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Porn at the Library – What’s the best policy?

Last Updated: July 30, 2021

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

The debate continues in our little town of Owosso, Michigan. Should filters be put on all the library computers? Should a policy be in place to prohibit the viewing of all sexually explicit matter? What about speech protected by the First Amendment? Who decides what should be filtered? What does State law say about these things?

All of these are questions being asked by community members. Over the last few weeks the library has held two board meetings at a local middle school. Hundreds of people have turned out for these meetings. News media has interviewed many citizens. The public has also been allowed to make comments at these meetings, most of whom are passionate to see the library take a strict stance against the display of obscenity on publicly viewable computer screens.

There’s always been a sticky intersection between freedoms of personal expression and the ever-illusive idea of “public morality.” There are many places today we see this intersection. When it comes to issues surrounding pornography many questions come to mind:

  • Questions about public decency: Are there things that should be only done or viewed in private?
  • Questions about consent: Should people be protected from the uninvited intrusion of erotic images displayed by someone else?
  • Questions about secondary effects: Should we limit the adult entertainment industry because it might encourage prostitution, sexual assault, or other criminal activity?
  • Questions of social injustice: How should we crack down on child pornography?
  • Questions of legal authority: What kinds of speech, if any, were never intended to be protected by the First Amendment?

The verdict is still out on the proposed library Internet policy. After a lengthy private meeting with the library’s attorney, the Board of Trustees presented the policy to the gathering crowds. The policy prohibits the “violation of any applicable federal, state, or local laws, ordinances, rules,or regulations including obscenity, child pornography, and material deemed harmful to minors as defined by law.” Filtering will be put on all computers. Patrons can have the filter disabled on two designated computers in the case of an over-blocking filter.

Tomorrow the new policy will likely be voted on.

  • Comments on: Porn at the Library – What’s the best policy?
    1. Jeff Fisher on

      CE –

      Great job in sticking with this issue and taking a public stance. People need to think about these issues and not be passive.

      People misunderstand “First Ammendment” and feel like they have to tolerate and accept things they disagree with in the name of free speech.

      Please keep us aprised of your progress.

      Reply

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