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Letter: A 'Filthy' Experience at the Library

One resident recounts a particularly "filthy" experience at the North Kingstown Free Library.

The beginning of July 2012 I was at the using the computer for various reasons. After a while of sitting, it's human nature to look around the room and such. I happened to glance over at the gentleman sitting next to me who was a bit older and realized, much to my disgust, he was looking at pornography – in full view of anyone who happened to walk by, including any of the many children there that day.  

As soon as he realized I had caught him, he closed the browser, stood up and scurried out of the building like a common roach! I stood up, walked over to the man who happened to be working at the library that day and pointed out the man to him and what happened. All the man did was say "OK" and go about his day.  

I was flabbergasted. I went back to the terminal I was using, gathered up my things and went upstairs to the main desk and requested to speak with whomever was currently in charge.  The woman that came to speak to me explained to me that unless they themselves catch the person doing so, there wasn't anything she or anyone else could do and that such material isn't blocked by their terminals.

Seriously?  Also, there is no means to track their user name/number to determine the man's identity. My jaw dropped. Somehow, I find this hard to believe, when the police, etc. are able to do so all the time. So, as you can see, I think there is a gross mismanagement of taxpayer funds and a complete disregard for people who go there and what they may encounter! 

Who knew the library could be so filthy!

Jennifer Atack

MeanE August 21, 2012 at 04:16 PM
http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2012/04/fed-court-proves-not-censorship-to.html It looks like you should become a Watchdog Jennifer. It seems like this is a universal problem that has been in the courts for some time. Thanks for alerting the public. I bet most townspeople, like myself, assume that there are filters in place to not allow viewing these sites in public! Hopefully you can impact a change!
Bill G August 21, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Pornography should be private. Period.
LED August 21, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Jennifer, call the police and inquire about what you should do if you do see someone again at the library ... if the guy was looking at "illegal" pornography - that should be reported anyways. The library can track what websites the person was on through "history". File a complaint with the police department ~ they can determine if any laws were broken. Like public display of pornography? I don't know the laws, sorry.... but they can advise us and the library on appropriate public behavior ~ and then there is a record of the incident, if this guy is a repeat offender, maybe they can catch him! Don't you have to give your library card and be assigned to a computer at the library - then there would be a tracking method? When in doubt, call the police. They are grateful to help us understand the laws!
Cyndi Desrochers August 22, 2012 at 01:26 PM
The library computers do have filters on them. I am available if anyone has questions or wants to discuss this matter. - Cyndi Desrochers, Library Director
MeanE August 22, 2012 at 01:56 PM
@Cyndi - We're listening. How do you then explain Jennifer's experience? "The woman that came to speak to me explained to me that unless they themselves catch the person doing so, there wasn't anything she or anyone else could do and that such material isn't blocked by their terminals. Seriously? Also, there is no means to track their user name/number to determine the man's identity. "
M. A. Waterbury August 22, 2012 at 04:15 PM
man oh man, this situation is difficult from all sides for all good reason(s), but all positions are trumped by the fact that this is still America and the library is NOT the place for Putin tactics. Jennifer's free will was not taken away-she could have moved, but in fact, porno-guy gave up his seat when he realized he made her uncomfortable. There is a lot going on in society that I don't like, but using the principle of "live and let live" helps me to MYOB and distinguish between real harmful situations and my own issues with control. Besides, what will he be charged with if a witch hunt is constructed? Being a pig?
MeanE August 22, 2012 at 06:38 PM
@ M.A. can you stand on the street in Wickford with a poster of pornographic nature for all to see? Can a store front display porn on a monitor for all to see? Just because we are in America does not give a person the "right" to view porn on public computers in a public setting. Whatever the law is that does not allow for the examples I have posted, should fall under the same category for viewing porn in a public place, especially a public place that has children present! IMO, you are just as sick as the man in the library. I would not be surprised if you are the man in the library! You make it seem like this guy was a gentleman, give me a break!
Lori Grayson August 22, 2012 at 08:13 PM
It is very disturbing to me that this man was able to do this. IT is not doing a very good job with their filtering of pornographic material. It is too easy for a child to sit at that pc next pull up history.
Lori Grayson August 22, 2012 at 08:17 PM
It is a PUBLIC library, not his home. There is no such thing as MYOB when kids can be exposed. Not to mention the ewwwwww factor. He had people next to him...Ewwwww!
JB August 22, 2012 at 08:52 PM
How is it that these web sites aren't blocked? You can put parental controls on a cable box for goodness sake. The log in info is a good question too. How can someone log in without an account? That is the key to me. Access to a site may slip through, but at least they will know who the culprit is.
UnfilteredHonesty August 23, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Not sure if cyndi was the woman I spoke to or not but I certainly am disgusted at how this was handled period. And the fact I was lied to about filters is even more ridiculous. ~jennifer atack
MeanE August 23, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Curious as to why Cyndi has not responded since her original post? I am also disgusted to find out that M. A. is actually a woman who lives in Wickford and seems to want to stick her head in the sand!
UnfilteredHonesty August 23, 2012 at 07:13 PM
@mean something tells me she doesn't plan to respond on any level in view of the public, but what can I say, at least I did my part and made it a public issue for us all to keep an eye out shrugs @m.a. seriously? myob? when the library had children walking around? myob? you have more issues than just control if you feel anyone should myob
UnfilteredHonesty August 23, 2012 at 07:14 PM
we're all waiting with baited breath
UnfilteredHonesty August 27, 2012 at 06:05 PM
To whomever felt the need to go running to my mommy and daddy about this letter ................. you are part of the problem!! You are the reason people are so hesitant to stand up for what's right and do the right thing and have their name attached to something!! You are a snake and should have had the cahones to come to me directly! Stay out of my business from now on, mmmk?
mike fisher November 28, 2012 at 11:39 PM
American Library Association believes in "intellectual freedom". You can learn more about their policies. The computer users are supposed to respect others' privacy and you shouldn't be watching another person's computer screen
UnfilteredHonesty November 29, 2012 at 01:01 AM
You must be the perv in question, because in a public library you have no expectation of privacy! duh!

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