A Seattle mother is upset after catching a man viewing pornography on one of the Seattle Public Library's computers.
Julie Howe says a man was watching pornography where anyone could see, including her 10-year-old daughter.
She reported the incident to library officials.
The Seattle Public Library says its official policy is to take no action in such circumstances.
"The public library isn't in the business of censoring content. We're in the business of providing access to information," said library official Chance Hunt.
The Library's director of public services says there is no legal precedent for filtering constitutionally protected material like pornography.
"If it's not illegal activity that people are engaging in their behaviors, the library is going to permit it. Its policy is open enough so that it can really accommodate different backgrounds, needs and interests," Hunt said.
The library says that starting by banning pornography would begin a slippery slope toward further censorship.
The library's computers are equipped with privacy screens to protect the privacy of users, and protect the passerby from inadvertent exposure to any potentially offensive content.
Julie Howe says she understands the reasoning behind the policy, but still doesn't like it. She said, "I do understand the slippery slope and I actually agree, in principle, with their position. But, it still isn't OK with me and that's kind of the mucky reality of it."
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