Please don't write in library books

I just saw a thread in the Pit that reminded me of this. I’m pretty mad, but I’m going to keep this in MPSIMS, as people on the Dope probably don’t write in library books and don’t deserve to be yelled at. But if you do, don’t, you big meanie! :mad:

I’ve been working my way through the compilations of Alfred Hitchcock…books full of suspenseful short stories. Really good books, except almost every book has *writing *in them. And I asked the library, they’re not donated books, from someone’s library or anything like that. She can’t remember where they got them, but donated books they mark somehow.

Anyway, a lot of them have numbers on the bottom of the page. I can’t figure out what they’re counting, they have numbers like “17 1/2” or “23 3/4”.

Then, some of them have the curse words crossed out. Ok, this is Hitchcock, so the words are not “fuck” or “cunt” but words like “hell” and “damn”. And you can still see them. But some anal old biddy has patiently gone through and crossed out every curse word. I want to grab her and scream, “You’re reading about murders, mostly, and lots of other crimes - and when the criminal gets caught and says ‘Damn’ that bothers you???”

So this is just a gentle request and reminder. Please don’t write in library books. They’re not your property. Please tell other people not to write in library books. It’s not nice.



Ooh, have you gotten to the one with the circus and the missing jewel? I think I’m remembering it right. I had that book. I had tossed it in my closet (because sometimes I’d read in there with a flashlight for the spooky effect), and one day my hamster got out, was missing for a month, and eventually we found him eating from the dog’s bowl and put him back in the cage. Anyhoo, next time I went to read the book, I discovered that he’d made a nest out of it and there was a big hole in the back cover.

Oh, yeah, and don’t write in library books, it’s not nice. :smiley:

When I was younger, I used to check out a copy of Howl’s Moving Castle from the Berkeley Public Library that had some kid’s pencil illustrations of the story (on new paper, not the pages of the book) carefully glued into place between pages. I thought it was cute.

Drae, you made me giggle. Yes, I did read that story…the map was on the girl’s tattooed body?

And hamsters do that. I’ve heard of three hamsters that escaped and continued surviving in the walls and stuff.

I don’t remember a map. I remember …

A big jewel was stolen and then a big snake went missing and it turned out that the snake ate the jewel and then died and it was being hidden in the usually-hollow metal bar the strongmen/acrobats used in their act.

But I could be wrong.

Gotta agree with you, Mika. I just finished a book that contained some Yiddish. Next to a couple of the words was the German translation, which in both cases, if you know any German at all, was painfully obvious. Mostly, I found it distracting because I felt compelled to figure out the point of it.

Oh, and Drae, that was priceless.


I checked out a library book recently in which some compulsive editor had made neat penciled corrections of typos and crossed out repeated phrases that were clearly a goofup in printing. Just let me find the typos and goofs by myself, thank you! I don’t usually miss them, but it’s nice not to have them glaring me in the face thanks to your compusive editing!

Damned library book scribblers. Add me to the grumblers list. grumble

Yeah writing in library books is pretty bad. I don’t even write in my own books (who writes in a book?).

I remember reading one of the Wheel of Time books where Arthur Hawkwing has been unofficially recast as Stephen Hawking.

I remember devouring those books when I was about 10 or 12 years old. They were great! I even gave one to my preacher’s kid when he got to be the same age on the theory that kids should be exposed to the classics (the first time I saw him, he was reading one of the Goosebumps books during his father’s sermon).

Anaamika, I’m with you completely. I’ve seen it in library books and used textbooks, although it’s a bit more understandable in the latter. I’ve seen corrections and comments in Jane Austen, for crying out loud!

I went to a Catholic grade school, and we had to buy our books. Naturally, there was a huge market in reselling the same books to the upcoming class (unlike colleges, they didn’t change the editions every other year) and you got better prices for clean books. My mother reminded us constantly never to write in books. I learned that lesson young and it’s stuck with me. Heck, when I bought my first MadLibs booklet, I wrote the answers on a separate piece of paper…

OK, I know school books aren’t the same as library books, but still, the rule is: No Writing in Hard Cover Books. Period! When I got to college and was shopping for the occasional used book that was to be found, I was amazed at all the crap in them. Especially highlighting. When half the page is yellow, that’s not highlighting - that’s just stupid.

Anyway, the only writing I do in books now is my name. I can’t even bring myself to pencil in paperbacks. As it should be.

It’s not a library book, but I have a copy of a Winnie-the-Pooh book that belonged to a grade 1 teacher at some point in the past. Clearly, this book was used for classroom reading, and the teacher had penciled in a bunch of questions to ask the kids, like “Is Pooh a real bear?” (when the book mentions him bumping down the stairs on his head with Christopher Robin) or “Whose footsteps where they following?” in the one where Pooh and Piglet go round and round a stand of trees, and it looks like more and more Heffalumps (or Jaguars?) keep showing up.

