LAST EDITED ON 25-Jul-12 AT 01:46 AM (PST)
Online porn viewing leads to privacy screens at SF main library
SAN FRANCISCO —
Faced with the awkward situation of some patrons looking at pornography with free computers available at San Francisco’s main library, the city is trying to strike a delicate balance to keep the images out of others' view.
The library is installing new plastic privacy screens in the hope that the screens will keep those guests' afternoon pasttime from offending anyone else.
"You see a lot of people looking at porn and such," said regular library visitor Adrian Dumont. He considers it a hazard of using the library computers.
He's also a fan of the new plastic screens.
"It seems kinda messed up, people doing that kinda stuff in a public environment," said Dumont. "I mean, people don't get on the bus and read hustler in front of everybody."
18 of the privacy screens have been installed over the last few weeks, all at the main library branch at Civic Center Plaza.
City librarian Luis Herrera said the library committed to providing free and equal access to information and that these screens are an alternative to filtering internet access.
"We're always looking for any kind of elegant solution that strikes a balance between the right to privacy and folks that want to use the library for any other intended purpose," said Herrera.
But Dawn Hawkins, the executive director of the anti-pornography group Morality in Media believes more should be done.
Her organization has been working to get filtering systems at libraries across the country.
"I think it's definitely not enough," argued Hawkins. "Even with those protector screens, people walking directly behind somebody can see porn. I mean porn in the library? There's no place for that."
Right now, the main library is testing the screens out. If they're pleased with the results, they plan to install more.
But at least one library patron KTVU spoke with was disappointed with the new screens.
"It didn't block much at all," said library visitor Peter Ma. "I just went there and saw exactly what he's doing."
The library also plans to have a pop-up warning on computers asking patrons to be sensitive to others.