Public libraries are a precious resource, spreading the joy of reading to people no matter what their socioeconomic status, and doing it without resorting to trickery and tomfoolery. At least that’s why we like them. A new Daily News story shows that other people might like them because they’re easy to steal from, as Brooklynites stole 70,144 books from the Brooklyn Public Library system in 2012. This sounds like a much bigger deal than jaywalking, so we hope you’re listening Mayor de Blasio.
Fortunately for the libraries, no one is brazenly running in with guns and ski masks and demanding librarians hand over all the copies of The Da Vinci Code. Not yet, anyway. Instead, the 70,144 number represents how many books were checked out and never returned. It’s a pretty large increase from 2011, when people only stole 61,543 books from our library system.
Records show that many of the missing books were ones like GED and nursing exam prep books, so we can at least theorize that people studied so hard they forgot they had to return the books to the library. Library employees speaking anonymously to the News blamed staff cutbacks in part for the increase in thefts, so we’ll just mention here that we 100% support jacking up library funding to pay book cops to track down scofflaws and get literary justice. After all, the books belong to all of us.