A petition for installing Internet filtering software on public library computers has been taken out in an Australian town after staff had to continue throwing out men for lewd behaviour while accessing internet pornography.
According to the Couriermail, Dr Paul Sheldon presented a petition with 3222 signatures to Queensland's Sunshine Coast Regional Council on August 5.
AdvertisementDr Sheldon said he was spurned into action after his wife Alison saw an elderly man looking at Internet pornography at the Maroochydore library.
Councillor Anna Grosskreutz told the Sunshine Coast Daily no action has been taken since the December jailing or the issue was first raised by Dr Sheldon several months ago.
"There have been a number of incidents where men have been asked to leave because staff have witnessed them masturbating in front of public computers," News.com.au quoted Grosskreutz as saying.
The petition comes nine months after a 34-year-old man was jailed for two years for possession of child exploitation material downloaded from Maroochydore Library computers.
Librarians have been forced to evict several male visitors from various council libraries in the region in the past few months, after complaints of lewd behaviour.
Dr Sheldon said that when his wife complained to library staff about the man looking at pornography, she was told similar incidents happened "all the time" and it was "too difficult" to install filters.
"We felt it was more of an excuse than an explanation," Dr Sheldon said.
"All council staff computers have filters, but public access don't. I can't comprehend it," he said.
Dr Sheldon said their campaign had received an overwhelming response, with many people recounting their own experiences witnessing lewd behaviour in their local libraries.
"Every time we spoke to people, their expectation has been that filters were already there," he said.
"The petition is on-going, but our confidence is growing that something is going to happen as more and more information gets released," he stated.
Dr Sheldon said a 2008 Australian Library and Information Association survey found 35 per cent of participating libraries had Internet filtering systems.
"Brisbane City Council have told us they do have filtering on. They say it's not perfect, but we know no system is perfect and something is better than nothing," he added.
Grosskreutz said this was an issue facing all council libraries, not just those on the Sunshine Coast.
"In other areas people have been caught printing off image - I understand that's happening in Brisbane, so we're not alone here but it's an issue that everyone needs to nip in the bud," she added.
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