December 12, 2008

Library books lead to discrimination claim

A Swedish library discriminated against a Dutch woman by only allowing her to check out two books due to her nationality, a government watchdog alleges.

Sweden's Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination alleges a library in the area of Stockholm would only allow a Dutch national to check out two books at a time since she was not a Swedish citizen, The Local said Thursday.

Taby municipality has treated (the woman) unfairly by limiting the number of books she could check out of the municipality's library, the ombudsman alleged in a district court lawsuit against the library.

An ombudsman investigation found that the library had a policy of limiting book rentals to individuals without Swedish personal identity numbers.

The library policy was based on the potential problems associated with finding missing books checked out by such individuals, the Local said.

But the ombudsman maintains the woman, whose identity was not released, was targeted simply for not being Swedish.

Regardless of which borrowing rules were officially in force in Taby municipality, (she) has quite simply been denied the possibility of borrowing more than two books from the municipality's library on account of her citizenship, the watchdog alleged.