The relaxed and tolerant policies of the Swedish government towards pornography occasionally create embarrassments for the nation, as in the latest discovery that its national library has a large collection of child pornography in its archives. The revelation was brought to light by an ex-porn shop employee who told The Local newspaper that Sweden’s national library contained thousands of porn magazines, including several that feature children.
In the 1970s, child pornography was legal in Sweden, and apparently some of the titles remain within the archives of the library. The informant noted to The Local the irony that the “Royal Library” contains a huge amount of pornography, which is something Sweden’s Queen Silvia has fought passionately against for years.
He told the newspaper, “It was so easy to gain access. All I did was sign up to check out books and send a letter explaining my reasons for wanting to view the material. Anyone could have done the same thing.”
In the national library’s defence, their goal is to collect everything that is printed in Swedish, with no exceptions. Although child pornography has been banned for decades, old, at-the-time legal, materials still exist in the vaults of the library.
Sara Bengtzon, a national library spokesperson, admitted the library has “a lot of sensitive material” because of its obligation to archive. However, she claims access to the material is restricted to journalists, researchers, and those who are judged to have a “highly credible” reason for wanting to access certain material.