Via Professor Ken Sherrill, head of the Poli Sci dept. at Hunter in NYC, comes this e-mail. This article seems to confirm many aspects of the e-mail.

Any information from dKos members would be appreciated. (E.g., Anyone in Chi-town seeing this story on the nightly news?)


    Some time around or just after 12:30 p.m. [on June 13, 2006–original post stating June 14 was in error] person or persons unknown started a fire in the Gay and Lesbian (GLBT) book collection of the John Merlo branch of the Chicago Public Library at 644 W. Belmont.

    The fire destroyed about 100 gay books, mostly fiction, and damaged others, some of which appear to be the only ones in the entire Chicago Public Library system. The gay specialist reference librarian who curates the collection is currently taking an inventory of what is no longer usable.

    Police and fire departments have been brought in as well as senior library personnel. At this point, I do not have any more information.

    I hardly need to point out the implications (and tradition) of book burning, of attacks on gays and gay symbols, and that the Merlo branch library goes out of its way to be gay friendly. It is Gay Pride month, less than two weeks until the Gay Pride parade.

    Some readers may recall a Chicago Free Press article and commentary column about the gay collection last March.

    Paul Varnell


*UPDATE:* I’ve changed the title from “Possible” to “Probable” in light of that fact that the Tribune is calling it the work of "vandals."

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