Friday, November 22, 2013

The Book Collector In The Library

Bank robbers rob banks because that's where the money is. So it stands to reason that a book collector would work in a library because that's where the books are.
So many books, so little time

The National Library in Ireland was employing one such book collector, up until the time someone noticed that valuable, and highly collectible, books were missing. That's the thing with national libraries that are stuffed full of old books. Until some scholar comes looking for a paticular volume, it sits on the shelf among scores of other equally valuable books, largely ignored. One fine day, someone wants it and the librarian can't find it where it's supposed to be and then the game is up.

The as-yet-unnamed librarian who collected books took advantage of the lack of oversight for a couple of years. He lifted a book here, a pamphlet, there, and put a considerable dent in the Sean O'Casey collection. The National Library was quite proud when it acquired the papers of the famed Irish playwright. They were not delighted to find that much of it was gone, found in the flat of one of their trusted employees.

Like many avid collectors, the now-disgraced librarian shared his passion for antiquities with other collectors, who were not so fortunate as to have unrestricted access to the holdings of the National Library. He sold some of the books, although it will take the gardai a bit of time to determine the extent of the theft and the benefit derived by the book collector who became a seller of rare antiques and collectibles.

You would think you could trust a librarian, one of those mild-mannered book worms who love books. But didn't your mammy always tell you that you can't judge a book by its cover?

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