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Like that one kid in your class who would order all the Scholastic books

Taking all the books at a tiny free library

A Cambridgeport resident watched in amazement last night as somebody stopped at the intersection of Putnam Avenue and Acorn Street, got out, went up to the little free library there and removed all the books.

He stumbled over the snowbank with the stack, piled them into a very full looking back seat, and drove off into the night.

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Comments

Dealers have lost their main source of supply - library sales.

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Or, needs something to burn to keep warm.

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And I think it's high time Little Libraries started stamping "IF YOU BOUGHT THIS BOOK IT WAS STOLEN FROM A LITTLE LIBRARY" on the covers and first couple of pages. Books acquired from little libraries should be put back in other little libraries, or gifted to others.

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Voracious.

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That was the slogan of the late, lamented WordsWorth bookstore in Harvard Square: "for the voracious reader". And they had a sketch of a book with a big chomp taken out of it, as well. (Artist for the book bite sketch was the well known cat cartoonist, B. Kliban.)

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Dinner followed by a visit to WordsWorth was a favorite date night when I was in college. My heart was broken when they closed.

I had no idea the book bite picture was a B. Kilban - cool!

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[I was the "anon" in the earlier WordsWorth comment, not sure why it didn't list my name -- just in case, I'm Charles Bahne.]

Yes, dinner and WordsWorth was one of my first dates with my wife. Not the first, but soon after. Even after we were living together and eventually married, it remained a favorite.

The fact that WordsWorth was right across the street from where we caught our bus home was a big plus, too. We kept looking at our watch while we browsed, then ran across the street and down the stairs when it was 5 minutes before the bus departure.

We were/are also into music, and later having HMV and then Tower Records at the same corner gave us plenty of browsing opportunities. We'd always ask, which store do we browse in tonight?

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Although that was probably actual need rather than reuse. She packed the bags like she was grocery shopping.

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Doesn't take a big family to wind up needing the whole micro pantry at one go.

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To think you're entitled to the whole thing instead of taking some fraction of it so others can help themselves as well.

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They observed, took a photo and then did nothing?

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The little libraries are giving the books away. This jerk was violating the spirit of the endeavor but they weren't committing a crime.

Jerks will be jerks.

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It is a crime, it”s called being a public nuisance.

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File a police report. Perhaps a visit from the police would provide encouragement for return of the books.

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You must be kidding or not live in Boston. Police won't respond to actual crimes, why should they respond this? (And taking free books from a little library is not even a public nuisance).

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Have you ever interacted with the police? Like, ever? Ever? Bless your heart you're optimistic af. There'd never be an officer get a "visit" from, and invoking the State to handle a community problem is, well...no.

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This is exactly correct.

We had ours nearly cleaned out (and observed on a security camera) at the crack of dawn by a middle-aged white-presenting woman accompanied by a teacup dog and sporting a high-fashion look who no one in our Roxbury neighborhood recognized. We don't even think she was probably someone who flipped items on eBay/Amazon, because she left the expensive academic small-press items donated by local Roxbury professor/sociologist/geeky folks and took mostly mass-market children's books. She probably was just be a free-stuff-obsessed person. Who knows? The LFLs are on a public map, so people wanting to take more than their reasonable share are able to find them and travel to them.

The great thing about LFLs is that when this happened, I posted on LFL social media that an overly eager reader had stopped by, several LFLs shared it, and a ton of books showed up (both personally dropped off in the library and sent via our wishlist). There are a lot more community-minded people out there than not, which is what makes societies basically work after all, so we ended up with one greedy wacko and dozens of generous folks who get what honor system libraries are all about.

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Approach the woman and find out why she is taking all of the books. People aren't making bank by selling used books on ebay or amazon. If you're leaving valuable antiquarian books in the little free library then stop doing so and instead sell them to a reputable used book dealer and donate the money to a local shelter, thanks.

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"a middle-aged white-presenting woman"

Is this a thing now? How does one present as white?

The rest of what you wrote was spot on. LFLs are what they are. People add and subtract as their are wont to do. I'm dying to track down a good one to provide a trove of once read children's books.

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I would suggest going to https://littlefreelibrary.org/ and looking up your local ones. You can read the descriptions from the steward and see if there's one in which your books would particularly fit. Several of the ones in Boston have a particular focus (BIPOC, all-around diversity, children, teens, etc.). It's really great of you to want to pass along your books.

As for your other "question," surely you can't be serious. Or unable to use google.

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I have been stumbling over Captain Underpants constantly, and the recycle bin is not the place for him.

But yes, that phrase. First, why does it matter what race the pilferer was, let alone what race they were trying to make people think they were? Second, what does "presenting" mean? In Boston 100 years ago the interethnic fights were between the Irish, Italians, Jews, and those WASPs who were left. Would we assume that the first three groups were "presenting as white" at the time? If so, what are they doing now?

