I have never considered myself to be prude. I have no problem openly discussing the birds and the bees. I don’t shy away from racy photos or videos…until one day, two months ago when I just about hurled. There we were, Ryder and I at our local Chicago Public Library. A few days earlier I had reserved some books on baby food making techniques. Since I quit breastfeeding after a few short weeks, I felt maybe this was my chance to redeem myself; homemade food! OK, I am deviating from the story.
With Ryder in his stroller, we head over to the librarian desk and kindly ask for some help in locating these books. While she quickly typed on her keyboard I couldn’t help but hear a low grunting noise, just feet away. I glance over my shoulder and quickly shudder at what I see. No more than 10 feet away are a row of computers. There was a young boy using one, who appeared to be researching something. There was an older lady on another, who appeared to be typing a letter. And then there was a middle aged man, watching a hardcore porn (involving a mechanical “device” and a tushy) GRUNTING; hands not visible, I might add.
I was shocked and repulsed all at the same time. The image on the screen, although disturbing was not AS disturbing as the fact that this man, felt it was appropriate to view such material at a public library. In my foolishness, I turned the stroller around as if my infant might know what he was watching and be scarred for life! I pointed this out to the librarian who simply shrugged her shoulders and quietly said “we don’t censor legal material here”. OK, well I get that. But pornography? We left shortly after. And now, I will fast forward to a month ago. Sun Times, page 4, I am the “anonymous River North mom” in the article entitled Pornography at the Library. Apparently, this is very much legal in Illinois but a controversial issue nonetheless.
Bottom line, I think it’s totally inappropriate. If this is “legal”, there should be private viewing rooms and privacy screens on all computers (and hand sanitizer everywhere I might add). Or there should be a warning system for parents and children entering the library: “Pornography Now Playing”. I just kept thinking; what if Ryder was a bit older and looked at me and said “Mommy, what is that?” I’m not usually at a loss for words but that one might have gotten me. Fortunately, I have a few years to come up with a potential response! So remember, next time you stop at your local IL library, don’t forget to check out the “special” section to spice up your day!