About once a year, and usually in the springtime season, it becomes necessary to direct the shaft of editorial invective against an unfortunately large body of amateur shop-lifters who surreptitiously smuggle books from the open shelves of Widener Library Viewed from the impersonal stand-point, the existence of such a number of gentlemen of easy conscience is amazing, and the losses, which average over 300 books per year, are far greater than one would suspect. From the strictly personal standpoint, there is absolutely nothing more annoying or futile than searching on the shelves for books which have already clandestinely disappeared.
It would hardly be worthwhile to dignify book-lifting with the title of petty larceny, but an average of 300 stolen books per year, and over 150 missing in the single fall term of 1929, makes a situation that cannot be overlooked. One professor of note has assured his classes that any man whom he finds smuggling books will be expelled. He has the right idea. Though the punishment may not fit the crime, it is probably humane compared with the vengeance which the inconvenienced and thwarted users of the book would like to take upon the person of the offender. The offender, if he could realize the trouble he is causing and the warth he calls forth would probably mond his ways.
With hour examinations rampant, and numberless theses in the offing the pressure for books will be great. It is high time for someone to inaugurate a college-wide "Steal-Less-Books-from-Widener-Week."