitoring what a kid sees online the parents' job?

Policy #2: Physical Contact - Is the librarian allowed to touch, poke, or smack the kid on the back? (We have states in this country -- surely not California, but still -- where corporal punishment is still allowed in schools.) What is allowable and appropriate?

If the library director is doing her job, the offended/offending librarian should know what is acceptable and what's not, for her and for the kid. And if she's in violation of policy, then she should rightly be reprimanded.

But if nobody has laid out the ground rules -- to the kid or to the librarian -- then we end up with all kinds of trouble and turn up in the news and the blogosphere.

Clear policies save lots of headache.

You are very correct. I just wonder how many library directors and boards have the foresight to write a policy about physical contact. My guess is not many.

When I was is school, a long time ago, teachers didn't touch kids. You got detention or kicked out for a short while or permanently. We live in a country were personnel space is protected, even a kids. Yes, a filter should be on the computer. It was in a children's area. Yes the parents should be told about the pornography, it might be a teachable moment for the parents to take advantage of. Did anyone think to just talk to all the parties concerned so that corrections could be made and the child protected from to much attention? We are very curious about sex as humans. We live in an environment were exposure to sexual information is everywhere, the media, internet, books, etc. I've always heard it said that a child's curiosity is a gift that adults snuff out over time. Well here is another snuffing folks. I'm sure all involved want only the best for the kid. How about a "start over" and get everyone back on focus to benefit the kid and then the situation?

Subscribe to Comments for "Librarian Reprimanded For Reaction"