May 28, 2022

Book Thieves Stole 70,144 Books from the Brooklyn Public Library in 2012

From the NY Daily News:

Book thieves checked out but never returned 70,144 books from Brooklyn Public Library’s 60 cash-strapped branches in 2012, records show.

GED prep guides, nursing and other professional exam cliff notes were high on the list of frequently filched books — but so too were graphic novels, library officials said.


“We have systems in place to incentivize people to be responsible and return their materials, but people taking advantage of the system is an unfortunate reality,” said library spokeswoman Emma Woods.

Despite the thefts, library officials have kept the shelves full — in 2012, the system bought 419,790 new print books and 18,323 new e-books.

More in the Complete NYDN Article

Over on the Melville House Blog, Nick Davies Comments:

It’s not entirely clear what having more librarians on hand would help the situation. The statistic that [Reuven] Blau [author of the NY Daily News article] quotes is for books that were checked out and not returned, as opposed to shop-lifting style theft, so these malfeasants are walking out with properly acquired books.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.