New York City Libraries: Providing Education and Titillation

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Warning: The following article contains graphic descriptions of what you might see at a New York City library.

One of six-year-old Sally’s favorite activities is her weekly trip to the library with her mom to pick out the books she wants to read during the week. Sally and her mom arrive at the Brooklyn Public Library, and as they pass the computer terminals Sally looks over and asks her mom what those people on screen are doing. Mom, with one horrified look, sees a circle of men surrounding a woman and ejaculating on her.

Fourteen-year-old Hal goes to the library after school to use the computer for research on his history paper. While looking up information, he hears moaning noises from the computer terminal next to his. He looks over and sees a woman being violated by three men at once. The man sitting in front of the screen watching this has his hand down his pants.

While these two scenarios are fictional, they could be occurring at a New York City Public Library branch right now. The library officials defend providing pornography as a First Amendment right.

According to the local CBS News affiliate in New York, “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 told CBS. “It’s difficult, but we err on the side of free and open access.”

That “free and open access” is provided courtesy of New York City taxpayers.

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Director and Senior Fellow for Concerned Women for America‘s Beverly LaHaye Institute, said, “It is bad enough that pornographic materials are available in the public library; it is even worse that taxpayer dollars are funding such blatant violations of public decency and the irresponsible decision to provide obscene and sexually provocative materials that threaten the safety of our children and teens.”

Crouse added, “These materials already threaten our children by their easy accessibility on our home computers. Surely decent people will not sanction the possibility of exposing our children to pornography in our public libraries?”

Mr. Reyes-Gavilan insists that pornography is protected by the First Amendment, which is not an argument supported by the United States Supreme Court.

The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Obscenity is a legal definition, and much of what we know as “pornography” meets the legal definition. If pornographic material meets the three criteria listed below, it is obscenity.

The “Miller test” or the “Three-prong test” was established in Miller v. California (1973) as the basis for determining what material is obscene. If material meets all three of these criteria, 1 it is obscene:

(a) whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards” would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,

(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and

(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

People who watch pornography in public view in the library obviously have no decency or inhibitions. The public library is encouraging them in their inappropriate behavior. So what happens when an aroused and excited “patron” leaves the computer and finds a vulnerable child or woman in the library stacks or stairwell? Will New York City Public Libraries deny complicity in fostering a potentially dangerous environment?

In 1973, the Supreme Court stated in Miller v. California,

This Court has recognized that the States have a legitimate interest in prohibiting dissemination or exhibition of obscene material when the mode of dissemination carries with it a significant danger of offending the sensibilities of unwilling recipients or of exposure to juveniles. 2, [Footnote omitted.]

Fourteen-year-old Julio Sosa, as quoted in the New York Post, understands this. Julio, who likes to play video games on the computers, says porn watchers should be booted.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to watch it,” he said. “You don’t know if a minor like myself could be walking by.”

So often we hear politicians and public officials say something is being done “for the children.” In New York City Public Libraries, policies are evidently put in place for the perverts.

For more information about the harm of pornography, please visit our Brochure page.

End Notes
Miller v. California (1973) 413 U.S. 24 Miller v. California (1973) 413 U.S. 18-19