Stop Book Destruction in University’s Library

by Saranphat Techodom December 8, 2016
Bangkok, Thailand

Whenever I go to the library, I’m always mad. Here’s why.

           As a university student, I usually spend time at the library reading and researching further classroom’s lecture. Most of the time, I am annoyed to find someone has been underlining, annotating, and even writing amendments in books. Some people insisted that it was fine with pencil to write lightly and erase before the books were returned. Even though I’m big on annotating and love reading others’ marginalia, but this strike me destructive use of a communal resource.

Bad example of annotating in public property (source by


         Do these vandalists consider that they will involve in library-book Vandalism? Sometimes termed intentional destruction of books or materials (Isebe, L.E.Marcus (June 2015), 1 (1): 1–11.) or book or material mutilation (Alan Jay Lincoln; Carol Zall Lincoln (1987), pp. 29–30.) is the act of damaging or defacing library books or other library holdings. Librarians consider book vandalism and mutilation a “threat to intellectual property” and have seen it as a “tremendous challenge to the library profession worldwide.”(Akussah & Bentil 2010, p. 103.)

Can we write in library’s books?

                  You have a right when the library’s policy gives specific approval for you to do. So, in over 60 years of using and managing libraries, it has never come across such a policy. Such as University of Toronto Library Conduct Regulations, Prohibited activities: “Please do not write in library books. By refraining from doing so, you are respecting your fellow library users and helping us preserve the cultural record of the past.”

It is not only the act of defacement but leading to the threat of intellectual property (source by 1)

               It is certainly common for people to write annotations within books that they read. They claim that what they think of the text can reflect through annotations. However, a library book, by definition does not belong to any single person but to the community that funds and runs the library and in that case of the annotation of a book. We call “defacement of another’s property.” Stop such behavior of selfishness. It shows no concern for other users but rather demonstrates the attitude “I can do whatever I want” which is one of the characteristics that ruins relationships between you and the society.

How to write in public books

Get organized and make everything right by Post-it sticky notes (source by

          Make it right. Use Post-it notes. I am Mr. “writes in books” as my own characteristic. All things I want to remember get scribbled in the margins of book I read. When I take books out from the library or a book from a friend, I can’t write in it. But I discovered use post-it notes or scrap paper to keep track of my ideas so that I don’t deface a book I shouldn’t. It can take permanent pens and highlighters to books, the Post-it notes can make non-permanent ownership of books a lot more enjoyable.

 Public conciousness should be concerned anywhere                

As a book lover it’s a responsibility to protect any books you have seen photo by Saranphat

           If any writing in library book is never okay for readers who have different reading and learning styles. It ruins the text layout and distracts others.  It’s such a selfish act of vandalism – at least in a book that one does not possess. A person should buy a copy for oneself that no one will have a reason to be mad at you for writing, drawing, coloring, or doing anything else in it.


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