It turns out you can get more at the Fremont library than most people probably realized. Last month I learned you can get free art museum passes, and this month I learned you can get free access to pornography on the library’s computers.
But a Fremont resident, who asked that his name not be printed, is waging a battle to make the library block porn sites on all of its computer terminals.
Right now, only the children’s room has internet filters, and that’s the way it’s going to stay, said Sallie Pine, who runs the reference desk.
“We are not going to police what people do with regard to access to the internet,” she said. “It’s a first amendment issue.” If someone, like the nameless Fremont man, rats out a porn site visitor, the librarian will remind them that it’s not the best place to view such sites, but he/she won’t boot them from the terminal. “As uncomfortable as I am with someone coming to the library to do that, they have that right,” Pine said.
The right also extends to hate web sites. The exception is if the site includes illegal material, such as kiddy pron. In that case, the cops get called.
The computers do have privacy screens, which make it difficult for passersby to see what people are looking at, but Mr. nameless Fremont man, says he and others somehow manage to see pron anyway. “I’ve had children stop in their tracks,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense. If two people take off their clothes and start having sex in the public library they will be removed.”
One more tidbit. San Jose’s library has filters at all their internet terminals because they accept a form of federal funding, which requires that all recipients install filters, Pine said. Alameda County doesn’t get the federal funds, so they don’t have to install the filters.