Hawaii State Library Bans Gay Web Surfer

On behalf of library web-surfer Carlos Hernandez, the ACLU of Hawaii has filed a lawsuit against the State of Hawaii--its governor and attorney general, for prohibiting Mr. Hernandez from reentering the library for one year.

Hernandez said he was using a computer at the Hawaii State Library on May 18 when a security guard issued a written warning telling him he was being banned for one year because he was viewing a pornographic Web site, according to the lawsuit. He said the Web site, Gay Hawaii, is a resource with information on events, travel, real estate and other services for the gay community.

Story at 365 Gay.

{UPDATE]...and more complete coverage from the ACLU (thanks AshtabulaGuy).


The LibraryLaw blog has a little bit more background on this.

So the rent-a-cop threw out the gay guy for looking at gayhawaii.com ( OK I looked at the first page and clicked the first link to see if it had disgusting perverts pictured on it. Not as far as I can tell. Not my cup of tea but not obscene after my cursory examination.)

I'm not certain it makes the squatters law unconstutional because I don't think the squatters law (although lexis says ACT 50 is about reverse mortgages) applies. It seems like contesting the speed limit because you got a parking ticket.

That said the patron ejected should simply call the librarian and ask if he is really banned from the library. I bet the librarian would say no, if what is reported in the article is true.

It seems more like a dating and hotel site than anything else. If I can look for dates and hotels online I think everyone else should be able to do the same thing, gay, straight, vegetable or mineral.

To apply for a job as a librarian in Hawaii you have to live there. Very strange...you can't apply and move there you have to be there to apply. The pay sucks too. You think a place with a cost of living ~160% of the national average would have salaries above ~30K.

That said the patron ejected should simply call the librarian and ask if he is really banned from the library. I bet the librarian would say no, if what is reported in the article is true.

According to the article:

A local gay rights organization complained and was told by a library official that the guard issued the warning because the Web site contained photos of shirtless men, the lawsuit said.

The official "also stated that although she believed the security guard was being too harsh, there was 'nothing that she could do' about the trespass warnings or the ban," according to the lawsuit.

From my reading of the article, which admittedly may not be the full story, if the patron had asked, the librarian (or a library official duly charged with dealing with such matters) would presumably have told him what the library told the gay rights group – that there was nothing the library could do to re-admit him.

I read that too, but "library offical" is remarkably vague. It could be the guard's supervisor or the janitor. If it were indeed the chief librarian or whomever is actually in charge I would assume they would name them. Since they chose to be vague I assuemd it was just some mid level funtionary who has to get permission to sharpen the pencils let alone countermand the guard's order.

This is just silly. It makes me wonder who's really in charge at the Hawaii State Library. I can't believe library administration hasn't done something to straighten out this matter.

In my experience, security staff are usually hired through a security firm with which the library has a contract. Even if this isn't the case, security staff shouldn't hold any ultimate authority over patrons and their internet viewing habits.

A better way to deal with this is for library staff to make decisions on appropriatness of patron behavior based on library policy. Then, staff can can call security for assistance with a situation when needed.

No one, the Hawaii library is always looking for help, yet requires people to be residents to apply.

They seem to go through staff like Denny's goes through eggs according to the one person who worked for a state library.

Letting guards make decisions best left to librarians is absurt.

It seems the inmates are running the asylum.

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