Today marks Day 5 of the Department of Public Safety’s ongoing search for the unidentified patron who checked out a book at E. S. Bird Library on Tuesday.
According to the incident report, the patron chose a large, thick book from the shelves at approximately 3:30 PM. The patron then brought the book to the circulation desk, had it checked out, and left the library with the book in their possession.
It’s the most dramatic incident of library use at SU since 2003, when an unidentified patron asked librarians if there was a physical alternative to the online card catalog.
DPS Sgt. Tim J. Hooker told reporters that authorities are checking into every available lead, and casting as wide a net as possible.
“We suspect that the patron is a graduate student, and are expanding the focus of our investigation to non-traditional students and exchange students,” said Hooker. “All we know is that the perpetrator is literate, and extremely dangerous.”
“And definitely not an undergrad.”
The flagrant act of readership was committed in broad daylight, with Bird Library full of students. Sophomore Public Relations major Cortnee Sanders was at a first floor table using Facebook when the incident occurred.
“I knew something was up when they blew straight by the cafÃ©,” said Sanders. “And they weren’t wearing a Greek life-related hoodie, or looking for an outlet to plug their laptop into.”
Sanders said she was shocked to her very core by such a brazen reader using Bird Library’s services.
“I mean, you hear about people reading magazines, newspapers, even whole books at other schools. It’s on CNN and stuff.”
“But when you go to a place like Syracuse, you tell yourself, “That kind of thing doesn’t happen here.’”
Campus police tried using library records to identify the checked-out book, but discovered that the machine ostensibly used to scan in library materials had been unplugged for decades. Librarians informed DPS that they “hadn’t gotten to use [the scanner] in so long that we forgot what it was for.”
But, according to Sgt. Hooker, based on eyewitness accounts of its cover and size, the book in question does not match any materials on any required reading lists for Syracuse or ESF classes.
“We don’t know exactly which book they have,” said Hooker. “But all evidence points to this deviant bibliophile being someone who ‘reads for pleasure.’”
“Whatever kind of sick fucking pleasure that is.”