It’s actually pretty irritating to read, but it’s also kind of cute, too. Makes you think about how a kid would see the stories.

Still, if it was a library book, I think I would be upset! I have only written in my own textbooks to correct an error that might actually matter later on…like the one equation in an analytical chem book that had the letter V in italics, and the greek “mu” V symbol, which, thanks to the font, were IDENTICAL. Not so useful for studying, so I re-wrote the equation in a clearer way. I also corrected some answers in the back section, because having the wrong answer there was difficult when I was studying. Like the one assignment, which the whole class got hung up on, obtaining the answer “4.1” (or something) and the back of the book had “467”.

Also, please don’t be ripping out pages and cutting out parts. This possibly hurts your friendly neighborhood love goddess worse than doodles or scribbles (sometimes they can be absolutely hilarious).

Kyth, I’m right with you there. Imagine my surprise when, in the midst of thoroughly enjoying a gripping Star Trek novel from my local library, I turn the page and an entire chunk of 20 to 30 pages is <i>missing</i>, right when the plot was getting juicier than a dead horse on Sunday. I was very disappointed. For the record, I did manage to find another copy later on and finish the book.

Ah, one of my pet peeves. Nothing like having to imprint your thoughts on a book shared with others.

It varies a lot from library to library, but we ask people to tell us when the find books like that. They get checked out to ‘mends’ and the marks erased out, if possible. Actually, it’s a great way for kids (and sometimes adults) to work off fines and bills they can’t pay. We give 'em a desk, lots of erasers and show 'em how to remove what marks they can. Most of 'em enjoy doing it–and it’s surely an eye-opener for them about vandalism. One was so outraged he suggested we put up a display of damaged books. He picked out the worst examples and even produced mocking little caption cards for the exhibited books. It got a lot of attention.

At one library I worked at we even inserted blank “Comments here” pages in the front of books in hopes the vandals would confine their enthralling feedback there instead of inside the books themselves. It didn’t work that well since self-appointed editors and censors continued to mark up the books, but some of the impromptu mini-reviews were pretty neat.

Sigh. Wolves wouldn’t waste time rearing most of these idiots.

If, however, you’re a playwright of some genius you may get a free pass (at least from posterity!)

Joe Orton

"In another episode, Orton and Halliwell stole books from the local library, and would subtly modify the cover art or the blurbs before returning them to the library. A volume of poems by John Betjeman, for example, was returned to the library with a new dustjacket featuring a photograph of a nearly naked, heavily tattooed middle-aged man. They were eventually discovered, and prosecuted for this in May, 1962.

Ironically, the books that Orton and Halliwell vandalised have become the most valued of the Islington Library service collection."

A confession: I sometimes correct factual errors in library books.

I just can’t stand the thought of the next reader being misinformed by some bonehead author.

Agreed, while defacing library books is generally a mortal sin in my book*, it can have some…interesting results, sometimes.

Like a used copy of Weapons of Tomorrow that I ordered off of Amazon, once. It had a few figures and corrections penciled in, mostly on ICBMs. Both in the text, and in at least one chart—“Countercity Capability/Equivilant Megatonnage,” an overall comparison of US and Soviet missiles.

I later checked the inside cover…according to the stamping, it was a former library book.

A military base library book.

Whiteman Air Force Base.


*Like that asshole who ripped a page out of the Art of Inu Yasha book out of my local library. Anyone who’s read that book, I’ll give you two guesses on what page it was.

I write in books. (My own books, that is, unless I’ve been instructed by a professor to run wild in a rented textbook. I don’t know anyone who’s been fined for writing in rented textbook, though, unless it was obscenities.) I mark recurring imagery or write notes connecting a passage to a previous passage or mark a thesis statement or note allusions to different works or blah blah blah. It has its place.

Anyway, this reminds me of the time I checked out a compilation of fashion plates from Harper’s Bazaar (I think; it might have been Godey’s) and somebody had outlined heavily around the figures on a bunch of pages, some of them full-color and on glossy paper. There were a few pages torn out too. It made me mad when the text had referenced the plate torn out as one that was especially representative of a particular fashion. I’m guessing whoever did it wanted to trace the figures, but come on–make a photocopy! I can’t get really mad at someone for jotting, “See Warner, Marina. Beast to Blonde, pg. 151,” in the margine, but I can be completely pissed at someone who vandalizes.

Thankfully, I’ve never run into a censored book at any of the libraries I’m a member of. I can’t really figure out why, since my college town has a lot of crazy-eyed prudes in it.