September 2, 2014

[Update] LGBT Books Damaged With Urine @ Harvard Library

Posted on 13. Dec, 2010 by in News

UDPATE: Earlier this week the Harvard Crimson reported:

Approximately 40 books dealing with LGBT issues were vandalized with what appeared to be urine in Lamont Library on November 24, according to a report filed Friday by the library security staff to the Harvard University Police Department.

There was no explanation in the article about why the incident was only reported on Friday, and not closer to November 24th date, almost three weeks ago.

Yesterday the Crimson followed up with a report saying that the books may have been accidently damaged by a library staff member with what may or may not have been urine.

Some of our tipsters are dubious of this new information, so we’ll let you know if anything more develops. More from the story below.

HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano wrote in an e-mail that the vandalized books’ subject matters included lesbian and gay issues and same-sex marriage. Due to the nature of books, HUPD is currently investigating the incident as a bias crime.

The library staff members found an empty bottle next to the vandalized books that may have contained the urine, according to Harvard College Library spokeswoman Beth S. Brainard. The staff initially responded to the incident as a health hazard, quickly removing the bottle and relocating the damaged books to the Collections Conservation Lab on Level D of Widener Library.

Brainard said that the library staff assessed the value of the vandalized books before reporting the incident, accounting for the space of two weeks between the incident and the  report to HUPD. The books—which Brainard estimated to be worth a few thousand dollars—will be discarded due to the severity of the damage.

As you can imagine, the comments section on this article has quickly devolved—as most comments sections are prone.

College prank? Coincidence? Or hate crime? Probably all three.

[Via Harvard Crimson]

Antonio Gonzalez Cerna is the editor of LambdaLiterary.org and the former web producer for HN.com and MLV.com. His publishing background includes marketing and publicity positions with The Penguin Press, Riverhead, Berkley, NAL, DAW and Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books). Email | Facebook | Twitter

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