The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

90° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Books tagged with hate speech

Valentina Martinelli  / Arizona Daily Wildcat

A selection of damaged books found on shelves throughout the UA Main Library include offensive hand-written phrases. The books were pulled from the shelves and are no longer available for check out.
Valentina Martinelli
Valentina Martinelli / Arizona Daily Wildcat A selection of damaged books found on shelves throughout the UA Main Library include offensive hand-written phrases. The books were pulled from the shelves and are no longer available for check out.

Editors’ note: The following article contains language of a sensitive and potentially offensive nature. The views expressed in this article do not reflect the views of the Arizona Daily Wildcat or the reporter. The inside portion of this story may be too graphic for those who are uncomfortable with such language.

Hate-related writing in pen ink damaged 53 library books at the Main Library. It was reported to the University of Arizona Police Department on Nov. 17. There are no suspects or witnesses. There is also no time frame known regarding when the damage might have occurred, but employees believe it was done during a period of months.

Deborah Smith, a library information associate, found the books while conducting a routine inventory. The writing made offensive remarks toward religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation and gender, according to Smith.

The books that were written in were not just in one concentrated area, but were dispersed throughout the library. The library employee did not know when this could have been done, but said that there were no cameras where these books were kept.

“”Because of the angles of the security cameras, we aren’t able to go back and see who picked up the books,”” said Gabrielle Sykes-Casavant, director of marketing and public relations for the library. Smith told police that the books must have been in the library when they were written on, and not checked out, because they would have noticed the damage during the intake process if they were returned. The damage was discovered while the books were still on the shelves.

Library policy states that when a book from the library is damaged, the user will be responsible and charged $165. Given that there were 53 books total, if it was one person who damaged the books, that person would be accountable for $8,745 to the UA Main Library.

The writing in the books said things like, “”Can a Jew act,”” “”that fucking stupid arrogant sticker on his jacket,”” “”that’s what all faggots are about and the other says fag,””

“”Oh yohann! I didn’t know you were a queer, you no good faggot”” and “”fucking niggers, a nigger lover epic.””

“”These books were not checked out. These books were just on the shelves. There’s no way of knowing who the individual was,”” Sykes-Casavant said.

UAPD Officer Jason Carr examined the books and observed that there was an extensive amount of handwriting in each book. Some books contained writing on only four to five pages, while others had more than a hundred pages with writing on them.

While Carr was looking at the books, about five employees stated that they had found and turned in other books with the same kind of content written in them. One of the employees told the officer that she remembered seeing similar writing in books as far as four years ago. None of the employees had any suspect information. These books were collected over the years and the library staff decided to report it recently in order to document the loss to the library. These books are no longer available for checkout and are kept in the library staff room for security. No one has come forward saying that they are uncomfortable or offended by the content.

“”We are currently processing a claim in reference of the damage to the books,”” Sykes-Casavant said. “”Policy says to pull the books from the shelf when it’s noticed, and it goes to a quarantine process until the claim is filed and then, at that point, the books are completely destroyed.””

More to Discover
Activate Search