protests playboy in library

protests 'playboy' in library; oak lawn man states that magazine may entice sex offenders

by yvette presberry


july 6, 2005

stating that pornography can cause sex offenders to endanger victims, oak lawn resident mark decker wanted playboy magazine taking off of the shelves of the oak lawn library, 9427 s. raymond ave.

the library ignored the request, and reportedly stated that it would keep subscribing to the magazine, and would keep it on its shelves.

the adult magazine is kept in the periodical stacks of the library on the second floor.

oak lawn library has subscribed to playboy since 1973.  it keeps printed copies for two years before replacing them, and microfilm of older issues can be found.

decker, a father of three children, said that he was worried that sex offenders might look at playboy and become motivated to harm others.

"playboy is pornography," decker said.  "pornography is a sexual stimulant for men."

playboy has been the focus of controversy with how it is sold in stores or displayed in libraries since its establishment in 1953 by former chicagoan hugh hefner.

it is reportedly banned from being sold in singapore and china.

the adult magazine is kept by public universities and colleges, where library staff members can assume students of the college age are the only patrons able to see it.

a pastor in south carolina tried to get playboy banned from the durham county library in 1999 by stating that pornographic material shouldn't be kept by a public library.

in the 1999 notes of the library board's meeting, the pastor questioned how public government funding could be given to a library that held adult publications like playboy.

the library denied his request, and said the first amendment allowed playboy to be seen by the public.

the request to ban playboy was also denied that same year in greensboro, n.c.

the magazine was placed on open shleves for anyone to see, but later put behind the circulation desk.  only adult patrons could ask for the publication.

the american library association reportedly agreed with the oak lawn library's decision to keep playboy.

after learning that the oak lawn library would not remove playboy, decker protested in front of the library for three hours on june 29.

"the library is so hypocritical.  they sanction themselves," he said.

he said library officials called the police on him, but he claimed he was within his rights to protest on a public sidewalk.

decker was also told that if he wanted to enter the library, he could not bring his protest sign inside the building.

so far, decker has received some mixed opinions about his objection to playboy in public libraries, but most of the feedback he's received were positive.

"most people agree with me," decker said.  "the kids need to be protected."

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