oak lawn presses library on playboy

by victoria pierce
special to the tribune

october 27, 2005

the oak lawn village board will ask library officials to reconsider their decision to keep playboy as one of its magazines.

the action came after another visit from resident mark decker who has been on a mission for months to remove playboy from library shelves. decker said he particularly is concerned because children frequent the library.

"pornography and children don't mix. this is not my opinion; it is fact," decker said during a tuesday night village board meeting.

trustees unanimously agreed to send a letter to the library board. village president david heilmann said he respects the board's autonomy, but wanted to make sure trustees' opinions were known.

"a letter stating disagreement is not interfering," heilmann said.

the two boards are separate, but there are links. the library's budget is approved by the village board. heilmann said he did not believe the playboy issue would ever result in budgetary ramifications from the village board.

"i don't want to make this more than it is," heilmann said. "i don't think there's any desire to be telling the library board how to conduct their business."

library director james casey said he will take the letter to the library board for consideration.

the library board has reviewed the matter twice this year at decker's request. both times library trustees opted to continue subscribing to playboy so as to offer a diverse array of materials.

the board's actions were praised by the american library association as standing up to censorship. [ safe libraries : as the mayor said, " there is a difference between censorship and sponsorship ...."]

the library isn't the only entity coming under fire for offering adult magazines and films. police chief robert smith in recent months has been sending letters to various businesses advising them to remove hard-core pornographic materials from their shelves or risk prosecution for violating local and state obscenity laws.

the library has had a subscription to playboy for many years. the magazine is kept behind a counter and is available to patrons 18 and older. [ safe libraries : it is also available to those under 18 merely upon request for specific pages .]

not everyone in the community agrees with decker that it should be removed. [ safe libraries : but also everybody does, according an independent survey .]

"i'm tired of people telling me what i can read," said oak lawn resident ron capp.


copyright i? 1/2 2005, chicago tribune

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