Can it really be true? Police dispatched to retrieve overdue library books from a five-year-old? It is.
The chief of police in Charlton, Massachusetts sent a uniformed police officer to pay a visit to a home and demand the return of two overdue library books.
A sergeant from the Charlton Police Department was dispatched to the home of Shannon Benoit and her five-year-old daughter. The sergeant’s task: to investigate two library books that were a few months overdue. The CBS affiliate in Boston covered the story:
The books were recovered and returned to the shelves for use by other Charlton residents.
Was this a good use of police assets? Even the man assigned to the case was not so certain. He told the CBS reporter;
“Nobody wanted to, on this end to get involved in it,” says Sgt. Dowd. “But the library contacted us, and the chief delegated, and apparently I was one of the low men on the totem pole.”
It has been just over 105 years since the library in Charlton, MA was involved in a controversy. Back then, the hubbub was about the removal of Mark Twain’s short story “Eve’s Diary.” The problem with the Mark Twain book was related to the illustrations of Eve in her “summer costume.”
Oddly enough, the ban on “Eve’s Diary’ lasted until October of 2011:
Does the use of police power to enforce library rules sound vaguely familiar? It should.
Back in 1997, an episode of Seinfeld featured Detective Bookman of the New York Public Library making a visit to Jerry’s apartment: