Observations from librarian/writer Roz Warren:
After 15 years of library work, this is what I’ve learned:
Most library patrons are decent, honest, honorable people who wouldn’t dream of stealing from us.
The scum who do want to steal from us will do so and can’t be stopped.
A while back, a woman applied for a library card at my library, received it, then checked out our entire astrology section and carried it off forever.
She ignored all of the polite overdue notices we emailed her. Then she ignored the many fretful mailings the library dunned her with.
Something else I’ve learned, working at the library? Dunning an unrepentant book thief is a complete waste of postage.
And, of course, she never darkened our doors again. Why would she? She had what she’d come in for.
Those astrology books were hers now.
She was an astrology buff, so maybe she was just doing what that day’s Horoscope had told her to do. “You‘re a Virgo and your moon is in Saturn? This is a good month to steal library books.”
My supervisor, who takes this kind of thing seriously, stewed about our astrology book thief for weeks. She longed to phone her up and say “Shame on you! Return our books this minute. Or else.”
But that goes against library policy, so her hands were tied.
Reprinted from Broad Street Review.