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First, why does it matter what race the pilferer was, let alone what race they were trying to make people think they were? Second, what does "presenting" mean?

You appear to be making an incorrect assumption about the purpose for the questions, and that's what's tripping you up. The word is given as a description for the purposes of identifying this person, and "presenting" means "appears to be at a casual glance".

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People are just happy to unload books but the boxes are put there by for profit sellers and none of the money goes to charity. Looks like they're expanded their range.

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The War Against Literacy is upon us.

Screens are better.

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cares? Geesh. Can anything stay a mole hill? Bitch, bitch, bitch. This site should be renamed universal bitch sesh hub.

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Geesh. Can any discussion stay a mole hill? Bitch, bitch, bitch. This section should be renamed universal bitch sesh comment hub.

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the hub is awesome but the comment section sure has a lot of toxuc sludge in it

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If UHub's comments are toxic sludge, the Globe's are goddamn Chernobyl.

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hey just got back from the Herald comment section, and :eyes fall out: wow I like the Hub

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Cool story.

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u mad bro?

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That station wagon is sagging on its springs and looks to have junk piled high everywhere. Don't want to defend this person, buuuut they seem to have a lot going on.

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You can sell used books on Amazon for short money.

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I believe I recognize the vehicle; it looks like one that used to park in front of my former workplace in Newton. It was always loaded to the ceiling/riding low on it's shocks, full if printed material. It looked to be random stuff, nothing valuable - a "crazy person car".

The driver raised the ire of the local hair salon with their habit of collecting the salon's magazines and absconding with them. I also witnessed a very irate reaction at the local Starbucks where the tip jar was pointedly taken off the counter with accompanying hard stares until the driver left. They noted there was a history behind their hostility.

While emptying out the local tiny library is indeed against the expectations I suspect the books will indeed be returned to the great print cycle at some point. The driver appeared to have some sort of support system (bathed, housing, etc.) so presumably the books will be eventually collected from their hoard and passed on.

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My mother hoarded books and magazines, but I doubt she would have ever gone to a free library and looted them.

Then again, she had other loving humans around who moderated her behavior and set hoard limits after an earthquake caused book slides. I wonder if the vehicle is sufficiently *his* space to do this? Would not surprise me.

There is a "hoard car" that has been parked on the exact boundary of Medford and Somerville for years that is a local's mancave. Here's "gen 2" after the first one (an 80s Bronco) caught fire. The guy lives with relatives who don't tolerate him hoarding up the house.

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This is actually a recommendation of the clinician groups that work with hoarders. They suggest that if possible, let the person have a room, shed, basement, storage unit, car, whatever that they can keep as they like. The person's friends and family should insist that means of egress are kept safe, kitchen and bathroom are clear and sanitary, etc. (and if sharing a home with others, all common spaces stay clean too), but say nothing about the designated "stuff" space and respect it as theirs. The suggestion for city folks who don't have basements and spare rooms and things is to get a crappy car.

There tend to be two general groups of hoarders. One is extremely depressed and/or disorganized folks who leave every item including their trash and dishes exactly where they used it. These folks often aren't able to attend to hygiene, don't leave the house a whole lot, etc. They often present as a person with an obvious psychiatric disability.

The other is folks who have a sort of variant on OCD, where they form attachments to items and are soothed by being able to control these possessions. They may have undiagnosed neurodivergence and a history of growing up without any of their sensory needs and needs for predictability considered. These are the people who often lead a "normal" life -- they might be a bit different, but they appear clean and healthy and often are employed and have relationships. The second group is usually much easier for loved ones to convince to keep the stash in the car or guest room.

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No offense meant to anyone but I don’t think your argument of “my mom was a hoarder and Hey! she’s not a jerk!” Carries the weight you think it does.

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The point was that book hoarding is a thing. And that having people in one's life who can set limits on it matters. And that people who hoard and have those limits often declare themselves a hoarding space that is theirs alone. And that hoarding space is sometimes a motor vehicle.

Way to read things in that are not there. (see eeka's comment, above)

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Pure supposition folks.
No one actually knows why these books were taken.
One possibility is the person was taking them to be redistributed to people in need.
I did just that last summer as part of a volunteer food delivery to families in need gig I participated in last year after being directed by the custodian of a little free library to please take as many children’s books as needed.

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Please let us know what you did do with the books?

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... the children of the families we were delivering food to. We ended up having some extra books because of donations that came in late, so we donated those to the little library.
The kids were really happy. They had been starved for new books because they couldn’t go to the BPL.

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No good deed goes unpunished.

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