Late Enough I Ask Advice Button

I Ask: Would You Turn In The Library Porn Watcher?

I’m at the library where they ban the Twitter over WiFi and yelled at me once for listening to voicemails on my cellphone. And I’m currently watching a guy sit at the mainframe computers. (That’s what I’m calling them. The group computers provided by the library. With 2-10 in a set of desks).

And he is totally watching porn. Not like reading erotic. Like a video close-up of woman with a penis in her mouth. And I think: Maybe he’s into exhibitionism which is why he’s on a public computer in the library with a minimum of six people around but when someone walks by he immediately closes the browser. Plus, he seems to only be watching at the moment. (But not for a dissertation. He’s not taking notes either)

Do I turn him in?

Yes, it’s creepy that he’s watching it where I could have my children. (It’s the adult section of the library but not THAT kind of adult section of the library. I also feel the need to note that I don’t have my children with me today.)

But I waiver.

For two reasons.

First, I think: HE’LL KNOW IT’S ME! And a guy who’s brave enough to watch porn on a public computer may be brave enough to follow me out of the library. (Thanks a lot Law and Order.)

Second, I kinda feel sorry for him. I’m guessing that he has no home computer. Which makes me hug my computer just a little tighter right now.

So instead I’m typing the story to you. And occasionally looking up to giggle and cringe.

I ask: Would you turn him in?

UPDATE: A second guy sat down at the computer after porn-looker guy. And he is ALSO LOOKING at pornography. Maybe that particular computer has been slated for this purpose? At least the librarians KNOW where these guys are at all times and can shift the kids and faint-of-heart elsewhere.

PS. This is not a referendum on pornography. This is about the where and when. And the how awkward it is that I chose to sit and blog it out. Possibly.

Answer that I wish I had thought of while writing the post. Because it’s funnier than me. Dana writes: I think the creep factor would lead me to want to turn in the library porn watcher, but I would likely chicken out because of the Law & Order factor. Or what if it’s the new gang initiation, instead of driving at night with no lights on and waiting for someone to flash their headlights so they can follow them home and kill them, geek style gangs are watching porn in the library to see who turns them in and then they follow them home and do horrible things like kill their wifi … I’m assuming computer based geek style gangs don’t actually kill people. Also, I’m pretty sure that since a second guy sat down after the first guy it’s definitely the gang initiation one.

Answer I accomplished this week. WHOA. I really CAN take suggestions. Jenni Chiu writes: I would probably/eventually/secretly ask the Librarian about it- but only after I told all my cyber friends about it. also, ew.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents an 2 elementary age children, 4 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

56 thoughts on “I Ask: Would You Turn In The Library Porn Watcher?

  1. Heck-to-the-yeah I’d turn them in. Just b/c of the creep factor alone.

    And not having a home computer is no excuse. I’m pretty sure they have DVD players, and at the very least a VHS player. If not, they should go to the flea market where they can get one for a buck! Even a VHS tape would have better quality porn than what they were watching, I’m sure!

    Then again, they probably live with their moms…

  2. I would turn him in if he whipped it out or shoved his hand down his pants, or if there were kids around. If he’s just watching and it’s only grownups, then I’d let someone who was offended by it turn him in. But it is hilarious that you blogged about it! :)

    1. That was my line at the time. Although judging from the comments here, you and I are in the minority. Which is okay by me. Maybe next time one of my commenters can turn him in whlie I live-blog his reaction!

  3. I think the creep factor would lead me to want to turn in the library porn watcher, but I would likely chicken out because of the Law & Order factor. Or what if it’s the new gang initiation, instead of driving at night with no lights on and waiting for someone to flash their headlights so they can follow them home and kill them, geek style gangs are watching porn in the library to see who turns them in and then they follow them home and do horrible things like kill their wifi … I’m assuming computer based geek style gangs don’t actually kill people.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that since a second guy sat down after the first guy it’s definitely the gang initiation one.
    Dana recently posted..It might be the flu blogging

    1. Hysterical!

      I agree with the geek gang initiation. It also sounds like something my 16 yr old’s friends would dare each other to do.

      Was anyone taking video for a youtube post? Did they ever get in trouble? And was there a good money shot?

      1. He was definitely not 16. Although if I had been there would’ve TOTALLY been a youtube video of this. Because I was nice like that.
        And “was there a good money shot?” question is still making me laugh.

    2. HA! Maybe MY reaction was ALSO apart of the gang initiation. Soon I’ll get a secret letter underneath my door with a wax seal inviting me to join the secret library porn society. It’s like all my dreams are coming true.

