Stark County family uncomfortably finds out it’s legal to watch - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Stark County family uncomfortably finds out it’s legal to watch porn in libraries

STARK COUNTY, OH (WOIO) -

A social media post by a Stark County grandmother about her grandchildren seeing a man in a public library viewing pornography raised a lot of questions. 

In a post shared to the Massillon Virtual Sounding Board private Facebook group, a grandmother said she was shocked and disgusted to find out that a man was allegedly watching porn at the Perry Public Library in Stark County when her daughter was visiting with three children. She claims the computer was facing the teen section. 

The grandmother said her daughter reported the porn to a library employee who said it's allowed. 

The library said it is happy to have an open dialogue about the topic with anyone who has concerns or questions. 

The library says that it must welcome all people and tries its best to make the place safe and welcoming for all. It does not censor what people look at. 

The acting director said the best resolution to this is likely the dialogue that it has begun and that they are listening.

What can you and can't you do while surfing the web in the library?

Here are some answers remembering an important fact. Pornography is legal given the Supreme Court decision in the Larry Flynt case. In many libraries, since it is legal it is OK.

Do libraries have to use blocking software?

Old mandates said they did if they got federal money, but those have largely dried up. Blocking software is only about 88 percent effective and sometimes block material not intended.  Most libraries do not According the The American Libraries Association.

Must libraries have an "adults only" area?

There is no mandate for this, some do some don't. In Cleveland branches, many are small and they don't have the room so they use the shoulder tap method -- it's pretty clear what that means.

Can charges be filed against a patron?

Not as long as what you're looking at is legal and not kiddie porn. Touching yourself will get you kicked out or worse.

What is the position of the American Libraries Association?

It believes in freedom of speech, expression and public thought and is against any form of censorship.

Can erotic books be blocked?

No, only visual media are covered by any form of limitations.

What recourse does a citizen have?

In large measure none. The Child Internet Protection Act gives no private right to sue. A government agency, like a prosecutor, can but you can't. 

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