A Regina man has launched a formal complaint with the Regina Public Library after seeing two men watching pornography on public computers. 

A few months earlier, Morgan Williams didn't believe it when his friend told him she left the downtown library because she saw the same thing — that is, until he saw it happening himself.

"Saw two guys standing up, another guy looking on the screen and I was kind of curious, what are they looking at?" Williams told CBC News. "And I went wow. I only had a quick view but I thought wow, this is unbelievable."

Williams said the men were watching hardcore pornography — two naked women engaged in sex acts with a man — but when he went to complain, the staff said there wasn't much they could do. 

A spokesperson for the Regina Public Library said they can't control what people view or access on their computers, but in some circumstances they may ask the person to stop or offer the user a privacy screen. 

Williams, an avid visitor to Regina's libraries, doesn't consider that a solution. He said he's worried children could stumble upon it, adding the library is not the place for pornography.

Library official responds

"Our policies around computer use is such that we provide open access to information in all its form," Kevin Saunderson, senior manager of corporate services, for the Regina Public Library system, said Friday. "What one person finds appropriate, somebody else might not. And we don't want to be the arbitrator of what that is."

Saunderson noted that children and adult resources are in separate locations of the library. At the central library, the children's library is downstairs. Children also need adult supervision to use computers.

He added there are protocols available when concerns arise including:

  • Providing the user with a privacy screen.
  • Moving the patron to another computer terminal.
  • Requesting the patron to stop what they are watching, for a period of time.

Staff, he added, are authorized to end a patron's computer session.

"If we become aware of somebody reviewing or undergoing activity online that's illegal, that's against the policy," he said.

Saunderson also said that the library places a high priority on access to information.

"Our policy is freedom to access information," he said. "That might be somebody reviewing websites related to prostate cancer or breast cancer — which may be considered inappropriate to another person — but is quite valuable for that person that might be dealing with a major issue in their life."