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Father says library kiosk at airport printed 'soft porn' story for teen

Short story .jpg
Posted at 6:28 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 19:35:54-04

AKRON, OHIO — A Stark County father wants answers after a library kiosk at Akron Canton Airport printed out a story that he considers to be "soft porn" for his 15-year-old daughter.

A few weeks ago, Mark Swihart, his wife and their two children came to the airport for a flight to Georgia.

While waiting to board the plane, the couple's daughter decided to print out a free five-minute story from an Akron-Summit County County Public Library dispenser.

The library began putting the devices in various locations in 2018. A press release from CAK in 2018 indicated stories are randomly dispersed, entertaining and a good excuse to disconnect from devices.

Swihart, who likes to keep up with current events, knew about the kiosks and thought it wold be a good idea for his daughter to read a story from one of them.

"I think it's a great idea to put this out there, just increase awareness for the library," he said.

But the story, which printed out like a long receipt, is not what Swihart was expecting.

"You're expecting Green Egg and Ham and you get 50 Shades of Grey," Swihart said. "The first two or three sentences, it's like this is soft core pornography."

Swihart said his daughter handed him the story and didn't read it. After perusing it, Swihart decided his daughter would not be reading the story.

"No one would ever think that what would come out would be some type of smut film," he said.

Some of the story is too graphic for News 5 to repeat, but Swihart said he was bothered by vulgarity— including the use of the f-word— along with explicit sexual references and mentions of drugs and alcohol.

Sections of passages that he found to be inappropriate for younger readers included, "He gathered my wrists and palms and bit my shoulder" and "What did it mean to find such torture erotic?"

Swihart said he doesn't understand why a story like that, which could have been printed by even younger children, was in the library kiosk at the airport.

"I want to know how that got in there— how that got in there— and who's keeping an eye on stuff," he said.

Pamela Hickson-Stevenson, the executive director of Akron-Summit County Public Library released the following statement:

"Upon learning that a parent was upset about what his 15-year old daughter printed from the Short Story Dispenser, we attempted to contact the vendor, Short Édition, that is located in France. The time difference meant that their offices were already closed. We will be engaging with the vendor, as soon as possible, to revisit the catalogs and categories of short stories that are included in the database they curate for the Library. We had discussions about the content when the Short Story Dispensers were launched originally. The response to the Dispensers has been overwhelmingly positive since they were installed in 2018.

We regret that the father was disappointed and upset by the content of the short story. We appreciate the father’s concern for his daughter. We also acknowledge that different parents have different goals and ideas regarding what they feel is appropriate for their children. Our goal always is that Library customers have a positive experience in every aspect of Library use."

Ren Camacho, Akron-Canton President and CEO, released the following statement:

"We value the community partnerships we hold within the airport and have implemented strict measures to ensure their meaningful contribution to our guests. Unfortunately, in this instance, the set parameters were bypassed by Short Edition for the first time since launching in 2018 and we apologize to the family. We strive to offer a family-friendly, welcoming atmosphere to passengers, and this situation did not meet expectations. As we learn more about what occurred, we will enhance procedures to deliver a positive experience for all our airport users."