I don't think that roots in common sense give the idea any more validity once it is examined, i.e. if the conclusions of an in depth consideration conflict with common sense, we should not reject them simply because of that conflict. The common sense, especially surrounding sexual mores, is not particularly reasonable. In the US, it stems largely from outmoded religious dogma, and everywhere it varies significantly from culture to culture and from time to time.
It was that very outmoded Religious dogma that resulted in us living in a more morally acceptable society, at least, in my opinion. I will allow that there were certain collateral damages, particularly within the realms of sex, arts and self-expression, but I think that those damages can be viewed as collateral given the moral and familial order that permeated society in years passed. I also understand that there is a certain variance to it, and that variance comes as a result of greater general social liberality, this results in something of a paradox for me as I consider myself a social liberal with exception to criminal law. The greater social liberality seems to stem from declining Church attendance numbers, declining numbers of Religious people, in general, and people who seem to qualitatively state that Religion does not play the role in their lives it once played.
Of course, there are other methods of social conditioning that can be readily employed to achieve the desired order, but that is for another thread, and it would seem that such methods are far less organic than those used by the Church...
In any case, you're right that this is a changing society and the prevelance of porn is something that has changed with it. Children will access the porn and lose their innocence at an early age, so, fuck it anyway, I guess. There's nothing that can be done anymore, anyway, as the very fabric of a structured and orderly society has been unwoven to the extent that it doesn't even resemble anything anymore, so we might as well be equally frayed, and why not our children, as well?
Here, the common-sense assumption is that "mature" is an objectively defined term, or at least that it is easy and reasonable for information to be categorized by maturity, and that this poses no significant burden on those seeking or storing information. But clearly this isn't the case. People vary widely on what they believe should be sequestered away from anyone who has not mastered some fictitious subset of the world. Moreover, people vary widely on when one should be deemed to have been sufficiently steeped in this fictitious subset; current law usually uses 18, but it is almost trivially true that withholding the full truth of the world from everyone under the age of 18 is basically impossible and rather unwise.
It is an objectively defined term to the extent that eighteen is an objective age. I do not believe that anyone would suggest that any person is necessarily mature at the age of eighteen or necessarily immature prior to said age. Surprisingly, Ohio's age of sexual consent is sixteen.
Anyway, if you want to be able to enforce social standards at a uniform level without the need to somehow develop and have everyone take some sort of, "Maturity test," then you're just going to have to pick an arbitrary age and run with it. I'm not saying that the age that we have chosen in necessarily right, I'm not saying that it is generally too old or generally too young, I'm just saying that in order to operate efficiently with respect to these matters, as a society, an arbitrary age must be chosen.
I'm not suggesting that anyone withhold anything. I'm suggesting that a parent has a fundamental right to control what their child may see or may not see in, essentially, any public venue in which that child is permitted unattended. The law does it for the parent, in some cases. You know, maybe some kid gets ahold of a Porn magazine and another kid goes to his house and looks at it. Oh well. It's not public, so nothing can be done. It just seems like, in a Forum that is both public and general admission, parents should get to have some kind of say over what that Forum can provide to their children, quite possibly, even without the parent's knowledge.
If the parent says, "Porn, that's fine," I have no problem.
You raise a good point about what a parent should reasonably expect to be on display in a library, and I agree that pornography is not something most would expect. But I suggest that we encourage people to change their expectations about what is on display at the library, that letting peoples expectations change is appropriate at this point in time. Libraries are our Encyclopedia Galactica, they store all human knowledge and information. Pornography is a medium in which humans express a part of themselves. Just as libraries contain literature and periodicals, art, music, and movies, it shouldn't be unexpected that they would contain pornography. To say otherwise is to get into the debate again about what qualifies as appropriate media, and it's not the library's place to decide any more than they must.
Once again, my main problem is not with the fact that the materials are available at the library. As stated, I don't care what they put there, as long as they seperate it somehow, particularly out of deference for the parents who, we agree, reasonably expect that it would not be there. Such parents may then decide whether or not their child or children may access those materials, provided, of course, the child informs them that he/she was denied access and would like access.