  4. Wow! How could you possibly imagine turning him in for watching porn and still call yourself a liberal? If he were surfing gun sites, that would be different. As for blogging it? Only creepy if you had included pictures. Eww.
    Walt recently posted..Dragnet

      1. This IS becoming a full service blog. Thanks “Safe”. Can I call you “Safe”? Wasn’t asking for pictures. Was saying it would be creepier with pictures.
        Walt recently posted..Dragnet

    1. exactly. i monitored him closely for Thank You W pins and Tea Bags. When those weren’t present? I continued blogging.

      Also, I only got a picture of his feet. Don’t ask.

  5. Yep—-turn him in. If people want to look at porn, they need to do it in the privacy of their own homes so that the rest of us don’t have to deal with it. Unbelievable……..

      1. I am totally coming with you! Same date and time you think? Is this a habit of porn watching? I wonder. Bah! I’m dying to know what library it was. I have an immediate family member (not one that lives under our roof) that had/has a true addiction to porn. If it weren’t for someone spilling the beans when he was caught it would have truly ruined a marriage…thought it was not at a library. Eww. Should we wear superhero outfits with one of those naked girl trucker symbols crossed out on the chest?! That would be so great.

      1. I work in a law school library and we don’t get much porn (sadly, it is much more boring here…*much*), but I live in a super conservative area and our public libraries use software that keeps certain sites accessed by certain words.

        One beef with the software is that it is rumored to block searches like “breast cancer” because, hello!, breasts are dirty.
        Korinna recently posted..More pictures where I am not present

        1. Korinna, filters no longer block breast cancer. See ACLU v. Gonzales, E.D. Pa., March 2007 [ACLU expert and court agrees Internet filters are about 95% effective and no longer block out breast cancer and other health-related information–so effective that another law, COPA [Children’s Online Protection Act], was found unconstitutional].

  6. Ugh, so gross. The good news is that 99% of the creepers get embarrassed and leave after being approached by the librarian. So tell if you want but know that there is that 1% who are going to stick around and exercise his/her right to view whatever they want (unless it is illegal like child porn, obviously).
    Also, the idea of having a designated “porn computer” makes me laugh. We could hang a big sign on it like we do for the “scanner computer”. Ha!

    1. Oh my, I should have TOTALLY made a sign and just dropped it in his lap. And yes that 1% OR the 1% of the 99% that waits around to let me know how much I embarrassed him? Or am I just paranoid. (also just just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean it won’t happen. although i read this GREAT quote: worrying totally works. 99% of the things that I worry about NEVER happen)

  7. I think it would depend on my mood and whether I had my daughter with me. I have seen people watching porn on public library computers and didn’t turn them in. But it was before I was a mom. Now, I think I’d do more thinking about it, for exactly the same reasons you did.

    I’m sure I would blog about it too! lol You crack me up girl.

    1. At the time, I chose to blog and once I was done, I just left (to pick up my daughter). (Although i passed him coming back down the stairs and got a picture. But of his feet so no real evidence. Better than his hand I guess. EW!)

  8. I would rat him out. But maybe after he left, so he couldn’t stalk me.
    Can’t the library block sites? I know, I know, librarians are opposed to censorship. So am I. But some places are inappropriate for porn. Like public libraries. Maybe at the pubic library. Which is what I accidentally typed first.
    I need sleep.
    Kate recently posted..All in all- a good day

  9. I manage a library in Southern California. Our company policy forbids library staff from interfering with customer activity (unless violent or threatening) unless another customer complains. I highly recommend that you do complain so that staff can handle the situation. We hate dealing with the creepy pervs too but are often not allowed to make the first move to deal with them. So YES! Please report these jerk offs (pun intended)

    1. Alicia,

      Will you please consider contacting me so that I may publicize your story on my SafeLibraries blog? I’ll do it anonymously if you wish. Even better, you may write your own guest blog post and I’ll post it.

      Thanks.

  10. I would say something to the librarian for sure.

    But first I would relish sitting down at the computer right next to him. Then I’d strike up a conversation. It would go something like this:

    Man, public browsers are so slow aren’t they?

    …. pause…

    I can’t even get cnn.com to come up!

    …pause…

    Are YOU having a hard time streaming? Maybe I should try another computer.

    (move to computer on the OTHER side of him)

    …repeat until the library porn viewing stops….

  11. Umm…coming back to post a suggestion of the Super Sleuth variety: you could’ve totally CALLED the library and posed as a library patron who witnessed it but then left.

