by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Comparing the mob scene to the library’s memorable 2015 video rental release of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, visibly-distraught Elmhurst Public Library president Marsha Baker told reporters huddled inside of Meeting Room B Friday afternoon that the first-ever “Men of Elmhurst Public Library Calendar” sold out in just 15 minutes Thanksgiving night and was marred by abusive behavior, “cat-fights”, and property damage.
All 750 copies of the 2019 calendar – featuring provocative photographs of scantily-clad male librarians, help desk employees, and custodians in various sections of the library – were snatched up by “hostile” Elmhurst residents who waited in line for hours outside to get a copy. The calendar was priced at $19.99 to library card holders and $49.99 to those without a library card. The library opened at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving for the calendar sale to avoid disruption during its regular operating hours.
“We were ready for a large crowd, but not mayhem,” said Baker, who doubled the standard number of security guards on duty to two and assigned one of her clerks to pass out holiday book markers and to remind customers of the library’s “quiet” policy. “There was a lot of pushing and shoving and swearing, just like you see on those Black Friday videos or when the York Theatre shows a free 9:30 a.m. movie during the holidays.”
While Baker had sensed growing anticipation for the “Men of Elmhurst Public Library Calendar” after its release date was announced in the Autumn “Fine Print” newsletter, no one on staff was prepared for the onslaught of an estimated 2,500 people who charged through the library’s west entrance on Thanksgiving night when the doors were unlocked.
“There were more than a few things we could have done better,” said Baker, who admitted that the situation escalated when would-be buyers with pending late fees at the library were told they would not be allowed to purchase a calendar. “If we do another calendar next year, maybe we’ll print 7,500 copies instead of 750.”
At press time, the calendar was fetching up to $200 on the secondary market through popular buy, sell and trade Facebook groups like “Elmhurst Area eParents” and “Elmhurst eTalk”.