Residents of Elmhurst, Illinois will not be barred from borrowing M-rated games at their local library. The Chicago Tribune reports that Elmhurst Public Library officials this week shot down requests from a group of residents seeking to change the library's policy, citing no connection between violent games and violent behavior.
"There's no evidence I can see between these games and violent behavior," library director Mary Beth Campe told the paper.
She and other board members said they believe the inclusion of M-rated games in the library's catalog is a matter of freedom of expression, protected under the First Amendment.
At a meeting Tuesday, citizen group speaker Jim Schuetz said the group was not seeking a ban on the games, but rather wanted the library to "implement selection criteria and procedures" for the games the library chose to make available. He said he was motivated to take action after President Obama called on citizens to take steps to reduce gun violence in the United States following the Sandy Hook shooting in December.
According to Campe, materials chosen for the library--including M-rated games--are selected on the basis of online sources of popular material as well as community requests. Such an approach leaves room for contestable material, but this is nothing new, a board member said.
"Some citizens consider Harry Potter or Fifty Shades of Grey objectionable," board member Jan Vanek said. "We are in a culture of violence, but it doesn't start in the public library."
The Elmhurst Public Library stocks E, T, and M-rated games, but no AO titles. According to the Chicago Tribune, the library requires anyone checking out an M-rated game to provide identification proving they are 17 or older and self-checkout is not allowed for these games.
Some of the M-rated games available at the library, according to a catalog search, include various Killzone, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto games.