    Then! Porny Pete would have no idea it was you and would be unable to stalk you a la Law & Order.
    Korinna recently posted..Random useless tidbits

    1. okay. this is awesome. and totally super sleuthy. im slow in telling you this. but you need to know it’s awesomeness. Also his name is TOTALLY porny pete

  12. I thought Peter Griffin was the only one doing that.

    You can’t go to Twitter in your library but porn is ok? Rather than turn him in, I’d simply tell the librarian: “I understand if Twitter is off limits, but do you provide a roll of toilet paper for those viewing porn sites from here?” She’ll look at you confused and then you can simply say oh yeah, that’s what your computer, i.e. MY tax money is being used for!

    It’s so wrong, and library staff should be notified… And YES blog about it, it’s a good story!
    Miss Nikki recently posted..This isnt a post- Im just annoying my followers

  13. oh my good grief. can’t he just get a magazine or something? or rent a movie? I feel sad for this dude (and I guess more than one?), that he has to go to the library to get his porn. that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. I don’t know if I’d turn him in. I’d have to be in the situation to know. but yeesh.

  14. Turn him in. He could be someone who will go on to attack children (or others, including librarians).

    Better yet, turn in the library. Legal porn, while legal, does not need to be in a public library just because library policy forces it on a community. If you would like, contact me and I will attempt to arm you with information you may use to take action to force the library to adhere to the law, community standards, and common sense.

  15. dear god, a porn computer…stocked with tissues and hand sanitizer, i hope.

    i used to run the magazine section at a bookstore, and while we did not stock actual porn, we carried a number of “artsy” magazines which, if you knew to look, contained nudie photos. the bane of my existence was these few obnoxious teenagers who would come in (singly, not in a group) and stand around browsing forEVER. one of my greatest pleasures was harrassing and shaming them. clearly there wasn’t much else going on in my life. but i would totally have turned the library guy in. i don’t watch law & order, so it wouldn’t have occurred to me that i might wind up dead.
    vikki recently posted..Toy Story

  16. porn at home, cool, fine, whatever…YOUR BUSINESS. do what you gotta do. not for me, but I’m not judging you. however, porn at the public library? uh, NO. i don’t think so dude(s.)

    next time you see this desperate individual, I’d say, immediately write out a note and discreetly pass it to the librarian at the counter (i.e. ” dear librarian, I need to bring an immediate problem to your attention: the man at the porn station computer, er, i mean, computer #5, is watching INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT at this exact moment. is this legal and/or permissable at this public library branch? if not, please get him the bleep outta here immediately and revoke his bleepin card!)

    and wait, whoa there… desperate porn man – I thought you had to log in with your identification / library card, etc? and duh… isn’t your BROWSING HISTORY recorded? (or so I thought… or so Law and order led me to believe, when they track down people searching “how to poison your wife” and or “make a bomb in your garage” using library computer computer cookies…and then bust their uncovered internet trails in the last five minutes of the episode)

  17. I would like to think I’d turn him in but I might chicken out and then email all my friends and tell them about the perv at the library. If he was there the next time, I would definitely tell.

  18. If I saw that I would leave the library, then call the library and tell them I just left and why, describing the porn-viewer. That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about them looking around afterwards to see who might have turned them in.

    Watching porn in a public place is very degrading to both the viewer and whoever happens to notice it. Addiction is when you need something so much that you take risks in order to get it. They deserve to be reprimanded and hopefully embarrassed so they can fill their empty emotional hole at home. Porn belongs in the privacy of one’s home, period.

  19. Agree with the geek gang intervention. That said, yeah, I’d rat them out mainly because a child could walk by. And I agree that he sounds like an addict.

  20. Yah, I don’t think this has anything to do with whether or not pornography itself is okay/good/bad/right/wrong/exploitative, etc.

    There are places adults can go to express and enjoy themselves (to varying degrees depending on the location) in a private, appropriate environment where everyone is consenting, of age, and on the same page (one’s home, a strip club, an adult book store, swingers parties [yippee]).

    I think any kind of public and easily noticed sexual stimulation such as this is a potential cause for concern, and any form of public sexual activity (the images on the computer could be viewed by anyone walking by) is not okay unless it is in a location where everyone IS OF AGE and has already agreed that it’s okay by explicit or implied consent(see above locations). Call me old-fashioned, but I think sexual stuff should either be in private or in a place where you have to pay for it (huh? well, okay yah), but not in my public library.

    Next time I’m at my library I’m going to ask the librarian what their policy is about this (I wonder how that question will go over!), and I’m going to ask my cop friend what they would do if they received a complaint of this nature.

    Maybe super-glue a print-out of your blog and all the responses near the porn computer!

  21. Back when I actually worked in the youth area of the library, I would just tell kids to zip their pants and find something else to do. They usually were embarrassed enough to do it. Well, you asked.

Comments are closed.