Monday, January 28, 2008

My Library is So Boring

I don't talk about the library where I work, because if I did my many fans and enemies would be storming the building for autographs and retribution. But I can say this about the library--it's boring. I mean, really boring. Nothing exciting ever happens other than the free play of intellect over the human record, but we know most people find that pretty boring. We don't have any prostitutes hanging around outside the library. There aren't any drug pushers openly peddling their wares in the lobby. There might be some sex going on in the stacks, but if there is no librarians are involved. (That thought just caused a shudder to run down my spine.) We don't have any fistfights or violence. No one ever gets mugged in the parking lot. And, unlike the Mahopac Public Library, we don't have patrons arrested for viewing child pornography on our computers. For some reason, college students aren't big consumers of child pornography, and I for one am glad about that.

It must be nice to work in an exciting library where police confiscate a computer "after the arrest of a 53-year-old man from Brewster who the police said was caught downloading images of child pornography while at the library."

I assume they had a warrant, because there's nothing in the Times story to indicate that any brave librarian threw her body across the computer to protect the privacy of the child porn pervert. It's been a busy month at Mahopac, too. "Alice Walsh, the board president, said it was the second of two incidents this month involving computers that had the library staff scrambling to put measures in place that will help mitigate further incidents, while putting the public’s mind at ease that intellectual freedom — “the right to seek information” as protected under the First Amendment — remains a cornerstone of library use." For some reason I can never find that "right to seek information" clause in the first amendment, but to be honest the old eyes aren't what they once were.

The bizarre thing is that the library board will actually be meeting to discuss ways to solve this problem. Obviously, the librarians and library board members at Mahopac Public Library are unaware that as far as the ALA is concerned, there is no problem. Child porn is fine as long as the patrons don't get caught.

"'Grappling with what constitutes the rights of citizens in their pursuit of knowledge versus the protection of those same citizens from the use of obscenity is “a delicate balance,”' Ms. Walsh said.

'This is something we never thought we’d have to address in library school,' she said."

Of course she never thought she'd have to address the issue, because according to the dominant library ideology there's no justification for protecting citizens from obscenity, child pornography, or anything else. This crazy person actually believes that people have any right to walk through a public library without feeling like they've stumbled into a porn theater. With radical attitudes like that, it's no wonder such exciting things go on in the library.

If only things got that crazy around my library. Then I could start an anonymous blog and tell you all about them. Alas, such is not to be. As I go back to work in my very boring library, I can only gaze longingly from a distance at the exciting things that happen in places like Mahopac Public.

30 comments:

Dances With Books said...

I knew I could count on you yet again. I saw that remark about "we never thought we'd need to address it in library school" and simply marveled. I don't know what library school she went to, but we certainly at least addressed it somewhat. Don't get too excited though. It was not about common sense and how we should not be protecting child porn fiends. Oh no. More like the idea of let them have it and who am I to question it (I am not making this up. I raised some question over parents having a say on what their kids see, and you should have been there to see the riot. They almost had to take me out of that classroom via the back door escorted by security in riot gear).

And don't get me wrong. I believe you should be able to seek out whatever you want on the Internet (as long as it is legal). Having said that, if your taste runs for the adult entertainment, don't do it in a public computer in the library. Common sense, which heaven forbid, is lacking.

P.S. The Webtamer was featuring something today about LIS student e-mails, and one that wanted to ditch all library rules. Of course, Dr. Tamer is all for that. Your take? Maybe he is also all for taking out the "you should not view child porn" in the library rule?

j- said...

I find it puzzling when liberals tell you how to live your life in each and every other regard [don't eat this, don't drink that, don't use this lightbulb, don't drive that car, don't smoke this, do smoke that, hire this person but not that person, etc.], but suddenly remember the Constitution when they claim they can't do anything about people wanting to view hardcore porn on a public computer.

I also wonder why their knowledge of Amendments seems to stop after the 1st one.

