April 13, 2009

Public library bans offensive body odor

The director of a suburban Chicago public library says her facility will not admit visitors whose personal body odor interferes with others' activities.

Schaumburg Township District Library Director Stephanie Sarnoff said the decision to add offensive body odors to the library's list of prohibitions was based on complaints from library guests regarding a homeless person, the Chicago Tribune said Monday.

People who use libraries are usually very understanding about the foibles of others, she said. 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.

But advocates for the homeless maintain those without homes are hard pressed to remain clean and odor free.

I really can't think of any cases where I've met someone who says, 'I like the fact that I smell,' Todd Stull, who heads up a HOPE Center in Palatine, Ill., told the Tribune. 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.