Thursday, March 09, 2006

The World Record for Stolen Library Books?

Does the Pahang State Library hold the world record for largest number of stolen library books, I wonder? This story is a couple of years old, but I don't remember reading it in the papers here. It was picked up by AFP and I came across it on a Zambian website. (Bizarre the way stories travel!)
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysians in central Pahang state have failed to return more than 20 000 books including some rare and limited editions from the state library, it was reported.

Some of the books were taken from the Pahang Public Library as long as 28 years ago, state library acting director Faridzah Jaafar said.

Several of the missing books are rare and printed only as limited editions and as such are practically irreplaceable, she said.

"We have tried many ways; some of the borrowers we contacted by letters or memos, some through the telephone, but it is difficult," the Bernama news agency quoted her as saying late on Wednesday.

"Some of them have moved out of Kuantan, Pahang, some admitted the books they borrowed were damaged and some had even died.

"Even more shocking, some of the borrowers admitted they were 'keeping' the books on purpose, because the books were so rare," she said.

The library has an "amnesty month" which is held to enable borrowers to return all overdue books without being fined.

"All they need to do is put the books in a special bin outside the library. They don't have to worry about being known or blacklisted by the library management," she said.
It's not the kind of statistic that would ever find itself in The Malaysia Book of Records though. (The pin picture with the most pins, the longest sitting Santa Claus, the biggest Malaysian flag made from tin cans, the highest water fountain and the largest cement tree, yes. Anything slightly negative, nope, of course not.)

Postscript:

Walker is conducting a poll to see how many stolen library books people have, and which books they've defaced. I confessed. Don't tell on me!

15 comments:

Jee said...

Oh gosh.. where is the civil awareness of fellow Malaysians?

What were the peeps thinking at the first place for not returning the books, it's thieving and just so not right.

Lydia Teh said...

In this case, Malaysia (tak) Boleh!

Sufian said...

Malaysians stealing books! Who would've thunk it possible!

This is good news indeed!

Barkeep! (non alcoholic but tasty) drinks for everyone!

cheng sim said...

HAHAHAHA
what a rare record!
wait.
*checks the library book*

oh crap, im 3 days late!

simon said...

hah. only in malaysia. i can never imagine this happening to British Council or the Lincoln Library.

Greenbottle said...

i must say i truly admire pahang people even if the story is only half true...don't know that they are such book lovers. And pahangites stealing RARE books?! ...

what next...book robbers?...come to think of it I think it's not such a bad idea to rob kino or borders....

The Great Swifty said...

Hm. People in Pahang are pretty cultured. On the other hand, here's the second part of my guestblogger's article about Yukio Mishima's Sea of Fertility tetralogy. I know, it's wrong to plug it here, but this is the only place where I think people might show some REMOTE interest towards such an article.

bibliobibuli said...

sufian - you remind me of a librarian friend who doesn't bat an eyelid about lost books and says at least they are in circulation somewhere

greenbottle - now don't YOU go getting ideas

swifty - advertise all you like ... i'm overjoyed to see people writing about books and will pop along and read you later ... i did read the first part but felt a bit guilty becasue i should have read the book (now i'll have to)

the rest of you - just take your library books back in time, okay!

Anonymous said...

Simon last I checked the BC and Licoln Center are both in Malaysia :)

Anonymous said...

_Lincoln_ Center.. blah. I blame the keyboard. :P

Cheeky Monkey said...

I've not been to the National Library for years!!! Like the last time was when I was back in college doing some research. I remember seeing lots of reference books but no fiction. :P Probably in a different section. But whoever that has gone there, how is it like? Any better than going to a local bookstore? ;D Anyways, it's too far for me to travel.

It's so typical of Malaysians, really. Just yesterday, I saw a mother let her child stand on top of books that was displayed nicely on a platform. One book even fell off. Inside, I was like "Oi! Tak pantang ke?!!" When I gasped in shock, the lady just looked at me, took her child away, put back the book, and mutterred a quick sorry and walked away. And what does she have to say to the child? "Che-che (sis) scold already" -_-...

Walker said...

Your librarian friend's passive attitude is so at odds with the draconian methods employed by our own librarians when books aren't returned for long periods. Having said that, their 'status comments' for missing books in the city library's catalogue suggest they aren't entirely devoid of humour. (Under availability, I've seen comments like: "done a Lord Lucan" and "put on his jacket, flounced out, never returned".)

bibliobibuli said...

cheeky monkey - oooh can't bear the thought of someone letting a kid stand on books ... horror story

walker - i like the comments ...

Anonymous said...

"Some of them have moved out of Kuantan, Pahang, some admitted the books they borrowed were damaged and some had even died."

Another rare case of anditis -- I never knews books could die. :)

bibliobibuli said...

*LOL* hadn't noticed that! you're right of course.