Anonymous said...

Before getting too incensed..Child pornography is illegal on any computer.

skeptical thomas said...

This latest post by AL on her boring library was indeed boring. Fait accompli, coincidence or pure genius? If only I could stop wondering so I get back to my boring cold day, where no liberals or amendments break my daily monotony.

Canadian Girl said...

I, too, work in a boring library. No internet pornography issues (that I know about, anyway), almost all our customers are pleasant, no alcohol or drug abuse on the premises, and no security guards. I may be living in a bubble, but I like it.

Anonymous said...

God knows conservatives *never* tell anyone how to live or think. Well, politics aside, I am going to go out on a limb and say that so long as libraries provide computers with internet access, they are going to have this problem - filters or not. But I get AL's point. Maybe if the child porn were of a Kenyan tribal nature, the ALA would release a statement.

Anonymous said...

I thought public libraries promoted life long learners?

Where are people like Pete Townsend and the like going to go to learn now?

Certainly not Mahopac

Kristen said...

I'm getting really tired of the "We never learned that in library school" quotes. I have yet to see one regarding a topic that I did NOT hear about in library school. And I went to a low-ranked school!

A regional library director recently appeared in an op-ed warning parents about all the harm that their kids can get into while using library computers (mostly MySpace stalkers). The piece went further to discuss all the generally inappropriate things that people were viewing and how there would soon be a public meeting on what to do about it, and I wondered whether that would get him in trouble with ALA types.

AL said...

I did think the "never learned about this in library school" was odd. All this came up in various places in my library school, and I wasn't even looking for it, since they're mostly public library issues.

k said...

It amazes me that so many librarians and the ALA condone this kind of thing. It's literally baffling - and I'm a fairly liberal person. But where is the common sense? If they keep going down this road, what's next? Hate groups using the meeting rooms? And another thing - libraries haven't traditionally carried adult videos or subscriptions to Playboy. How is computer porn any different? Why does this form of porn suddenly have a place in the library in the name of intellectual freedom? Sometimes I get the feeling that the real reason is that it's harder to regulate and librarians are too lazy and/or timid to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for A.L.

Colleen said...

Hm, it was addressed in every class when I was an MLS student (2005-2006). And AL, don't be sad. Drama in the library isn't all it's cracked up to be. Drunk homeless folks at 3am in our 24-hour library, the porninators, the drunken co-eds, the guys who removed books from compact shelving, and the naked guy who undressed and slept on the reference desk...none of it made me any happier. Though I WILL say I really enjoyed the pissy look I got from a snootful of cops when they wanted our computers without a warrant...that was fun.

Vampire Librarian said...

Had the same thing happen at my library. The cops didn't need a warrant. They were told child porn was being viewed. They investigated, found the guy was downloading the images to disks, and arrested him.

The viewing of child porn is illegal in my state. Doesn't matter if you're in the library or not.

http://vampirelibrarian.blogspot.com/2005/06/ding-dong-perv-is-gone-ii.html

Anonymous said...

K, what constitutes a hate group?

Child pornography is very easy to define, but give me a concrete definition of hate group.

Thanks.

Library Elf said...

I think my library has got you beat in the boring department. Not even intellectual thought graces its doors.

JJJ Schmidt said...

FYI -- ”She’s likely to be high-maintenance, but a serious drinker. Martini women are typically stressed out, depressed and looking to shift their mood.” (Source - Maxim Magazine Nov. 2007)

Cocktail Psychology: The Revealing Truth Behind Your Girl’s Favorite Drink -- http://www.coedmagazine.com/entertainment/5246

Consider the source....

Anonymous said...

If you're surprised that something wasn't covered in someone else's library school, wait a few years. They'll pass fast. In the meantime, want to hear about microfiche and DOS commands?

The creepiest patron yet downloaded Sears Portrait Studio type photos of children. Made me think twice about what I put on my flickr page.

AL said...

