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Someone is hiding Coeur d’Alene library’s anti-Trump books

A mystery in the stacks at Coeur d'Alene Public Library. (Coeur d'Alene Public Library).

In Idaho, someone has been hiding books that criticize President Trump in their local library. Not stealing them. Just … hiding them.

Bette Ammon is the director of the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. She’s also the lead detective on the case.

“We continue to search for books that are missing,” Ammon said. “Sometimes we find them buried in the fiction when they should be in the nonfiction.”

Other times, Ammon said, the spines of the books are turned inward.

Library staff have been searching for the missing books and putting them back on their correct shelves since the summer of 2018.

No one has claimed responsibility, Ammon said. But last week, the mystery person revealed their motive.

“We actually did receive a note from the person who’s hiding books, telling us that they were protecting young people from books that were against the president,” Ammon said.

Other hidden books have covered topics like LGBTQ rights or women’s suffrage, The New York Times reports. Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices” was among the missing titles.

The New York Times drew a potential connection to the history of white supremacist groups in Coeur d’Alene, but Ammon doesn’t quite see it that way.

“I really don’t think this has anymore to do with that than just somebody exercising their political viewpoint,” she noted.

She’s more concerned about the cost to taxpayers. The library staff has to spend time searching for the books, and sometimes orders new copies before they can find where the book has been tucked away.

“What also worries me is that it just keeps library patrons from access to those materials,” Ammon said. “That’s worrisome no matter what the content of the hidden books is.”

Since the story made headlines, people have donated more progressive books to the library. In that sense, the silent protest seems to have backfired.

Stephen Colbert promised to send a giant copy of his satirical children’s book, “Whose Boat is This Boat?” to the library. The book mocks President Trump’s comments in the wake of Hurricane Florence. It will be much too large to hide, but just in case, Colbert stuck a tracker on the front cover.

The library has not received the book yet.

“And our intention is, if we do receive the big book from Colbert, we plan on a display that would feature books on all kinds of things,” Ammon said. “Libraries provide books for all kinds of readers.”

When Rick Reilly visits Coeur d’Alene Thursday to speak about his new book, “Commander in Cheat,” he plans on hiding copies throughout the library.

Ammon confirmed that the library does carry plenty of pro-Trump literature as well.

“In fact, the Dewey Decimal system being what it is, those books are shelved next to each other in the 973’s,” Ammon said.

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