Why do people cut pages out of library books?

Went to the library sunday afternoon, and among several books I got a cookbook called “It’s All American Food”. When I went to read it, I found lots of pages had been cut or ripped out. Probably at least 30 in total. What is wrong with people that they are too damn lazy to use a copier? Do I call the library and report the damage? I’m afraid they’ll try to pin it on me and make me pay for the book.

They won’t blame you. If by some miracle the pages were stolen by the previous borrower they may be banned forever. Probably the library will be unable to find the idiot who did it. Make it up to them - give them some other books. If I buy a book and after reading it can’t think of someone who would like it, I give it to the library. If I want to refer to it again I know where it is, it doesn’t take up my shelf space and the libraries all think I’m a terrific fellow.

This may belong in the Pit—along with my rant about the ass-monkey who underlined and made notes all over the library copy of Gay New York I just read. Hasn’t that goddam moron ever heard of Post-It Notes?!

If libraries bothered, they could cross-reference patrons who had checked out the damaged books. Problem is, it’s likely being done by someone inside the library who doesn’t bother to check out the books/magazines. Also, libraries simply accept it as part of doing business.

They do it because they’re lazy jerks and just don’t care. I’ve read that this even happens at the Library of Congress to really valuable materials.

Maybe I’m just a traditionalist, but people who cut up, deface, or otherwise vandalize books should have the same thing done to them. On their bodies.

The world is full of some exceedingly selfish people.

My father’s family went through a severe tornado in 1893. All of the buildings on their farm were destroyed and most of their animals killed. They survived by going into a cave used for cold storage.

They bought a book about the storm and then made the mistake of lending it to someone. That family moved out of the area and on their way out they dropped the book off. It had all of the pages concerning their area torn out,

The story has a 100 year late happy ending however. I inherited the ruined remains of the book. Just last year my wife said I should try to get the missing pages and repair the book. So I wrote the Historical Society in my old home town and, sure enough, they had a copy. the sent me copies of the missing pages and I copied the rest; printed them out and bound them into a brand new book.

The ending is only partially happy. My parents and sister are all dead, but I do have some cousins left who now have copies of the book.

People who cut pages out of books usually have many other issues. As a librarian, I do have to say it’s a cost of doing business. There are only so many books you can squirrel away so nobody damages them.

There is a guy who comes in to my library and tears out the horse racing results. Despite the fact that we could print them off the Web for free, he would just rather rip up the paper. And he’s been told and warned and had security officers talk to him. But he just doesn’t care. He also comes in sometimes with a carton of ice cream and eats in the library.

He doesn’t care.

It’s just that there are things like privacy. Once the book is returned it’s nobody’s business who has had it before (or should be in a civilised society) so there should be no records about previous readers.

In general libraries don’t keep track of people who had checked out books in the past because of privacy issues and because it’s an awful lot of computer storage you need.

The only time a prior checkout is recorded is if the book were returned late and there is an outstanding charge on it. And once that is paid off, that record disappears as well.

This may have been at least partly urban legend among law students, but allegedly there used to be an ugly “tradition” in law schools of students snipping out cases simply to prevent their colleagues from being able to study. When I started law school in 1991, it was a point of pride that such things happened only very rarely at my school - whereas at others, such vicious competition wasn’t uncommon. Of course, even by 1991 the availability of on-line cases reduced that incentive dramatically.

Our local court house had to change their procedures for letting people look at the record books because of this. Previously, if someone was doing genealogical research, they would just point them to the approproate ledgers, and let them look to their heart’s content.

That is, until some vomitous piece of human excement ripped out pages from the ledgers. There’s a copy machine (which is free to use) less than three feet away from the table, but apparently this person felt it too inconvenient, and so removed the records, not only of their own family, but of many others who were also on the pages they tore from the book.

Now, a staff member stands guard in the room while people do their research. Of course, this has meant that the records can only be accessible during much-shortened hours, because the city can’t afford to pay for a full-time “guard.”

Thankfully, the library of the museum in which I work did not have to learn this lesson the hard way. Our librarian jealously guards her paper children, (she goes so far as to forbid ink pens from entering the reading room) so we have yet to have a book damaged by a vistor.

Please disregard the signiature in my post.

Those who are interested in the subject of demolishing library books (or rather its prevention) might find a book called The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey interesting.

they want to go to Hell.

Granted, not the really bad Hell that child-abusers & other predators go to but one of the petty Hells where they have to put up with chronic annoyances on a regular basis.


I imagine them being tormented by having the secret to escaping hell continually dangled in front of them, but when they try to learn the secret, the one piece of vital information they need has been ripped out.