Sacramento public library system continues policy allowing porn viewing

Alternate board member David Sander
Alternate board member David Sander

.- The Sacramento Library Authority Board voted last Thursday to retain its policy of minimal interference with patrons who access pornography on library computers, News10 Sacramento reports.  Board members also voted to spend $21,000 for more computer monitors with recessed screens to allow more private viewing.

"Pornography does nothing to enrich. Pornography does nothing to empower. Pornography is tearing families apart," parent Kimberly Woods told board members.

The library now has a “shoulder-tap” policy that allows patrons to object to what others might be watching. 

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ann Brick argued even that policy was too restrictive.  “Is there a problem here or do we have people who want to engage in censorship?” she asked.

Brick claimed that there had been only 11 complaints about inappropriate material out of 500,000 hours of internet use.

Board member Robbie Waters explained his support for $21,000 for more private computer screens, saying he wanted people to be able to exercise their right to be able to view whatever they would like.  "It allows the screen to come right up at you and nobody can look over your shoulders," Waters said.

"The board members that voted against morality, their big hang-up is they are trying to hide behind the First Amendment to the Constitution, saying that we don't have a right to censor anything," said Sacramento resident Darlene Ward.

In a letter dated April 28 and provided to the California Catholic Daily, alternate Sacramento Library Board member David Sander said, “I am just stunned that this is even an issue that needs debating.”

“Pornography does not belong in public libraries -- period.  Libraries are places for kids and families to learn and explore -- not a den of sexual exploitation where anything goes,” he said.

Sander said that he was most upset that, in his view, half the library board members agreed with the ACLU that the library ought to increase access to pornography at taxpayer expense.

“What an outrage! As if there aren't already enough options for people to access pornography,” he said.

According to Sander, the board would study the policies of other library districts that ban pornography.

“With further demonstration that such bans both work and have not faced legal challenges, it's possible that we can gain one or more votes to follow suit and ban pornography in our Sacramento Public Libraries as well,” Sander said.

According to News10, library board members said they do not expect the issue to come before them again in the foreseeable future.


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