I came upon an article that should cause some debate among librarians. Should a librarian be fired for reporting a man that was watching ‘child pornography’ on the internet computers at the public library?
As librarians we are in agreement that it is important to preserve the patrons rights and freedoms when it comes to reading material. We do not want to be in the position of police guards and we need to protect the rights of patrons to research topics that may be controversial.
However, when it comes to pornography there are many of us who may be of two minds. Obviously there are criminal laws are in existence to control images or texts that promote violence or hatred towards another race. And the same exist to protect women and children.
Some may argue that women who actively participate in pornography are not being harmed, this is debatable but can be left for another discussion.
The question is whether children should be protected from child pornography. I would argue that by the very fact that we have a category called ‘child pornography’ we are enabling a crime.
Supposedly pornography is acceptable in our society because the participants are voluntary.
Any text or image that uses children sexually should immediately be categorized as a crime. There is no such thing as ‘child pornography’ ; any image or text promoting children in the sexual act is a crime.
In the case of this librarian, who had come across this patron at least twice watching the degradation of children on the public access computers, did she not do the right thing by reporting him to the police?
Or is the librarians’ mandate to protect intellectual freedom and rights paramount?