Please stop stealing our stuff.

Imagine that you’re going to the library. Perhaps you’ll visit the Film & Audio Department, home to thousands upon thousands of DVDs; shiny, round, and free. Listen to the beep of the circulation scanner as the clerks check out your DVDs. Take your selections home in your reusable library bag. Crack open the cases and admire the fingerprints left on the discs by other customers. Enjoy the confused whir of your DVD player as the library’s security strips cause that gently fingerprinted disc to spin just a little off balance. Aah, that’s the stuff.

But now let’s search for a particular DVD. Do you like the Simpsons? Are you itching to hear Apu sing “Who Needs The Kwik-E-Mart?” Wanna see Homer become an astronaut? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could check out the whole season five box set at once? Admit it, that would be awesome.

But you can’t check it out, because someone stole it.

Really. They took the discs and left the empty case back in the stacks, where one of the shelving clerks found it this morning. Worst of all, this was a brand new set that just came in last week.

Alas, poor season five! I knew it, readers, a season of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.

Honestly, we know that people steal things and we plan for it as best we can. I’ve even made a game of it by collecting the covers of stolen DVDs and putting them in a binder – 157 since July 2007, and those are just the ones I’ve found.

We also make a point of replacing stolen items when we can afford it – because if someone likes it enough to steal it, it must be popular, right? And so many things are not stolen (like the thousands of items that pass through our doors every day) that we can deal with a swiped DVD now and then. But a brand new set, popular, slightly expensive, newly labeled and laminated? That’s just painful.

So please, please stop stealing our stuff.

– Amy

P.S. If you do have those Simpsons DVDs, you can just put them in an envelope and leave them in a book drop, no questions asked. And thank you.

P.P.S. If you’re wondering what we do when our items are stolen, lost, or damaged, be sure to check out our borrowing policies. If you have any questions, please come in and talk to us and we’ll try to work things out.


Filed under Uncategorized

10 responses to “Please stop stealing our stuff.

  1. Sarah

    I’m so sorry! That’s just wrong.

  2. What’s really sad about the whole thing is that it’s the actions of a small group that spoil it for the entire community. But we honestly don’t have any interest in vengeance – we just want the stuff back so EVERYONE can continue to enjoy it.

    Also, there’s no budget for a library task force to go out on search and rescue missions. The jackets alone would cost a fortune…

    (tongue in cheek, but, pretty please, give us our stuff back, thank you)

  3. Suzi Wackerbarth

    happens every day. At NPL, the Sopranos are high theft, which cracks me up: you know, gangsters? are high theft items? Laughter is a good cure and it better be, since we spent 2 weeks scanning and securing and updating records…

    Suggestion for a post: how to handle DVDs–they are a lot more fragile than CDs. Handle them from the center, NOT the edges, when you take them out of the cases.

    Tech Serv librarian here,


  4. katie

    I know a few of the Allegheny branch libraries (I used to work @ AC Free) keep the discs out of the cases and instead in binders behind the desk to reduce theft.

    That strategy would probably be a bit inefficient for a library your size, but are there any alternatives that might alleviate some of your pains in dealing with such losses?

    I am only a mild Simpsons fan but should this have happened to a Xena or Battlestar Galactica set I would certainly shed a few tears for the cause. ;)

  5. Suzi, thanks for the tips! I can’t stop laughing, even though it’s not funny, about the Sopranos being stolen…

    Katie, good question. I’m honestly out of ideas. I mean, there’s the tattletape, and the alarms, and the guards at the door…I feel like we do due diligence, and still get hosed. Sigh.

    Maybe we should start putting missing items on milk cartons. Have you seen this DVD? Hm.


  6. Pingback: March Movie Madness « Eleventh Stack

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s