Library Bans Stinky People

Schaumburg rules to ban offensive body odor from facilities

Monday, Apr 13, 2009  |  Updated 8:36 AM CDT
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Library Bans Stinky People

Do not come in our library.

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A new policy at a suburban library district is aimed at keeping readers safe from offensive body odor.

Joining bans on things such as running, rowdiness or toting an uncovered beverage, Schaumburg officials have made overpowering oral-factol assaults strictly forbidden in its libraries.

Director Stephanie Sarnoff told the Chicago Tribune that "the aroma would have to be so overpowering that it interfered with others' use of the facility."

"People who use libraries are usually very understanding about the foibles of others," the paper quotes Sarnoff as saying. "So when one or more library users complain that another person's hygiene is of such poor quality that it is prohibiting them from pursuing what they want to do, their problem becomes our problem."

While it all may make sense to the regular library-goer, advocates for the homeless say it's difficult for people living on the street to maintain that fresh aroma.

"It really is a fact of not enough money and not enough places willing to help them stay clean. They sort of become these victims of circumstance," said Todd Stull, director of the HOPE Center in Palatine.

But libraries across the area already operate with the low-smell policy, and officials in those locations say it's necessary for allowing the facilities to do what they're meant to do.

"We still try to be humane about it," Jim Johnston, director of the Joliet Public Library told the paper. "The citizens have a right to use the library. That doesn't really depend on their economic status. But what you cannot do is keep someone else from using and enjoying the place."

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