Stripping The Toronto Public LibraryDecember 8, 2011 No Comments
Human sexuality is nothing to be ashamed of, but this doesn’t mean we leave nudie magazines on our coffee table for guests to enjoy a sneak peek.
But how would you feel about Playboys at the public library?
In all my years as a library-devotee I’ve never even noticed Playboy magazines lying around, but it seems I failed to look hard enough. The Toronto Public Library (TPL) spends a surprising $815K a year on magazine subscriptions, including the notorious nudie mag and other “trashy” magazines.
Is this really a problem, though? Libraries may be mostly thought of as prestigious establishments, meant to stimulate our minds, quench our curiosity and share knowledge, but would it be fair for them to discriminate against non-literary publications?
Although many are lobbying against cuts, Toronto mayor Rob Ford is demanding a 10 percent budget decrease for the TPL. As of right now, magazine subscriptions cost the library “1.5 million of the library’s annual circulation numbers.” When it comes down to choosing kids’ homework initiatives or adult literacy programs over Playboy, it seems easy to say slash the trash. After all, Playboy magazine is just about as literary as the Pirelli calendar.
But then there’s the issue of censorship. What about those who do check out Playboy? Is it any of our business what people read and for what reasons? Playboy may not exactly fall under the definition of didactic, but, as Chief Librarian Jane Pyper says, “Literacy can happen in a number of ways.”
It’s not like I disagree entirely. Some students may need to browse through Playboy for their Sex in the City class. Plus, if kids can’t find it at the library, it’s on the Internet. With such easy access to porn it’s hard to care about a few Playboy magazines.
Even if it does really come down to a choice between books of literary merit and flimsy nudie mags that objectify women, it’s clear who will reign supreme. Sometimes, Playboy must be sacrificed.
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