Mystery of the Red-Covered Library Books

by Laurel | July 3rd, 2009

July 3, 1908, page 8
Red-Covered Books at Library
Mania for Them by Some One Causes Loss of Two More Covers.

The mystery at the library over who has an unconquerable desire for the red covers of books was added to Wednesday, when two more books were found with the red covers removed and the body of the book left on the tables. This practice of gathering red-covered books together and then removing the covers from some of them was first started over two years ago, and in all the situations made to the library since but two or three books at a time have been mutilated. The usual manner of procedure is to gather 10 or 12 books with bright red covers and then taking one or two from the lot strip the cloth binding off and carry it away. One time the covers were simply ripped off and left, but usually either the covers are taken away or the cloth is ripped from the cardboard and taken. This makes the sixth time that the incident has happened and the visitations are so far apart that a strict watch for the miscreant cannot well be kept. The last visitation to the library before Wednesday was Wednesday, January 8 when the covers from three books were removed. In December 1907, the library was also visited but it is usually six months or more from one visitation before the same prank is repeated. Detectives were set at watch after the visit in January, but after several months the watch was less strictly carried out and no trouble was experiences until this week. The reason for the action is a mystery and why red-covered books should always be selected is hard to understand. It is evident that the person doing the work is partial to red for some reason and particularly enjoys the colors on the library books. To stop the trouble it may be necessary to taboo red covered books from the library when the person concerned may transfer the unwelcome attentions to the book stores. It would seem to be the action of some person mentally unbalanced for it destruction was the only end sought any color of a book cover would evidently do. Whoever is causing the trouble uses cunning enough so that the work is performed when the library staff is not watching.

Excerpted from the Springfield Republican.

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