Filthy logo

Library Filters

Should libraries have filters?

By Courtney KellerPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

Today, pornography is everywhere, even in public libraries. It is possible to view pornography anywhere, whether it is in books, movies, or the world wide web. Pornography is very easily accessible through the internet. Many people who like to view pornography use public libraries to search for sexual images or information. This is an enormous problem for many individuals because they feel it is a very private subject. In the 1990s, only a few libraries used software filters to block library patrons from viewing pornography. Libraries everywhere should use software filters to stop their patrons from using their computers to view pornography.

Many libraries are connected to the internet and let the public have access to it. In 1999, ninety-six percent of public libraries were connected to the internet. Ninety-five percent of these libraries let the public access their internet connections (Jost 468.) Since then many people have started using the library for their public internet connections. Today, individuals of all ages use the library for internet research, but some have other uses for it. Adults and children can use public libraries to view pornography. “Only ten percent of libraries have blocking software filters at all workstations” (Jost 469.) More than seventy-five percent of public libraries do not use software filters; this means that anyone who wants to look up pornography can do it in public libraries (Jost 469.)

There have been many incidents where an adult was seen viewing pornography in a public library. Many adults who use computers for pornography are caught performing sexual acts. In 2006, a man was using the internet at his public library to view and discuss pornography. This man was accused of making commercial sexual services with minors and distributing child porn while using the public internet at his library (“Man, Allegedly Used Public Library to Send Child Porn.”) From a parent’s perspective, it is uncomfortable to know that adults are going to a public library to commit illegal crimes involving children. The man, caught in 2006, was committing these crimes while minors were in his presence.

That does not mean it is only adults who use public libraries to view pornography. Children under eighteen who are curious about sexual subjects also use the library to view pornography. They use the library computers to look up sexual images or words. The use of software filters in libraries has started a large debate. Many people agree with the use of software filters, but others do not. Those who do not agree with software filters say kids need to access unfiltered public Wi-Fi to find information about sexual subjects that they feel uncomfortable talking to their parents about (Jost 469.) This statement may be understandable to some parents, but others disagree. Parents who disagree think children should talk to them or their teachers about sexual subjects. Children should feel comfortable enough to talk to their parents about sexual subjects instead of using the library to gain information.

Children of all ages should not be viewing explicit things on any computer unless for educational purposes. Kids can learn about this type of subject through sex-ed at school or their parents. Parents have different rules on teaching kids about sexual information. One parent may want their child to know about sexual subjects at the age of ten, while in another household the parents will not teach their child about sex until the age of fifteen. It is not a library’s job to teach children about sex. A parent does not teach their neighbor’s kid about sex, so why is it okay for a library to? Kathleen, who is a mother in California, had a son who was twelve years old. Her son used the library often. He was spending much of his time at their public library. Kathleen stated that, “he was spending his whole time at the library downloading porn and taking it to my brother’s house and printing it out” (qtd. Jost 467.) Kathleen was concerned with the fact that her son could view this type of subject in public libraries. She took the issue to the courts in California. California rejected her lawsuit and complaint about using software filters. California rejected Kathleen’s whole case. In “Libraries and the Internet,” we see that some people are fine with libraries not having software filters, but people like Kathleen disagree with it (Jost 467.)

The issue of library patrons viewing pornography in public libraries has created bigger issues. Many individuals viewing pornography in public libraries have been caught touching themselves. In Los Angeles, California library employees are finding ways to stop people from viewing pornography. They brought this issue up at the city council meeting in their state. The problem of people viewing pornography came to light after an incident that involved school children (“LA Public Libraries Seek Solution to Online Porn Problem.”) A line of school children was waiting to check out books at the Chine tone branch as a man nearby was watching porn (“LA Public Libraries Seek Solution to Online Porn Problem.”) Many parents were uncomfortable knowing about this incident, leading more people to want libraries to install software filters. In 2003, after the public complained, California gave funds to public libraries to install software filters (“LA Public Libraries Seek Solution to Online Porn Problem.”)

Public libraries are open to the public, meaning people of all ages can enter the library. If an adult or child were to be viewing pornography on a public computer, anyone could walk by and see it. If someone were to spot pornography they may stop using the library. There have been many attempts to make public libraries use software filters. “The Children’s Internet Protection Act, or CIPA, represents Congress’ third attempt in four years to limit young people's access to sexually explicit material on the internet" (Jost 467.) The Supreme Court blocked that law from passing, along with a modified Online Child Protection Act (Jost 467.)

As a mother, I feel software filters should be in all public libraries. Adults should view porn in their private home, not in an area opened to children. In a public space, many children can view what someone is watching. Children should not be viewing explicit material anywhere, unless it is for educational purposes. Children under the age of eighteen should refrain from using public libraries to view pornography at all. They should learn about sexual subjects at school or at home. Viewing pornography in a public place is inconsiderate. Public libraries should use software filters to keep people from viewing explicit videos and images. Software filters would also keep the area child-friendly, and more people are likely to go.

Works Cited

Burt, David. “Should Public Libraries to Block Obscenity and Pornography on the Internet.” CQ Researcher Vol. 11. no. 21. 2001 pp. 481.

Jost, Kenneth, et. al., “Libraries and Internet.” CQ researcher. vol.11. no. 21. Jan. 2001. pp. 467-488.

“L.A. Public Libraries Seek Solution to Online Porn Problem.” KTLAS-TV. 13 Apr. 2011. Newspaper Source Plus. pp. 12. EBSCOhost.

“Man, Allegedly Used Public Library to Send Child Porn.” Southland Times. 16 June 2006. Newspaper Source Plus. EBSCOhost.


About the Creator

Courtney Keller

I am still learning.

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For Free

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

    Courtney KellerWritten by Courtney Keller

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.