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A reporter, not the book-stealing asshole. (Screenshot from KREM video)

In northern Idaho, some schmuck is going into the Coeur d'Alene Public Library, pulling books they think are too liberal off the shelf, and hiding them in other parts of the library. The story surfaced locally at the end of September, but it only made the New York Times today -- just a week or so after those brave county supervisors in Florida voted to protect library patrons from exposure to the digital version of the Times, because after all it's "fake news." Two stories make a trend, so with confidence, say we can: Begun the information war has.


Coeur d'Alene (French for "heart of the lene") Library Director Bette Ammon says staff first started noticing books being deliberately moved from shelves and displays in August 2018. (Wonkette-kickback linkies added, because we're shameless.)

Over the months, they found books moved from prominent displays to the wrong stacks, or hidden behind rows of books against a back wall, near a pillar labeled "TEEN ZONE."

Some dealt with social issues, such as "The Women's Suffrage Movement." One book, "Guns Down," detailed a political strategy for defeating the National Rifle Association.

And the incidents have continued.

Last month, Melissa Searle said she was restocking the shelves and noticed another book misplaced: "Punishment Without Crime," a book about how drawn-out misdemeanor prosecutions consign the poor and people of color to unpayable fines and lost jobs. It was supposed to be out front in a prominent display with other new titles, but instead was in a random area of the nonfiction stacks. On Tuesday, Ms. Searle found "The Hidden History of Guns and the Second Amendment" hidden behind other books on the bottom shelf of the fiction section.

Haha, the Hidden History of Guns was REALLY HIDDEN! Such a clever troll!

Eventually, someone left a note on the library's public comment bulletin board, seemingly taking credit for the funny prank.

I noticed a large volume of books attacking our president. I am going to continue hiding these books in the most obscure places I can find to keep this propaganda out of the hands of young minds. Your liberal angst gives me great pleasure.

Hurr hurr! No more of your stinking liberal agenda of forcing people to check out and read books that no REAL American would ever touch!

Ammon, being a library person, tried a reply, because after all, bulletin board for the library community:

Ammon said that the library "tries hard to purchase well reviewed books on all sides."

"We serve a diverse community, so we buy a lot of different books," said Ammon, noting that some of the books the person disagreed with were requested by other library guests to begin with.

She explained to local TV station KREM that hiding the books isn't really making them unavailable, because the library orders replacement copies -- at taxpayer expense. People request those books they shouldn't have their minds poisoned by, after all. And then when the hidden books are found, there are multiple copies. The Times points out that the library now has as many as three copies of some books, like April Ryan's Under Fire: Reporting From the Front Lines of the Trump White House. Clearly, the troll needs to work harder to make the books vanish. So far, books have only been hidden elsewhere in the library, but we can easily see that if they keep getting replaced, the asshole will be forced, by strident liberals who hate free speech, to start stealing and burning them.

After that KREM story aired, the Times reports, Ammon got a call from a Coeur d'Alene resident who said the book hider was doing the right thing, because after all, everybody knows the library only has liberal books in it. It's a well-known fact among Fox News viewers who never use the public library.

Ms. Ammon said she asked the caller to provide a list of books that should be in the stacks, and while the person failed to provide one, she suspects the library already has whatever might be on it.

"We serve the entire community," Ms. Ammon said.

The library doesn't have a video security system, and an experiment with training a webcam on the nonfiction stacks didn't work out because nobody had time to look through the hours of recordings. Library staff tried flying a small drone over the tops of the stacks to check for books hidden on top of the shelves; no luck there. So mostly it's a matter of wasting staff time looking for misshelved books. THAT'LL LEARN 'EM!!

The Times story says this isn't the first time the Coeur D'Alene library has had books go missing. In 1986, after the city mounted opposition to the Aryan Nations compound in Northern Idaho in the '80s, it received a Raoul Wallenberg Civic Courage Award and used some of the prize money "to establish a collection of human rights literature in the library. It included books about the Holocaust, the persecution of African-Americans and the history of various religions."

And then somebody or multiple somebodies started stealing the books. The library decided to protect the remaining books by putting a lock on the glass-fronted bookcase where the collection was stored, which stopped the thefts, but made borrowers have to request help to check out the books. When Ammon was hired in 2005, she ended that, and moved the books out into the regular collection, and good for her!

Ammon told KREM that if she finds out who the book hider is, she wouldn't want to ban them from the library, but would instead like to sit down with them and ask what books they think the library should add to its collection. Somebody nominate her for an award from the ALA, will you?

At least one of the authors whose books have been purloined and hidden has his own plans. Rick Reilly, author of Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump, tweeted that he's coming to Coeur D'Alene later this month, and he's bringing extra copies:

He told the Coeur D'Alene Press what he plans to do with those books:

I'm going to sign them, and then I'm going to hide them. I'm going to hide one in the true crime section. I'm going to hide one in the mental illness section. I'm going hide in one in the history section next to the books about dictators. I'm going to hide them throughout the library. That's how we'll win this.

So remember kids, the signed ones are for you to find and keep. The ones with the Dewey Decimal stickers and clear plastic jacket covers stay in the library.

[NYT / KREM / Coeur D'Alene Press]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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