A coworker forwarded me this post from The Consumerist blog, which led me to an article in the newest Library Journal on the same topic. Apparently the publishers of Sports Illustrated (Time, Inc.) decided, without discussion or notification, not to send this year's swimsuit issue to any libraries which have subscriptions to the magazine. Spokesman Patrick McCabe told LJ "Over the course of time, we've received feedback from some of those institutions saying it wouldn't be an acceptable thing for them to have or to share with their constituents, and the decision was made that this was one way to hopefully alleviate that issue."
No differentiation was made between different types of libraries, and apparently Time is allowing libraries to specifically request the issue using a toll-free number or a web interface. The 'block' has been dropped for future years.
The Comsumerist post includes a quote from one serials librarian and links to the SERIALST listserv, which is abuzz with comments on the matter.
My questions are these: were all "institutions" subject to this ban, or just libraries? Did office buildings and reception rooms receive their copies? Did individual subscribers? Presumably (unless it disappeared in the mail).
I agree with what seems to be the library-consensus on this issue: all issues paid for should be received (especially if they are part of the regular volume sequence, as this is), and it's up to the individual library to decide how or if to display the swimsuit issue.