The Bloomington (Ill.) Public Library can limit how often white supremacist Matt Hale uses its meeting room but cannot bar Hale himself on the basis that his activities are religious or partisan, city and library attorneys agree.
City attorney Todd Greenburg and library law specialist Phillip Lenzini of Peoria said in separate opinions that any library policy based on religion or politics would be unconstitutional and should not be used as a way of preventing Hale’s appearances, the Bloomington Pantagraph reported November 15. However, Greenburg approved the library’s policy of limiting an individual or a group’s use of the room to once a month and six times a year.
Hale, leader of the World Church of the Creator, received a raucous reception October 28 when he and about 15 followers confronted more than 100 opponents in the meeting room, but library board member Mark Hamner, who monitored the event, said it didn’t disrupt library operations. Hale plans another meeting on November 25, and library director Matthew Kubiak told the board November 14 that he was asking pro-diversity groups to stay away in hopes that poor turnout will prompt Hale to seek audiences elsewhere.
Posted November 20, 2000.