Both the Los Angeles City Council and the LA County board of supervisors took action Tuesday to make public libraries safer, in direct response to an NBC4 I-Team undercover investigation last week.
In a three-month investigation, the I-Team exposed rampant drug use at libraries, men masturbating outside libraries, and widespread use of library computers to watch hard-core pornography, often with children nearby.
"It's just not right. Libraries are supposed to be for learning, not lewdness," said LA City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who co-sponsored a motion to prevent people from watching pornography on computers at LA's 73 city libraries.
"I doubt that Angelenos believe their taxpayer dollars should be spent on providing access to pornography on public computers," said Councilman David Ryu, who co-sponsored the motion.
Councilmembers Ryu and Martinez also introduced a motion calling on the LAPD and the L.A. Public Library system to report back on how to improve security at the 73 branches, where numerous crimes and incidents of threatened violence have been reported.
The motions will be heard in city council committees in coming weeks.
The I-Team's investigation also exposed problems with the L.A. County Libraries, which operate in 49 cities outside the city of Los Angeles. The county libraries have installed filtering software to prevent patrons from watching pornography. But the I-Team found it's easy for patrons to circumvent the filters and watch hard-core adult material.
In light of the I-Team's report, county officials are also concerned about overall security at their libraries. So County Supervisor Hilda Solis sponsored a motion, which passed the full board, instructing the County Library System to report back in 30 days on ways to improve security.
"If there are illicit activities that are occurring in or outside the parameter of the libraries, then we need to beef up our security. And that might also mean improve lighting and also additional sheriff or security," Supervisor Solis told NBC4.
Her motion also calls on the County Libraries to report back to the Board on ways to remedy deficiencies in the filtering system that is allowing patrons to access pornography.
NBC4 will be watching closely, to see if elected officials take concrete steps to improve safety at libraries, and limit access to pornography.