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It’s legal to watch porn at public libraries, but should it be?

GIG HARBOR, Wash. -- It's legal to watch pornography at public libraries, but should it be? A Pierce County mother who found out the hard way says something needs to change.

Last week, Kaeley Triller and her daughter were using the printer at the Gig Harbor Library when they were unpleasantly surprised to see a man openly watching porn.

"There's a line up of computers and they're upright and we noticed as we were walking in there was a whole screen full of pornography on one gentleman's computer," Triller said.

She added, "it was pretty startling."

Triller quickly took to social media outraged by the incident, saying the man had "no regard whatsoever for the kids walking by."

While many commented wondering how this is happening in a public space used by so many families, Pierce County Library spokeswoman, Mary Getchell told Q13 News the man is well within his legal rights.

"Our libraries are open to the public for their use of what they would like to see and use," Getchell said. "Similar to our books, our ebooks, our audiobooks, our materials are open to people for what they want to view."

The computers do filter websites based on the library card used to access the internet, Getchell said. And the computers in the teen and children’s area of the libraries are filtered no matter what age the user is.

Still, Triller and other families who are disturbed by this say something needs to change.

Rep. Michelle Caldier, R-Port Orchard, also commented on Triller's Facebook post saying, she is considering sponsoring a bill next year that would prevent people from accessing pornography in libraries.

In 2015, two young Snoqualmie girls urged King County Library System to censor their computers after witnessing a man viewing images of naked women on a computer at the Snoqualmie Library.

The library system said then, that they don't censor adults because viewing pornography is protected under the First Amendment. However, they found that keeping computers in a central, visible location usually deterred people from viewing explicit material.

According to the King County Library System's internet filtering policy, they do now block patrons from watching porn on their computers.

Following a lawsuit in 2012, a rural eastern Washington library system moved to filter internet sites and block porn.