Tragic Outcome of Book Sale


Peter writes, "This is a bizarre and sad story, with a follow up as well.
Is this where librarians should be treading?
First story here.

Second story here."


Rob Brian is a criminal and should be prosecuted...but wait apparently thepowers that be are letting him escapepossibly because they knew and approved andeven benefited from the payoffs Rob received?How much of the money went into Rob Brian's pocketand how much did the library get...and howcould some greedy incompetent twit get awaywith selling valuable historic public property for private gain?Let's hope some group in Australia or elsewhere figures out a way to sue Rob Brian personally!So, so tragic that Mark D. Arney killed himselfover the sacking and destruction of the library,which the powers that be apparently approved.Glad that SOMEONE went to the press...but thereshould be more the international library communitycould do to express our outrage at this crime.But what?

Peter...keep us informed on what happens with this story. Hope the people who are communicating with the media on this continue to provide whatever they can to make sure that Rob Brian gives the money back and goes to prison.

One would like to see and encourage an attitude of professionalism on a librarians' blog. While it's good that someone has taken an interest in this story, and while it may be somewhat understandable that librarians could leap to conclusions based on reading two newspaper articles, it is too bad that they cannot take the "high road" in their response.

I believe that at least the first comment may prove that it's easy to fall prey to mob mentality, and it's an unfortunate comment on westernized society that it seems fashionable to hurl barbs and be venomous without knowing the full story. Vitriol can be exciting, especially when loosed upon someone that you don't even know.

I do know Rob Brian, the law librarian in question, and I am pleased and proud to count him as one of my mentors in the law library profession. The story is inadequately and incompently presented in these news articles here; the full story is much longer and more detailed. I find it laughable and spurious that the first commenter waxes lyrical about "valuable historic public property" without truly knowing what those resources were. I seriously doubt that commenter also knows what it's like to make decisions at the level that Mr. Brian did.

Many look at our profession as something "easy;" not much more than "checking out books all day." The truth of the matter is something else entirely, and in this day and age of dwindling dollars and shrinking budgets, all librarians have to be inventive to keep their libraries afloat.

Knowing Mr. Brian for over 30 years as I do, I can say unhesitatingly that he is an extremely ethical and professional individual. At worst, Mr. Brian may have made an honest and possibly naive mistake; at best, Mr. Brian may well have saved some staff positions as well as ensuring that his customers got better services than before.

A previous Director of the San Francisco Public Library was equally excoriated by staff and the unknowing public when the Director determined that books needed to be recycled prior to the Library's move into its new Main Library. There were many who decried this decision, and yet it was finally determined that most of the books were not that valuable, and that the most cost-effective decision was, indeed, to recycle them.

I trust that history will be as kind to Mr. Brian. I find it extremely sad that at the end of his long years of distinguished service to the law library and legal community in Australia, Mr. Brian has to retire under such a cloud. It is unnecessary, frustrating and extremely unfair.

Woe betide to the commenter if s/he is a librarian. It's easy not to realize how political many of our jobs are. The articles written in the Sydney Morning Herald are inaccurate and include false information. I have personally written to that newspaper demanding at least a retraction. The commenter should hope that s/he does not have the unfortunate luck to fall under the spotlight as Mr. Brian did. Then s/he would also be subject to mean-spirited and nasty comments from those who do not know the real story.

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