One day when it was my turn to empty the book drop I found an abundance of books, and not being a holiday weekend I grew curious at the above average amount of books, especially since most were those oversized coffee table types–art books, pictorial page pleasers, and the like. Upon checking them in I discovered the bar code had been neatly snipped off of each cover. The property stamped remained intact inside the books, so we knew they were ours, yet we remained puzzled as to why the books had suddenly appeared.
Eventually we learned the books had been returned by the daughter of a prominent society maven who had passed away. Cleaning out her mother’s house she had discovered the cache of books and being mortified at her mother’s indiscretion she had packed them into her car and did a midnight book drop.
We also had people check out books and ten minutes later we would get a phone call from one of the local bookstores inquiring if the title in their hand truly had been discarded. No, it hadn’t, thank you very much.
This is why libraries have security portals installed. If they don’t incidents like this one happen (as reported in ABC news):
Japanese police have arrested a 61-year-old man accused of stealing more than 1,100 library books.
Officials say Mitsuka Suizu was initially arrested in July for taking a few books from the public library in Nagato, in western Japan. When police searched his home in the city of Ube, Suizu admitted to taking 1,170 books over a seven-year period, and stashing them at home, where he lived with his wife and two children.
The estimated value of the paperbacks? More than $25,000.
“He loves books,” Nagato police spokesman Yosuke Miyoshi told ABC News. “He didn’t just want to read them. He wanted them by his side.”
Miyoshi said the volumes, taken from 15 local libraries, ranged from encyclopedias to history books and books about insects.
Suizu was fully employed until his arrest in July, and visited various libraries during his work breaks.
“None of [the libraries] had security gates, so he was able to get by relatively unnoticed,” Miyoshi said.
Librarians have identified 896 of those books as their own so far. Miyoshi says police are still trying to track down where the remaining 274 books came from.
Bibliophiles: a collector of books
Bibliomaniacs: an extreme fondness for books, especially the collecting of them
I think this guy crossed the line from a philer to a maniac after his 1,000th book tuck.
Next time you are tempted or accidentally carry a book away from your library consider these other reports of book thieves. Do book thieves become the prison librarians?
People Who Steal Books: PMC99208
- Locking Dictionary Book Safe Keeps the Smart Stuff Safe from Stupid Thieves (gadgetreview.com)
- Tales of the book thief aren’t fiction (crikey.com.au)