My minor area of study was Information Resources & Library Sciences at the University of Arizona. It’s no surprise that I think that one of the greatest places on this Earth is the library. You can borrow almost anything at the library and take it home with you. The key word there is “borrow”. For some reason, folks who “borrow” certain books on paranormal subjects, think that the word “borrow” means “keep”.
Maine’s Sun Journal publishes a monthly column called “Weird, Wicked Weird” that covers unexplained and weird topics. The other day, staff writer Katherine Skelton took on this subject of stolen library books in a column, called: Weird, Wicked Weird: The occult. Witchcraft. Demonlogy. Library books that grow legs.
From experience as a frequent borrower of paranormal books, I can tell you that many paranormal-themed books vanish without a trace, aside from the aforementioned occult titles. I don’t know how many times an online catalog lists words like “missing”, “lost” or “overdue” for a book I want to borrow.
Before the ability to re-check out items online, I always returned to the library when the due date arrived to re-borrow the item. If someone else recalled the book, I would return it and wait patiently for the book to be returned to the library so I could check it out again. More often than not, the book never came back. Another great idea in history, of course, is the idea of Interlibrary Loan for heavily sought after items. Regardless, it is still a waiting game and more often than not, a library will have to seek out multiple libraries to obtain the book sought.
It’s a shame that some libraries have to send police knocking on doors to retrieve the books. It’s even a bigger shame that libraries lose so much money replacing stolen books.
Maybe that’s why so many libraries are haunted by dedicated librarians. It is important that information is available for everyone to share. A librarian is the keeper of that information. It’s infuriating that some people simply steal information meant for everyone. My frequent wish is that someday a dedicated ghostly librarian might follow some of these “borrowers” home.
I wonder why libraries aren’t demanding these titles in electronic form? NetLibrary and other electronic book providers are available through online library catalogs. The books “check themselves back in” on their due dates. It’s not the same as holding a book, but it makes more sense to me than simply banking on books being stolen and spending the money to replace them.
Of course, “borrowers” who don’t return books deserve a piece of my mind. When I like a book enough to want to have it, I buy it. I might not buy the book ‘new’. Used bookstores, and even used online booksellers, do often have these books at fairly good prices. There are plenty of book swapping/trading websites. You can see if any member has the title you want.
Of course, don’t swap that book you “borrowed” from the library. Swap one that actually belongs to you.