The San Antonio Public Library's policy of not using any filters to block hard core pornography from being viewed at library computers will come up for review by the Library Board this evening, 1200 WOAI news reports.
City Councilman Ron Nirenberg is pushing the board to order filters installed to prevent children from inadvertently viewing hard core material on library computers, and to meet the provisions of a law mandating steps be taken to protect children.
Library spokeswoman Caitlin Cowart says even though no web sites are blocked, the library does take steps to make sure porn is not viewed on the library's banks of publicly available computers.
"Users of the Internet have to agree to a code of conduct before logging onto the Internet," she says.
"All of the computer are out in public areas, and we have reference and circulation staff that are around and keep an eye on things."
Library staffers say patrons exposing children to hard core web porn has not been a problem at San Antonio Library branches.
Libraries generally are averse to blocking web sites based on their content. Libraries consider themselves to be a bastion of free speech, and many libraries have expressed concern that if certain content is 'censored,' by a public library, that opens the door for additional web sites to be blocked based on social or even political content.
Also, Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's famous comment about pornography comes into play.
Stewart famously said in one case involving pornography, "I can't define what pornography is, but I know it when I see it."
The question is what actually qualifies as 'hard core pornography' and who would make the decision on what sites would be blocked under the rule.