A naturist reading group refused permission to hold nude reading sessions at a Black Country library has hit back at the decision.
Members offered to bring in towels to cover chairs they would sit on and robes to wear in the event of a fire alert. But Dudley Library chiefs decided to refuse the idea on the grounds it would cause ‘disruption’.
Councillor Stuart Turner, cabinet member for libraries on Dudley Council, said he did not believe it to be an appropriate use of public premises. But Anthony Crowley, who organised the reading group, today said he believed the decision had been a reaction rather than a well thought-out response.
And the 34-year-old author, who lives near Himley, said during his initial discussions with the library there had been no problem. He said: “There needs to be a facility for naturism within Dudley and surrounding areas. I thought of the idea due to the extreme heatwave we’ve had recently.
“There is nothing like reading or book or magazine in comfortable surroundings and that is exactly the same way for naturists. There is nothing sexual within naturism whatsoever. It is just like other clubs within clothed environments.
“I had meetings with the library and discussed all rules and guidelines. I have been a naturist since I was at school. We are not exhibitionists just a society of a people the same as anyone else just without clothes.
“I feel the statement the councillor put forward was more of a reaction than a thought-out idealistic response.” Mr Crowley said he planned to take up the matter with the British Naturism group to look into the issue in regards the library.
And he also plans to organise naturist groups elsewhere. The event at Dudley Library would have been open to people who wanted to remain clothed.
“I discussed the idea with the library manager. The reason why we use towels is both out of respect and courtesy of hygiene. It is also etiquette for us naturists,” he added.
Councillor Turner said the matter had been carefully considered before a final decision had been made. “This was not something which was just dismissed. It was looked at very carefully and considered before I decided this would just not be an appropriate use for a public owned building.”