As anyone who has ever caught a glimpse of the screens on the public computers at the San Francisco Library's main branch can tell you: people are often looking at porn on those things. Unlike your backwater suburban public library where Internet access is filtered to the point where even cat videos become questionable material, SFPL takes great pride in giving its patrons unfettered access to pretty much anything one could find on the World Wide Web. Rather than limit explicit materials, the library's main branch has installed new privacy screens so patrons can keep their kinky websites and NSFW materials to themselves.
While KTVU's local news crew seemed incredulous to learn that people might actually look at porn on public computers, one library patron sees it as something that comes with the territory at the main branch: "It seems kinda messed up, people doing that kinda stuff in a public environment," one Adrian Dumont explained. "I mean, people don't get on the bus and read Hustler in front of everybody." Which is true, but probably because they are all in the library looking at porn on the internet.
Meanwhile, nationally recognized City Librarian Luis Herrera explained the new privacy screens are part of the Library's commitment to free and equal access to information. "We're always looking for any kind of elegant solution that strikes a balance between the right to privacy and folks that want to use the library for any other intended purpose," Herrera said yesterday.
On the other hand, anti-porn group Morality in Media doesn't think the screens go far enough. "Even with those protector screens," Executive Director Dawn Hawkins explained, "people walking directly behind somebody can see porn. I mean porn in the library? There's no place for that." For someone who doesn't want to see porn in a library, it sounds like Hawkins has been trying pretty hard to look over everyone's shoulder.
Anyhow, the privacy screens are currently guarding 18 of the soon-to-be coveted porn viewing machines at the main brain library in Civic Center. The library may order more if they like what they see. In the meantime, public computers will also be displaying pop-up notices reminding users to be aware that they are in a public place.