Library Patron Viewed Porn In Front Of Children

A mother is upset after learning a man was viewing pornography on a computer at the Waterloo Public Library while children watched. Library employees say there is nothing they can do, it's perfectly legal.

This same thing happened last week at the Council Bluffs Public Library. A person was looking at material some would find objectionable.

The library has always been a place where you can learn something new and different, but it was what an 11-year-old girl learned at the library that has her mother outraged.

“Her question was why do girls do that?” says mom Stacie. “And I don't want to have that conversation with my 11-year-old."

What the girl saw was on a computer you can find at any public library. "In TV talk, she said she saw a girl,,,I can't say it in TV talk.”

The man was accessing very descriptive pornography while the girl and her friend watched in shock. What was more shocking, at least to Stacie, is that the man was not breaking any laws in Nebraska.

Full story here.


I'm guessing the point of the story is of course the realisation that their librarians cannot stop someone looking at pornography in a public place right?

But surely exposing children to pornography is still illegal, or does that mean if the same man was to approach children in another public space, say a park, and show them the contents of the latest copy of some hardcore porn magazine he wouldn't be committing an offense?

If you can't get them on one issue, get them, on another.

His use of the library to look at material that is illegal to provide to minors, and his provision of that material to minors is protected by library patron confidentiality laws.

Don't you people get it. Only if they run someone over with their car and it is completely unrelated to the library are you allowed to do anything about a patron's criminal conduct.

Oh, and the Nebraska Code that makes showing dirty pictures to minors illegal is § 28-808.

COPA was overturned for solid Constitutional reasons. Also, if you ban looking at porn - which for all we know the patron was doing for journalistic or scholarly purposes (I have helped find porn for 2 people writing papers so far - and, yes, I saw the papers.) - then where does it stop? Do we remove the art prints? The classic mythology with all the nude statues and artwork? The sex ed books - which Gods know some kids need because their parents and schools can't or won't get them the right information otherwise? If they go into the public park with these kind of books, do we arrest them?

Distasteful? Sure, but there's a lot in public life that is and we're not the police.

No, please don't be sorry: please disagree. That is why where are here.

While I may at times play devil's advocate, if I am asked I will always provide my opinion. I never ask people to agree with my opinion, but I do ask people to discuss the issues. I am overjoyed you have repsoneded.

I am all for freedom to do what you like at the public computers. as long as kids can't see the dirty pictures. I don't think we, as librarians should limit our collection development based upon OUR own feelings, and I know I have bought things I thought were junk, but which had patron requests when I did collection development as a public library. It really does not matter what I think - I have to abide by the patron requests and local social mores.

Oh, and I think COPA was overturned because it was crap legisllation, and I am two step away from Fascist. Crap is crap no matter how helpful one wishes it to be.

What does COPA have to do with anything. That was a federal law. The state law that Mdoniel cites is valid and has not been found unconstitutional.

COPA was trying to filter everything so an 11 year old would not be able to see or watch someone else see objectionable content. Problem with it is the same one here - freedom of choice and expression versus "I don't want my kid seeing X." Also, what the Supreme Court says has an impact on state laws whether they like it or not. Brown v. Board, Roe v. Wade, and many other decisions over the years were fully vetted state laws that had to be re-examined once the Supreme Court made its ruling. The Nebraska law could stand. It could be overturned with the next challenge based on what happened with COPA. Who knows?

If this man were to approach the children in the park and show them the contents of the latest copy of some hardcore porn magazine, yes, that would probably be illegal. If, however, the man was sitting in the park reading the latest copy of some hardcore porn magazine and the children came up, looked over his shoulder and saw something their parents didn't approve of, that's not really his responsibility.

The article in the link notes that the library has two separate computer areas for adults and children, and that the adult computers are clearly labeled for adult use only. If this woman didn't want her daughter exposed to adult material, then why didn't she tell her not to go into the adult computer area? And why was this little girl watching some strange man's computer screen in the first place? In fact, 11 is a little young to be wandering around the library alone in this day and age - where was her mother while all of this was going on?

Personal/parental responsibility, please?

§ 28-808. Obscene literature and material; sale to minor, unlawful; penalty.

(1) It shall be unlawful for a person knowingly to sell, deliver, distribute, display for sale, or provide to a minor or knowingly to possess with intent to sell, deliver, distribute, display for sale, or provide to a minor:

(a) Any picture, photograph, drawing, sculpture, motion picture film, or similar visual representation or image of a person or portion of the human body or any replica, article, or device having the appearance of either male or female genitals which predominantly pruriently, shamefully, or morbidly depicts nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse and which, taken as a whole, is harmful to minors; or

(b) Any book, pamphlet, magazine, printed matter however produced, or sound recording which contains any matter enumerated in subdivision (1)(a) of this section or explicit and detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual excitement, sexual conduct, or sadomasochistic abuse of a predominantly prurient, shameful, or morbid nature and which, taken as a whole, is harmful to minors.

(2) Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.

I find it funny that the mother "[didn't] want to have that conversation with [her] 11-year-old" I think she should before a boy around her age convinces her to have it with him.

An 11 year old, IMHO, ought to know what that is about. It's amazing that some parents are still, in the 21st century, squeamish about this. Just have a heart to heart with the kid, today!

>I find it funny that the mother "[didn't] want to have that conversation >with [her] 11-year-old" I think she should before a boy around her age >convinces her to have it with him.

The article does not indicate what sex act the child saw on the computer screen. To think the mother is a prude and just does not want to talk about sex is unfair. Another post suggested that the scene might have been two women. The article is not clear at all what was shown. It is not clear that it was two women or a man and a woman or just a woman.

So here are some of the other choices that the mother may not have been ready to talk to her 11 year old about. It could have been a picture of a man ejaculating on a womans face. Have all of you talked to your eleven years olds about that? Let's say that it was lesbian sex that was in the picture. Could not the mother have had a healthy discussion about sex with her eleven year old daughter but not discussed lesbian sex? Or the picture could have been of a woman using a dildo. Could not this mother of had a healthy discussion about sex with her eleven year old daughter but not discussed dildos? Could be a real forward thinking mom that has even discussed masturbation with the daughter but had only discussed stimulation with fingers and had not gotten around to discussing dildos with her daughter and wasn't ready to yet.

To judge this mom a prude with the information provided is unfair.

“Her question was why do girls do that?”

Well, when two lesbians love each other very much...

Subscribe to Comments for "Library Patron Viewed Porn In Front Of Children"