"FYI -- ”She’s likely to be high-maintenance, but a serious drinker. Martini women are typically stressed out, depressed and looking to shift their mood.” (Source - Maxim Magazine Nov. 2007)"

That explains a lot.

Anonymous said...

Here's my favorite public library child porn story. We have a regular patron who looks, at first glance, like the stereotype of a homeless person. He's been involved in an intensive study of film, mainly the silent era but into the 1940s. One day another patron looked over his shoulder while he was online, and thought he was looking at child pornography. He was actually looking at the list of Shirley Temple movies on the Internet Movie Database.

Anonymous said...

I have to confess that my library isn't boring. But the excitement comes from the staff - truly mental behaviours, substance abuse, domestic relationships akin to any HBO series. Keeps everyone coming to work if only to hear the latest gossip and the buzz around the next would-be grievance.

Guess that means that the customers are boring.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it Roseann Roseanna Danna who said:

The thing about child porn is that if children want to view porn they should do it at home or on the computers in the children's section of the library, not out where adults can see it, too.

Oh, wait ... never mind.

Kevin Musgrove said...

You've not lived until you've had to act as the procedural conduit between library managers who haven't yet mastered the new technologies of the card catalogue cabinet, the computer crime section of the local gendarmerie and some aging adolescent with a few buttons missing from his clothing.

It must be life: I found myself praying for death.

Anonymous said...

libraries haven't traditionally carried... subscriptions to Playboy.

I worked for a library once that subscribed to the audio edition of Playboy. For the blind.

(?)

No joke.

SafeLibraries.org said...

I now know where AL works! And I do want an autograph! Since libraries nationwide are infected with "exciting" things brought to you by the ALA, since AL's library is "boring," that means only one possible library in the USA. "Canadian Girl" said she works in a boring library too, but that's in Canada. So AL's library is now easy to find.

Hey Vampire Librarian, will you please put your link in again? The current one is 404.

SafeLibraries.org said...

Here is Vampire Librarian's link:

Ding Dong the Perv is Gone II

j- said...

*God knows conservatives *never* tell anyone how to live or think. *

Please give us some examples where conservatives have been successful in telling people how to live their lives--besides the Emancipation Proclamation. The Left seems to want to socially (re)engineer everyone's life. It's not the Right that wants to shelve "Heather Has Two Mommies" or push "Islamic Tolerance Week" onto 1st graders.

Re: Libraries & Playboy: I worked at a library that had a couple decades worth of the hard copy of Playboy. Then, one year the title showed up in one of the online databases--with no pictures!--so the print sub was cancelled. My first thought was, too bad pervs--have fun trying to drag a PC terminal into the men's room.

Kristen said...

Wait -- Putting a book on the shelf is trying to control the lives of others but removing it from the shelf is not?

I skew conservative, but I can't argue with a straight face that the right doesn't get just as involved in what's none of their business as the left. If not worse, really.

You're just redefining things as protection. It's still interference.

j- said...

*Wait -- Putting a book on the shelf is trying to control the lives of others but removing it from the shelf is not?*

Yes, I guess I should have concentrated more on the fact that there are loads of people who want topics like this forcibly taught to very, very young children in the public schools. These are the same type of people who want to allow the undeterred viewing of porn in PUBLIC libraries.

Anonymous said...

The last time I checked, the Pope was considered pretty conservative and he's always trying to tell everyone how to live their lives...

And if you want to get more local, try the late Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and just about any politician who says you should live your life a particular way, when they themselves are engaging in the exact behavior they are condemning.

Anonymous said...

"The last time I checked, the Pope was considered pretty conservative and he's always trying to tell everyone how to live their lives..."

That is the Pope's JOB. If you don't like what he has to say, you are free to ignore him. The Inquisition doesn't come around much anymore...

We all go around telling people how to live their lives: politicians, religious leaders, parents - heck, even the AL writes about what we should and should not be doing.