Obviously, I'm not the most objective person when it comes to library theft (library theft is the legalistic term that means not only not returning your stuff, but also destorying, defacing or underlining items). I mean, not only was I raised with a deep respect for authority and other people's stuff, I'm also rather timid. Plus, I've been going to libraries with what some could call an appalling regularity since I was knee high to a grasshopper, if you will. Oh, yeah, and I'm also a librarian. But, still, here's what I don't get: why would you tear a page from a book in the library, fold it in half and then leave it...inside the book itself?

This happened to me today to me in my library. (Or rather, the book on which said violence was perpetrated was discovered today). It came as a bit of a shock. As did the realization a few weeks back that a copy of Web Designer (a British periodical that costs roughly 15 bucks an issue) had gone missing. At least the book makes a little more sense. Web Designer is over-priced, cluttered and not very useful. The book, however, was photos of nudes and the page ripped was two women with their arms wrapped around each other. But, it wasn't particularly erotic or explicit, nor were the women all that attractive (again, I fail here on terms of objectivity) and you can find much better stuff on the internet with much less effort. So why tear out this page? Of this brand new book? Have you no shame, sir?

For a brief moment when I found the page and looked at it, I thought maybe it was an overzealous censor hacking away at a generic photo book removing the naughty pics. But, then I saw it's a whole book of nudes, so that can't be it. Plus, this is an art school, surely there's nary a prudish artist in the world, right?

Of course, there's also the explanation that one of the higher-ups (highers-up?) blurted out without necessarily realizing what he was saying: "Maybe the person just got really excited looking at the page." This person had another such non-thought-through comment earlier in the day when he told a visiting dignitary to our grand opening event that he'd be glad to "walk or ride them upstairs when they're done signing in". [He meant in the elevator. But still, it was awesome.]

So what do I do now? Start kicking students out when I'm not on the premises? Review the security tapes and make the jerk-off (perhaps literal here) pay? Finally get around to buying that security gate? Post threatening signs? Booby trap books? Clearly, I'll probably do none of these. Just stew for a bit and then forget about it until the next time I see the book. I wish I could end here saying I have bigger fish to fry, but really, this is pretty much the most thrilling/terrible thing that I've yet to deal with as a librarian. And I'm trying really hard to not take the damage personal.


librarianite said...

I think you should take it personally. Clearly there could be no other reasonalble explanation :)

So as a member of my local public library board I made a motion last night to no longer charge for library cards. Membership is now free to both town and county residents. I'm not sure how I feel about it now - I mean, I love socialism and all but will this lead to a lack of respect for my library? Will no one take pride and ownership in it now because it is "free?"

Perhaps I shall find pictures of nude couples torn from the pages of my books. I suppose only time shall tell.

alea said...

I have a hard time picturing you as a member of a library board. But, way to make the socialist magic happen!

Lizardbreath McGee said...

I vote for the booby traps.

I'm all about causing unexpected bodily harm to defacement-prone patrons.

(And I agree: it's hard not to take it personally. I mean, they're not just insulting the book, they're insulting the library, which thus insults the librarian, who is the biological human extension of the library institution. Kind of like the Borg. With books.)

Post a Comment