A week ago, I went to the library to return some books and also to lodge a complaint.
I told the librarian in charge that the book titled Outlier by Malcolm Gladwell was defaced with ink smudges and highlight dots. Whenever the past reader decided that he likes one of the statements, he will put a big black dot at the beginning of a sentence or a pair of small brackets for his favourite paragraph.
I am the second reader, so it would be easy to track the first one who borrowed the book. The librarian said she will put a note on the borrower’s profile. That much they can do, because they don’t have the evidence that the borrower himself / herself actually done it, it might be his / her friends or family members who had done it. I am not sure if I conceded with the logic, but I have made my point.
The book is a public book. It is hardback and costs RRP at £16.99. It outraged me to know there is somebody out there who had the nerve to write or dot or highlight passages in a public book. Someone who reads non-fictions. Someone who is probably educated and not so considerate. The smudged and highlighted pages are not less than 5 pages, but 60 pages!!! (60 pages out of 299 pages – 20%. One dot a page is qualified as a defacement).
To be honest, I like to read a friend’s (or someone I know) book with highlights because that allows me to take a peep at what concepts or statements mattered to my friend’s, indirectly getting to know that person a little better. But a public library book??!! That is going a bit too far.
If you think a passage in a public library book is worth using a pen (I can forgive if someone were to use a pencil) to note and highlight it, why not buy yourself a copy and do it at your whims?