In the City of Seattle, (in fact, in the State of Washington) you cannot screen pornographic videos in a bar. Keep in mind that WA State has some of the strictest rules governing the presence people under 21 years of age in places where alcohol is served. Unless you are a restaurant (defined I believe by a certain percentage of revenue coming from food, and it's fairly high) or one of a handful of large music venues that segregate drinkers into a holding pen, you cannot have anyone under 21 years of age on premises, ever, if you serve alcohol.
I only bring this up, because in the City of Seattle, you can watch porn in a public library.
Now, SPL has taken what I think is an admirable hard line on the First Amendment, here. In effect, the policy is that they will not censor constitutionally protected content accessed from their computers, period. (The computers in the children's sections do have internet filters. I really can't imagine anyone having a problem with that.) They do have a code of conduct regarding behavior of patrons, which in this context I have to assume means that you'd best keep your hands on the mouse and keyboard. I can see the logic of this. Never mind the philosophical slippery slope: once you start parsing what is and what isn't acceptable content for consumption at the library, you very well could end up devoting your already-stressed resources to little else. I also think it's understandable that library employees would prefer not to
go around peeking over patrons' shoulders and policing what they are
Interestingly, the State does have a law on the books about exposing minors to sexually explicit content. However, it sets the standard rather high: you have to prove that exposing minors to content was intentional. (Presumably, that protects people whose kids wander in at an inopportune moment. Again, this seems pretty reasonable to me.)
So what to do? The libraries do have privacy screens on their computers, which are designed to obscure the view from anyone not viewing head-on. It would seem, based on the story linked above, that these do not work particularly well.
I can't help but wonder if simply lining all computer stations up against the wall, so that the patron's back (and therefore the screen) is facing the wall, and nothing else, wouldn't go a long way towards minimizing the problem here.
In any case, I think SPL would do well to be proactive about this if they really care about their absolutist stance on non-censorship (which I support). To do less is to invite the (frankly understandable) ire of parents whose children use the library, and for that matter, the vast majority of adults who'd rather not be around people watching porn in public. SPL clearly aren't addressing it adequately at the moment.
I'd hate to see the free flow of information be a casualty to their inability to arrange the furniture sensibly, is what I'm saying.