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Porn on Library PCs Upsets Parents

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WIVB: Pornography is one of the last things you expect to see when at the library. So when a Clarence, NY mother says her daughter spotted it on a library computer, she e-mailed News 4.

The Internet always brings challenges and that's the case here. This concerned mom came forward because she wants other parents to know what's going on at the library.

You expect a library to be a safe, G-rated place for everyone. But, if you haven't been to one in a while, you might be surprised to see some people openly viewing pornography.

Boy covering his eyes
"I would like to see it stopped," said Maureen.

Maureen Nikiel is among a growing number of concerned parents who don't think library computer users should be allowed to view porn. She says her 14-year-old daughter is still haunted by the images she saw on a man's computer screen on a recent trip to the Clarence Library.

Maureen said, "She said, 'I can't take those pictures out of my mind.' And that's what porn does. It stays in your mind."

Clarence Library Director Monica Mooney said, "Well, it is part of Freedom of Speech. People do have the right to look at this material."

Mooney says the issue is a tricky one that she and other librarians across the country are dealing with. Bottom line is, they are forced to defend the first amendment right of people whose habits they might not necessarily agree with. That said, a number of steps have been taken to combat the problem.

"If we notice anyone looking at anything objectionable we will go up to them and tell them this library has children, you need to leave that site," said Mooney.

Users are also made aware of the library's "Internet Safety and Acceptable Use Policy" as soon as they log-in. Its rules of conduct are clearly posted. "Disturbing other patrons" can get you kicked out. You could also face a criminal charge.

New York State Police spokesman Rebecca Gibbons said, "If someone is viewing porn they could be charged possibly with a Class A misdemeanor."

Fortunately in Clarence, there have only been a few cases. But with children all around, some parents think more can be done.

Maureen said, "They have a certain portion of our tax dollars going to this and it's funding porn. I think it needs to be changed."

Computers in the Buffalo and Erie County Library System do have filtering software installed, but the choice to use it is up to adult users and it's not always effective. Nowadays, objectionable pictures can come from popular social networking sites, like Facebook and YouTube or email.

Read more stories moms are talking about.

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