The Downers Grove Village Council unanimously voted Sept. 5 to remove Arthur Jaros, a member of the Downers Grove Public Library's Board of Trustees, after that member allegedly expressed anti-LGBT viewpoints during a trustees meeting.
"I think we took the appropriate action to remove Mr. Jaros from the library board," Village Commissioner Greg Hosé told Windy City Times. Hosé filed the business item calling for Jaros' removal after someone who had attended the trustees meeting notified him about the comments. The comments were seemingly verified by minutes compiled by the League of Women Voters' Downers Grove, Woodridge and Lisle chapter; the library board minutes is not published until the following month's meeting, nor has it been recorded.
According to the accounts, Jaros spoke against the library's policies on diversity, inclusion and equity and additionally began speaking against same-sex marriage. Jaros was also accused of having said that children need to be "protected" from gay people and that reading lists had the potential to expose children to material that is "too diverse."
Jaros was named to the board by Mayor Martin Tully in 2015. At the time, Hosé voiced his opposition to the appointment. In 1999, Jaros had tried to have a book banned from the curriculum of Downers Grove South High School. In August, his son and daughter-in-law objected to an LGBT-related book in the children's section of the West Chicago Public Library.
"I knew about [Jaros'] vocal tendencies on certain issues, especially with regard to the LGBT community," Hosé said. In 2015, Tully assured Hosé that the board would value Jaros' fiscal sense, Hosé said. Tully asked Jaros to resign because of the Aug. 23 meeting, but Jaros refused.
Jaros has said that the remarks attributed to him were inaccurate and inflammatory, and has filed a lawsuit alleging defamation of character; village officials and the local League of Women's Voters chapter are among the defendants.
Hosé nevertheless added that he appreciated the "powerful" comments delivered during the village council meeting, and said that the library was the "crown jewel" of the community that should be welcoming to everyone.