Monday, November 04, 2013

FYI, About Seattle Public Libraries

Seattle Public Libraries has decided that it's okay to carry a firearm into our public libraries.  Just like it's okay to view hard-core porn in the libraries as well. 

From KUOW:

The library’s board reversed its long-standing rule banning firearms after reviewing a state Supreme Court ruling last year allowing firearms in parks and community spaces. 

Marilynne Gardner, the library’s chief financial and administrative officer, said the rule change doesn’t mean people may now pull out their guns in the library. She said intimidated patrons could “immediately go to the nearest library staff person and inform them of their concerns.”

“And then we would talk with the person and assess the situation,” Gardner said. “Is the person indeed, legally carrying a firearm, and is it acceptable behavior?”

You have to feel for these librarians and other staff if this is now part of their job description.

We were the only library system in the state of Washington that was not complying with the law,” Gordon said. “When we reviewed our rules of conduct, it seemed reasonable, given other library systems, to comply with state law.”

The library came under fire recently for its policy allowing patrons to view pornography at its public computer terminals – the view being that no content should be censored.

In 2012, Julie Howe, a mother of two, spotted a man watching hardcore pornography, his computer screen facing the rest of the library. When she complained to a librarian, the librarian was sympathetic but told her there was nothing she could do because of the library’s open Internet policy.

Personally, I don't see why you need to carry a gun into a library.

Just so you know, in case you and your children use the public library system.  


Anonymous said...

After friend of mine took her kids to the Magnolia library, her 11 year old son found her in the stacks and he was visibly shaken. She thought he was hurt, but he'd been in the children's section and glanced over and saw a man looking at porn on a computer. The mom approached a librarian and was told their policy. She aksed if they could at least ask the man to use a computer that wasn't in view of the children's section and they would not. In the interest of adults' free speech, childrens' rights not to be exposed to violent, traumatizing images can be violated. Her child cannot "un-see" that.

Eric B said...

Unfortunately, the guns are very much unlike porn. Porn use is under policy, so it can be changed at any time. The gun rule is courtesy of the state Supreme Court and the Legislature. There's a heck of a lot of change that has to come to change the gun policy.

I understand why the porn policy is what it is, but I wonder if there isn't a better way to manage it.

liberal mother said...

I heard this on the radio and about threw up. On the heals of shootings in airports (and everywhere else), they make this decision? I understand state and federal law trumps library policy, but couldn’t they have challenged it more vigorously? Should we, in response, ask for the protection of a force armed library guards?

As for porn, the policy sucks. I’m sure The Stranger (which I like), for example, would rip them if they made any restrictions, and First Amendment law might have something to say (though, Eric, you said it’s under user policy, not law). But they won't even restrict which computers can be used for viewing pornography? We’re not talking about your Uncle’s Playboys here. There is so much cruelty and extreme stuff out there. It’s just… sigh...
it gets harder and harder to raise kids. No wonder polls show that young people are not doing it and that parents are unhappy. No wonder there’s a conservative, “values-voting” backlash.

Patrick said...

The library does restrict the computers in the children's section of the library.

Lori said...

liberal mom, no, they couldn't really challenge it more forcefully because the city of Seattle already did legally challenge the state pre-emption law and lost. That's what Eric B was referencing.

And I'll add that when/if you do see someone openly carrying a firearm in a Seattle library, you have no way of knowing if that person is legally allowed to own a gun or not due to our spotty background check system.

Right now, you can go to a site like and find someone who will meet you in a parking lot and sell you a gun, no questions asked. Then you can openly carry that gun around town. (You only need a special license to carry a concealed weapon; anyone can open carry) The NY Times did a damning story about illegal internet sales just a few months ago:

Hopefully, Olympia will act on Initiative 594 in January, which will require all gun purchasers to be subjected to a criminal background check. If they don't act, the initiative goes to the people next November. It's a small but important step toward making it more difficult for prohibited persons to buy (and then openly carry) guns.

Anonymous said...

I was also sickened by the gun ruling (which is not a decision by the library, but, as others say, the state supreme court).

Does anyone know what the constraints are on guns in public buildings in WA state? Are guns allowed in our schools, as an extreme example? How about in John Stanford Center?


Patrick said...

How about courtrooms? How would the court feel about it if it was their workplace getting wackos with firearms in it?

Anonymous said...

We stopped bringing our kids into the library years ago. We browse online, put books on hold, and an adult makes a quick run in to pick them up and drop them off. I miss the old days when the library was a safe place for kids.


Anonymous said...

Of the two, prefer porn over guns in library. Library remains a safe place for kids! Downtown one has an enclosed area just for kids + you have to walk pass security to get there.