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Literal theft . . . Dean Guthrie will stock up the library one day and it will all be gone the next. PHOTO: GEORGE CLARK

by George Clark

A Timaru community book library is being emptied almost as fast as it is filled, a volunteer says.

Dean Guthrie stocks a community book library in Evans St and says ever since lockdown began in late March books keep being stolen.

“I come out and all the books are gone,” Mr Guthrie said.

“They are not getting thrown into the garden or anything like that.

“I do not know who is doing it but I will fill it up one day and see them all gone the next.”

Mr Guthrie has been running the library for about four years. His father regularly drops books donated by South Canterbury residents to his home.

Mr Guthrie wants to continue to give the community literary enjoyment but is becoming frustrated by the lack of respect.

“I am seriously considering putting a stop to filling it up.

“I have a lot of people putting books in, to the point it is chock-a-block, and coming out the next day, they are all gone.

“I do not know what people are doing with them but surely they cannot be worth enough money to sell.”

People were welcome to take a book, he said. If they wanted to return it or swap it, they could.

Mr Guthrie’s father, who did not want to be named, ran 20 community book libraries across South Canterbury and saw the same thing happening.

“Dad actually had someone light a book on fire and shove it back in, but he must not have realised that when the door shuts it seals the air.”