Phoenix Mayor: Ban Library Internet Porn


The mayor of Phoenix, AZ, and a coalition of city council members are going up against the First Amendment to restrict library Internet access to pornography. City leaders want to restrict library patrons' ability to view pornography through libraries' publicly provided Internet access following the arrest last week of a child molester who viewed kiddie porn on library machines. According to one official, "The fact that it is legal for someone as an individual to view pornography doesn't mean that there is a constitutional obligation for the city, as a public entity, to provide everyone access to it." Read all about it.


Well as I read article 1 of the First Amendment government shall not abridge the right to speak or publish. Nowhere does it say the government has to pay for you to look at porn. Maybe my Constution is outdated, it was signed on 9/17/1787.

How about "public porn is not protected"?

twistedlibrarian said something about " So, should the government be in the business of spending money to restrict you from viewing protected material?"
Porn is not protcted, perhaps restrcited would have been a better word.

Certainly people have a right to pornograph make dirty movies as long as they are not obscene. But then again you are right in how hard it is judge obscenity, but I'll know it when I see it.

I would buy some pornography but I don't have a pornograph to play it on.

Because they can get it ILL :)

"Well porn is not protected"

I'm not sure what you're trying to say. If you mean porn is not protected by the 1st Amendment, you're wrong, at least according to all the Supreme Court decisions I've seen. (Justice Scalia doesn't think it's protected, but his citations all seem to be of dissenting opinions by Justice Scalia, and he rarely gets more than one or two others to agree with his "porn isn't speech" view.)

Obscenity is not protected by the 1st Amendment. The difference between obscenity and pornography is...well, there's that somewhat self-contradicting three-part Miller test (It has to simultaneously turn you on, disgust you, and not have any redeeming qualities).

(Child pornography is also not protected. That and obscenity are illegal speech in the U.S. But pornography in general is constitutionally protected speech.)

That would be like saying I want to watch Debbie Does Dallas on my VCR at home but can't afford to rent it, why won't the library buy it?

Oops, sorry I gave Fang-Face the glory for that rebuke - either way, it was priceless!

Good point that there's not enough room in our libraries for everything that's available and I certainly agree with your assumption that most patrons in most areas probably prefer not to have Internet porn using up space or energy. Unfortunately, I can imagine someone piping up to ask about those who want their Internet porn but can't afford a connection at home. Perhaps there's a niche market here for Internet cafés? I hope I'm kidding.

I think I was the one who came up with the "Don't touch your penis!" rebuke, but it could have been my anarchist friend Fang-Face.

Libraries can't possibly make everything available, there just is not space. However no more space is needed for internet porn, but I think the majority of library patrons prefer not to have images of persons in flagrante delicto on library computers because their children use the library and they wish to shield them from that ( or don't wish to have the talk) until the proper age whatever that might be.

I think all libraries have different policies, and my library is in a conservative (what a surprise for me) relatively affluent area. If those people want porn they get it at home like the rest of us with internet access at home. If you or what you are looking at is in any manner undressed beyond what is seen at the local public beach you are asked to leave.

Well porn is not protected, but I know what you mean. You do have a point that the internet connection costs the same if patrons look at porn or fish. However it costs nothing more for our library to keep patrons form porn, they pay me the same if I tell people to quit looking at dirty pictures or not.

We don't filter at my library, and my director has decided that we will not as long as he is director. However that does not mean we do not maintain community standards. I am told about once a month a patron is asked not to visit certain types of websites.

True, it doesn't, and thankfully neither did they write in anything about "shall not abridge the right of any person to touch themselves in a sexually gratifying manner", either - though if they'd added "in a public place" I'd be quite pleased. ;-)

This is a touchy subject, nevertheless. I just took a look back at a number of related articles on LISNews and can see that this subject seems to come up pretty often. In one past discussion Fang-Face suggested that rebuking someone in a nice loud voice yelling "Don't touch your penis!" might work, which I must say sounds like it would deter most manipulators!

The bottom line question, seems to me, to be whether or not the public library has a responsibility to allow its patrons to view not just all the news and information that's fit to print (in their opinion), but all of the information that is published?

Seems to me that the reporter and editor may have taken the wrong tack in tagging this with a reference to the First Amendment.

Do all public libraries have the same bylaws or is it up their boards to decide what they should be?

But you're not paying for pornography. Not in the same sense that I walk into an Adult Porno Shop, plop down $10.00 and walk out with an adult DVD. The interenet will cost the same whether or not you allow people to access porn. In fact, keeping people from porn will cost more than allowing them to access porn. So, should the government be in the business of spending money to restrict you from viewing protected material?

This debate seems endless with no resolution. Doesn't anyone realize how harmful and dangerous porn is? True one can make the case that each individual reacts to porn differently. Perhaps out of 100 people 80 have no reaction to porn. What about the other 20? the group can include people who are depraved, psychotic, and the like. Porn impacts on them very differently. Should society take that chance by playing the percentages. If something is not clearly safe, should the government and taxpayer money allow unrestricted use with possible harmful consequences? The real question here is not constitutional it is dealing with a potentially dangerous and harmful substance. No one is impeding one's right to watch, read, or express their own will in the matter of porn. The police are not raiding homes, searching people on the street, and the like looking for porn. When taxpayer money is supporting resources then then the welfare of all people is at stake. the preamble of the constitution makes reference to promoting the general welfare. That is the general welfare of the whole population. That is government responsibilty. One doesn't go into a hospital ward to see how healthy they are. Some may do so and that is their choice, the government and the taxpayers ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO SUPPORT SUCH A CHOICE. Next thing you know we should allow one passenger to drill a whole in the boat where he sits, after all it is his choice.

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