The Windhoek Public Library in Namibia closed its three study rooms two weeks ago because some users were indulging in sexual activities as well as watching pornography while in the rooms. Ruth Shikongo, a librarian who confirmed the closure, said that a cleaner found used condoms in one of the study rooms. “They (users) watch pornography and at times indulge in sex. The used condoms are a proof that people are involved in sexual activities in those rooms,” Shikongo said.
She further said that an elderly man alerted the library staff in May after he had witnessed a youth watching pornography while he was doing his assignments. The culprits, according to Shikongo, are tertiary students especially four from a university in Windhoek. “The four students (two males and two females) were locked inside the study rooms and ignored the bell signalling that we were closing the study rooms,” she said. The students, she said, claimed that they were too busy doing assignments to hear the bell. “Where were they when a worker was looking inside each study room at closing time?” she asked.
The staff had to put up a notice which read: “The users are going there (into the study rooms) to engage in sexual activities and to watch porn. This is a warning to whoever will go there for such purpose.” But even after the notice was put up at the door, the situation apparently did not change and the notice was later removed by a member of the public. To curb the problem, staff plan to block some internet sites from which pornography can be accessed because, according to another librarian, the students return even after they are chased away.
“Even if we chase those who are caught watching pornography, the next day or week they change their hairstyles and come back,” the librarian said, expressing concern that minor children who also use the library might be exposed to the sexual activities. For now, library users are accommodated upstairs in an open area behind the reception where the librarians as well as members of the public can see any activity.