Ads prompt libraries to put newspaper out of sight

A suburban Detroit library system will keep copies of a free weekly newspaper behind the counter following complaints that it carries sexually explicit advertisements.
AP Wire
Jul 1, 2014

The Grosse Pointe Library Board voted 7-0 on Thursday to stack the Metro Times out of sight. Some complained that the advertisements promoted human trafficking.

"We're taking this out of the vestibules and we'll have it behind the counter from now on," library board president Brian Garves said.

Metro Times Editor-in-Chief Valerie Vande Panne said the library board's decision is hypocritical, she said, because books with risque passages, profanity and hate speech sit openly on library shelves. She said complaints about sex trafficking should be taken to police, not to librarians or local City Council members.

At a recent meeting of the Grosse Pointe Park City Council, officials shunned a request to ban the newspaper, insisting that constitutional freedom-of-speech guarantees would trigger a lawsuit if the city tried to ban such a widely accepted publication.

Library patrons will have to ask for copies of Metro Times and distribution will be "at the discretion of the librarian," according to the resolution. The Free Press reported that only people 18 and older or accompanied by an adult are likely to get one.

The libraries in Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe Farms and Grosse Pointe Woods serve residents of the five Grosse Pointe communities.

Andrea LaVigne, 49, of Grosse Pointe Park called the ads "portals" for illegal activity, noting they feature photos of men stripped to the waist and women in lingerie, as well as invitations for services.

"It's not just raunchy images," LaVigne said.

The Metro Times sits in plain view at the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham as well as the three branches of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, their directors said.

"Life and libraries are about choices and the freedom to read," Larry Neal, director of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, said in an email.

Comments

Vladtheimp

Which level of government will now permit us indentured servants to learn things they don't want us to know?

Tribune - see any relevance to your recent opinion about the government and depending on it for information? Maybe you could expand your opinion piece . . . .

deuce liti

Weren't you at one time a public educator?

theQuin

"At the discretion of the librarian"? ALA rules clearly state that a librarian may not act in loco parentis, so there should be nothing at a librarian's discretion. How will they use their "discretion"? This ruling shows a total lack of knowledge and understanding about freedom of information!

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