Returning to the main line, if it's reasonable that library's contain pornography (or rather, it it's unreasonable to ask them specifically not to store information about porn, up to and including examples of porn), then it's reasonable for parents to expect porn to be available in the library (or rather, it is unreasonable for them to expect there not to be porn). Most parents probably don't expect their children to be able to access porn on the family computer, on their school computers, on their or their friends' cell phones, but they should expect that, even in the Midwest. We don't live in the early 1800s, we don't have an option of restricting kids' access to information down to fire-and-brimstone sermons once a week, at least not without keeping the kid in a cage the other 99.4% of their lives. Content filters aren't particularly effective; if kids are browsing unattended, it should be considered expected that they will see most everything the internet has to offer.
I don't know what libraries everyone seems to be going to here, but I respectfully find your first sentence to be quite a leap. I have stipulated that it is unreasonable to attempt to make a library censor its materials, though I have not stipulated same on the behalf of all parents. Secondly, there have been many libraries that have already censored themselves, in a manner of speaking, to the extent that they already have blocks on their computers. An example of which is the Marshall County Library in Moundsville, West Virginia, a library at which, for whatever reason, the blocks caused me not to even be able to access http://www.fark.com
I think that when you get into discussions about cell phones and computers, then you are entering into a different territory. I think you are then entering into a venue where a greater proportion of parents expect porn to be readily accessible. We hear often about, "Sexting," and most people that have surfed the Internet are aware that it is quite a simple affair to stumble onto pornographic sites, and particularly, pornographic images anytime you do an image search...for just about anything...and get past the first few pages.
It is also reasonable to expect that parents would not allow their kids to browse the Internet unattended, at least, I would hope that parents would not do that. However, yes, the parents are most certainly responsible for that as they are the ones giving the kids the means by which the kids may access porn, and knowingly so.
Up to here, I've argued that (1) arranging material by maturity level is not trivial, and (2) that is fair to expect people to change their expectations about what information will be found in a store of all information. If these are accepted, we can avoid the problems and costs imposed by the first by turning to the second, and expecting parents to be vigilant about the material their children are accessing.
The costs of roll-away walls? Negligible.
There is a second line of argument that you've presented, that libraries are legally bound to filter their content so as not to risk kids coming into contact with sexually explicit materials. I don't know Ohio law, but I still remain skeptical that any law would impose criminal sanctions on schools or libraries that expose kids to sexually explicit materials in the course of their respective duties, and I would guess that there are broad immunities granted to them to protect them from civil sanctions.
I did not exactly present that, as such. Certainly if the libraries were legally bound to do such things, then Playboy would not be available at a library. I'm not quite sure why, but somehow libraries seem to be immune from this whole thing, or nobody has cared enough to sue them. My statement was basically that directly providing minors with pornography is a criminal offense in seemingly any other context.
Of course, you could not criminally sanction a school or a library as neither can be incarcerated, but I think that they could be sued civilly, as entities. If you disagree that they could not be sued over providing minors with pornography, please say so, and I will research it on FastCase until I find a definitive answer from a Federal Court of Appeals as to that matter. To whatever extent I can determine it is within the bounds of State Law, then I will find applicable case law concerning the State of Ohio. I also think a teacher could, at least theoretically, be criminally charged. It would probably depend on pervasiveness and egregiousness and all of those things, but I think they could.
I've never been in a library where one had to show ID to enter the adult lit section, but if parents have a right to prevent schools from giving kids access to TCITR, I imagine they have the same right against other institutions. Still, I don't see a civil case against a library that lets a kid read TCITR being successful. I would guess that most such suits are barred by sovereign immunity. In any case, a warning at the door, a requirement that children be accompanied by an adult, or just a single favorable ruling could make the libraries immune from such suits and set the stage for a transition in public expectation.
I'm not saying that you should have to show ID! You don't have to be eighteen. You have to be eighteen OR have parental permission, and such parental permission could be made to be easily identifiable on your library card. I also did not necessarily suggest, or if I did, it was unintentional, that Adult Literature be segregated, just pornography. You could have a, "Mature," section for that kind of stuff.
Do you remember video stores? It seems like it was a long time ago, now...Super Nintendo Games, dollar gets you the whole weekend...I digress...Anyway, they had the curtain, and behind that curtain, there were adult movies for rent. The Rated R movies were still out with everything else, but the adult movies were behind the curtain. Something like that...