Crime Beat: Books Gone Missing From Little Free Libraries

Little Free Libraries

In a headline seemingly stolen from "America's Finest News Source", the Lincoln Journal Star is reporting that a "thief" "hit" 6 different Little "Free" Libraries in and around Lincoln, NE.

Megan Ockander, one of dozens of Little Free Library Directors in the area, noticed at least half of her inventory of 40 books had gone missing in a very short time period. 

It was obvious people had taken more than they could reasonably read.

The police, when contacted regarding the return of books, which are set out curbside for free, were not optimistic that they would be able to recover the pilfered titles:

Books, generally, unless they’re marked in some fashion, are difficult to trace. Unless someone sees it happen, we’re kind of hard-pressed to make any clearance on it.

Now, the obvious question here is, "Aren't these books MEANT to be taken?"

And the obvious answer here is Yes. Yes they are.

Lincoln Little Free Library curator Lacey Losh has a more nuanced opinion, however:

For a lot of us, we’re very community-minded. We’re really doing this on the honor system. The worry is if folks come and take the books on a consistent basis, suddenly we’re going to run out in our personal collections...It really does steal the next person’s experience. The next person is either going to have few choices or no choices at all.

Hmm. Good point.

What do you think? Is this thievery, or did someone genuinely want to read ALL those books?

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Tom1960's picture
Tom1960 from Athens, Georgia is reading Blindness by Jose Saramago July 20, 2015 - 4:57pm

If you live in a community fortunate enough to have the little free libraries, please cherish them. For all we know, these quaint little boxes of books may be our last line of defense against abject illiteracy.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated July 21, 2015 - 3:06pm

Wouldn't we have to wait and see if anyone brings them back?