Someone keeps hiding the anti-Trump books at a northern Idaho library
COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO — From her office, Bette Ammon finds herself peering through a window to watch patrons moving through the Coeur d’Alene library’s non-fiction stacks. Someone has been hiding books — specifically, those that explore politics through a progressive lens or criticize U.S. President Donald Trump.
“I am going to continue hiding these books in the most obscure places I can find to keep this propaganda out of the hands of young minds,” the mystery book relocator wrote in a note left for Ammon, the library director, in the facility’s comment box. “Your liberal angst gives me great pleasure.”
For decades, Coeur d’Alene has navigated a delicate political landscape in northern Idaho, a conservative corner of the country.
While none of the books appear to have been stolen, some have been hidden in ways that made it nearly impossible to find them. They have been filed in the wrong sections, hidden behind novels, or shelved with the spine facing inward. Ammon said she and other workers have hunches about the culprit’s identity, but have yet to catch anyone in the act.
The library’s first battle over missing books began in the 1980s, the fallout from conflicts with a group of white supremacists who had settled in the region. The latest wave of disappearances started in 2018.
Several books critical of Trump have recently been targeted, including “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” “Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents” and “Whose Boat is This Boat?”
The library cannot afford a full surveillance video system, but one staff member tried setting up an ordinary webcam. The overwhelming amount of footage made that untenable. Another staff member brought in a drone to fly over stacks to see if there were books hidden out of reach. Nothing was spotted.
Through it all, Ammon said, the library has managed to maintain the diversity of its shelves. In the non-fiction stacks, a book by Al Franken, the former Democratic senator, sits right next to one by Newt Gingrich, the former Republican congressman.
“The Dewey decimal system is a great equalizer,” Ammon said.