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Library to install computer privacy screens
July 25, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Lisa Betz/Gering Citizen - Having recently moved to Terrytown from the Denver area, Gering library patron Eugene Barela uses the computer to find a job.

Within the next few weeks, Gering Public Library patrons will start seeing privacy screens on the adult computers that are not filtered for content.

It was one of the recommendations made by the library board after a patron complained his son had viewed someone looking at pornography on one of the library’s computers.

“We’re in the process of ordering privacy screens for the adult computers,” said library director Diane Downer. “We also did some training of staff on how to handle situations like that.”

She also said the library is reviewing its policy to see if changes are needed. The Lied Scottsbluff Public Library has stronger enforcement of policy regarding objectionable materials, but patrons must use their library card to log into the computers, which helps with the recording and printing of those materials.

“We’re researching the Scottsbluff system to see if it would work here,” Downer said. “The expense is the big factor in whether it could be implemented.”

As for publicizing the library’s policy on unacceptable behaviors, the list is posted on all computer screens.

Another suggestion was to move some of the adult computers to the corners of the room, which would allow for more privacy. But Downer said many computer users still need help, so the computers will remain located near the front desk so help is readily available.

“We have more than a thousand login sessions on our computers each month,” she said. “The incident was unfortunate, but in my 7˝ years as director, this is the first time something like this has happened. The balance between intellectual freedom and censorship is a tricky one. We hope people will use common sense when using our computers.”
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