It’s a story as old as time. Library has patrons browsing porn on library computers. Other patrons complain about the porn. Library solves problem by installing some kind of privacy hoods on computers that will make porn users feel like Darth Vader and frighten off any complaining patrons.
In all the tireless debate over whether people have the right to look at porn in a library or not, no one asks whether libraries should really be spending money on porn terminals during hard times. And forget the porn thing.
When I walk into a library, it’s mostly people checking Facebook and playing Farmville or some other Zynga clickety click crap.
Last month I asked whether the transformation of the New York Public Library from book depot to teen hangout with Farmville stations really served its core mission?
I refused to support NYPL’s latest begging letter campaign because I see it eliminating book departments like crazy while buying laptops to loan out so people can play Farmville and watch porn. That’s not what a library is. Science Fiction sections have been eliminated or moved as far as possible in many libraries. And books are a library’s core mission.
I’m sorry if some people don’t have a computer at home that they can use to play Farmville or watch porn. Maybe they can make their own Kickstarter. But if a library is going to have computers, they should be research terminals.
There’s no reason why funds should be diverted from books to subsidizing Farmville\Porn habits. And putting it special terminals for porn watching turns a library into the old Times Square. What’s next bringing in strippers to the reserved books section?
Moments like this are a wake up call for library and city officials who have to decide whether they want libraries to be places to find books or not.