Creeps in the Library

Disclaimer: Be sure to check out the most recent update to this article at the bottom. Very heartening!

We’ve all heard the occasional strange story about libraries and all the things people do in them besides read, whether it’s college kids getting down in some dusty, never-visited section or it’s Aimee Bender’s short story “Quiet, Please“—a heartrending tale of sex and grief in a local library. But none of the ones I’ve ever heard or read quite come to the level of creepy.

Of course, if you’re anything like me, you’re always on the prowl for the movie, novel, or short story that ends up on the creepier end of the scale. I only wish I hadn’t found just such a story in a recent news article.

Yesterday afternoon, Vox writer Dylan Matthews came out with an article about the Dag Hammarskjöld Library at the United Nations, discussing the implications of which book from their stacks saw the most reader-traffic in 2015.

“To be clear,” Matthews writes, “The UN is full of delegates representing awful dictatorships, and the book that got checked out the most from the UN library was …”


“…about how to be immune from war crimes prosecution. That does not seem like a good thing!”

That’s right, the book that got checked out most from the UN library in 2015 was about how world leaders can score a Get Out of Jail Free card.

What do you think? Got any creepy (hopefully fictional) library stories to beat this wildness?


Vox just updated their article to include some heartening new information:

Reuters’ UN correspondent, Michelle Nichols, reports that the UN has responded to all the press this announcement has gotten. According to Nichols’ information, Pedretti’s book is the most popular “new” book in the library, and it wasn’t read all that often. [borrowed twice and checked out for browsing four times]

Check out the full Vox article here:  Matthews, Dylan, “The UN library announced its most-checked-out book of 2015. It’s kind of disturbing.


3 thoughts on “Creeps in the Library”

  1. How about Stephen King’s “The Library Policeman”? One of his creepiest ever, in my humble opinion. Also, why would the UN library have, or need, a volume on escaping war crimes prosecution? What kind of standards do these people have, anyway? Do they have a book on how to improve on the original Holocaust? A step-by-step on how Chairman Mao starved 20 million citizens? A manual on the legal precedents for religious persecution? Who chooses these things?

    Michael Brewer

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