Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Mystery of the 90,000 Vanishing Books

The JoongAng Daily printed a fascinating article today about the community spirited citizens of Daejeon and their wonderful abuse of the local subway book lending scheme:

As part of the “Library for Citizens” program launched at subway stations across Daejeon in April 2007, Daejeon Express Transit Corporation stocked bookshelves with 800 books. In less than two years, acquisitive readers have cleaned them out. Only 30 or so books remain.

770 books missing in two years? That's not bad going..... But wait.....

When the second stage of construction on Daejeon’s subway line No. 1 was completed, the transit authority provided 22 subway stations with about 30,000 books that had been mainly donated by citizens. Whenever books went missing, the authority restocked them.

It was an uphill battle.

So far, the authority has added some 66,000 books. However, there are only 6,000 books left; 90,000 books have vanished.

90,000 books? A stunning feat by the literary underworld of Daejeon. They must have been fascinating novels and works of non-fiction for people to want to steal them. They were pinched for the love of the written word, weren't they?

When the value of recyclable paper shot up last July, about 2,000 books went missing every day.

Oh dear.... Well, at least the thieving bastards care about the environment....

Faced with rampant pilfering, the transit authority plans to launch a campaign to restore books for the library. To add muscle to the effort, the authority will place teams at each station to impress upon would-be petty thieves the need to keep public property public. The teams will meet once a month starting in February. About 500 people, including transit officials, civic groups and citizens, are expected to participate.

Labels reading, “These books are public property of Daejeon citizens. Let’s be conscientious and make sure that books are returned after reading,” will also be attached to all books, the authority added. To aid the consciousness-raising effort, the transit authority plans to set up separate boxes beside the shelves to hold returned books.

Good luck to them, hopefully the bookworms will win out and the public transport traveling citizens of Daejeon will be able to read to their hearts' content.

No comments: