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Officials: Watching Porn At NYC Libraries Falls Within First Amendment Rights

But Don't Tell That To Many Of The Patrons Trying To Read
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(credit: AP)

(credit: AP)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s the last thing you’d expect to find at New York City’s public libraries. But find it you will.

Pornography.

CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport has more on the A-B-Cs behind the XXX at the library.

“It’s a little shocking,” one public library patron said.

“Wow. I didn’t know that. I had no idea,” added another.

Yep, electronic porn too graphic for CBS 2 to show on television is available on-line for adults — on publically used computers at the city’s 200 library branches.

All people have to do is search for it.

“I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable if someone was watching on the computer next to me,” patron April Cantor told Rapoport.

Richard Reyes-Gavilan of the Brooklyn Public Library said that’s the policy — that even pornography is protected by the first amendment and recognized as free speech.

“With adults, anything that you can get on the Internet, you can legally get on a computer in the library,” Reyes-Gavilan said. “It’s difficult, but we err on the side of free and open access.”

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said he is appalled and outraged that such content is found in a publically funded place.

“What this is doing is perverting the whole meaning of freedom of speech and education,” Donohue said. “There is no legitimate role for hardcore pornography to be shown in the New York Public Library.”

Public Library officials said by law they are obligated to install filters to block illegal content like child pornography. And they said they do, but not other pornography that is legal.

And that left some folks Rapoport spoke to a little upset.

“I think it’s horrific as a parent. There are children in this place constantly. It’s a place of learning. You shouldn’t be allowed to do that in here,” library patron Malcolm Adams said.

Officials from the New York Public Library stressed their computers all have filtering software to block any explicit material from minors, and they said that staff carefully monitor use of computers in the adult areas.

What would you do if you saw someone watching hardcore pornography at the library? Sound off in our comments section.


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