Wednesday, April 13, 2011
L.A. 'Reorients' Its Library Computers
Los Angeles libraries grapple with online pornography. (Los Angeles Times, 4/13/2011)
Excerpt: It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon in late December, and the Chinatown Branch Library was buzzing. While a line of children waited to check out books, other patrons surfed the Internet at a bank of computers nearby.
At one computer, a man sat watching pornography. And parents complained.
Every day adults across the city use library computers to do research, read news, watch YouTube videos and apply for jobs. And 1st Amendment protections give them the right to also access some pornography, city officials say.
Regular library patrons say it is not uncommon.
In the months since the Dec. 28 incident, which sparked outcry in Chinatown, officials have been mulling over ways to protect patrons from the sometimes explicit content on other people's screens while also protecting free expression.
At a Los Angeles City Council committee meeting Tuesday, city librarian Martin Gomez said making computer use as private as possible is the best solution.