Return Your Library Books or Go Directly To Jail, Do Not Pass Go

Posted: August 31, 2008 by Sho Ikeda in Libraries
Tags: , , ,

From BoingBoing:

A judge has ordered JoAn Karkos of Lewiston, Maine to return two copies of It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health, which she checked out the Lewiston and Auburn public libraries last year.

In September, Karkos sent letters to the libraries, including checks to pay for the cost of the books. The letters said, in part, “I have been sufficiently horrified of the illustrations and sexually graphic, amoral, abnormal contents. I will not be returning the books.”

The judge has ordered Karkos, who is being held in contempt of court, to return the books and pay a $100 fine by Friday at 4pm. If she doesn’t comply, she’ll be arrested.

In 2007, NPR reported on the incident, providing several links, including a link to a letter Karkos wrote to the Sun Journal.

A great comment from the discussion below the post:

Speaking as a librarian I can only say, GOOD.

She stole these books (refusing, not just forgetting, to return a library item after the due date is theft) and then tried to buy off her crime.

I can’t recall it off hand, but there was something of a meme running in Victorian england wherein well-to-do young men would go on property crime sprees and then had mum and dad pay for the damage. The Hellfire Club perhaps? This reminds of me of that.

She’s better than the people who cut “offensive” materials out of books with X-acto knives and straight-razors, but not by much.

The slippery slope here is that deep pocketed types could simply check out materials they don’t like, pay for them and fund a sort of private censorship. Materials, especially ones related to sexual development, abuse and other “touchy” social issues need to be available. It can take weeks or even months to repurchase, reprocess and get a book back on the shelves.

I hope they throw the books at her.



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