November 21, 2013

A “book bandit” is on the loose at a library in Tennessee


The Maury County Library posted this image on Twitter, exclaiming “We have a real-life ‘Book Thief!’ Stealing books and leaving covers behind.”

The Columbia Daily Herald has reported that a “book bandit” has struck at the Maury County Library in Tennessee. After three hardcover books were stolen within two weeks, librarians posted a notice that  the collection of Stephen King books would be moved behind the checkout counter. Other books that are more likely to be stolen are those about “pregnancy care, dream interpretation and witchcraft.” These books are kept behind the counter too.

Librarians identified the crime as being perpetrated by the same person because the thief left a calling card: removing the books from their jacket, and leaving the book jacket on the shelf.

“We thought [the theft of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep] was a random act until one of our other library workers went back and found this one in the regular fiction section,” library assistant director Adam Southern said about the second stolen book, Stephen King’s The Wind Through the Keyhole.

But just when librarians thought they had a tactic to thwart the book thief, they noticed another book missing: Lee Child’s Never Go Back. “They quickly switched authors on us,” Southern told the Daily Herald.

Librarians are puzzled about the motive in the crime, since books can be checked out with a library card for free. But since local newspapers and television stations are covering the story, the community is on the lookout for book bandits lurking in the stacks.


Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.