Unlike the girl in The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak, James Richard Shinn’s thefts were premeditated. He compiled a list of rare books he wanted and then traveled to various special libraries to acquire them. Two diligent librarians at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA finally caught him because they remembered his face. Read more about this crime in Atlas Obscura’s July 20 post by Susan Falicani, entitled “The Rare-Book Thief Who Looted College Libraries in the 80s.”
Do you have a stolen library property story? Join in the conversation and share how you explain to people that taking books from a library is still stealing–when you check them out you are legally borrowing them. When I was at the Ft Story Library years ago, I spoke to a soldier extensively about the records in our collection. He was getting out of the Army and wanted to hear the records before he left. Despite my telling him that these records were extensively checked out by his fellow soldiers, he felt his need was more important. When he left the Army, he took several country-western albums with him. Sometimes you just have that feeling when talking to a customer….