Gay/Lesbian Books Burned In East Lakeview Library

Wed. June 14, 2006 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

Police: No Evidence Of Hate Crime

Chicago, IL - A small fire at the Chicago Public Library's Branch in Lakeview has burned about 100 books. Most of the books destroyed were in the library's gay and lesbian collection.

The fire broke out Tuesday about noon at the John Merlo branch, 644 W. Belmont, near the center of Chicago's gay neighborhood.

Gay activists say they are concerned this could be a hate crime because of the location of the library and this is Gay Pride Month. Chicago Police say there is no evidence the incident was a hate crime and are conducting an arson investigation.

Gay rights activist Rick Garcia questioned that decision, noting the unique location of the fire.

No one was hurt, and the libary remains open to the public.