Fund Established to Replace Children’s Books Stolen from Port Orchard Library

The Kitsap Regional Library is accepting donations to help the Port Orchard Library replace more than 1,300 children’s books that have disappeared from that branch in recent months, prompting an investigation by the Port Orchard Police Department.

The value of the books is worth an estimated $22,900, roughly 20 percent of the branch’s collection.

There are no new leads in the case, which has been assigned to a detective, Chief Al Townsend said Wednesday.

The books disappeared a few at a time over the past few months. Since circulation was up in January and February, staff did not immediately take note, said Branch Manager Kathleen Wilson.

The foundation has established a special account to benefit the Port Orchard branch, which shares its collection within the entire KRL system. Donors should designate their intention in a note or on their check, stating “Port Orchard Branch picture books” or “POB pic books,” said Foundation Director Peter Raffa.

The foundation will direct all donations over the next two months toward replacement of the collection, even without a note, Raffa said.

Donations are tax deductible. Send them to KRL Foundation, Sylvan Way Library, 1301 Sylvan Way, Bremerton, WA 98310.

7 thoughts on “Fund Established to Replace Children’s Books Stolen from Port Orchard Library

  1. Might try looking at Craigslist and local book shops. Have to assume books were clearly marked; one would think someone would have noticed them if they were sold locally.

  2. How can use lose 20% of your kids books and not notice it? If this is how KRL allows the libraries to be operated I really need to take a look at any levy lid lift in the future. It does not seem that KRL is a good steward of the taxpayers money or the taxpayers assets.

    What other surprises may await the taxpayers in the future? What else may be missing from the KRL coffers? Has anyone noticed anything at any of the other KRL facilities? Has a complete inventory been taken of all assets? Is this just the beginning of additional justification for the upcoming levy lift and the request for millions of taxpayer dollars?
    Just curious.

    Roger Gay
    South Kitsap

  3. Roger,
    Sorry you choose to turn an event that has victimized the families of the Port Orchard community into an anti-tax statement.

    As I has been noted in several of the stories about this theft, the books were stolen a bag at a time, not all at once, over a period of several weeks. The thefts occurred at a time when the Port Orchard library was experiencing a significant increase in circulation, so the immediate indication that the shelves weren’t as full as normal seemed to be a function of higher circulation, not theft. When the staff began noticing that books that were supposed to be checked in weren’t on the shelves, a full inventory was done and the thefts discovered.

    Shelf checks have been conducted at every other branch, and Port Orchard was the only branch to experience this.

    In most branches, staff can easily watch over the entire branch, but in Port Orchard, which is a converted post office, the children’s area is not in sight of the main circulation desk, and the library cannot staff the children’s area every minute the library is open. Our youth services librarians also run programs, perform outreach to the schools in South Kitsap and staff the reference desk at Port Orchard some of the time.

    Despite all that, a major theft of books has never happened in the past. When each dollar spent on security is a dollar that we can’t spend on books or on programs, you have to base your allocation for security on the perceived threat. It would not have made sense to buy expensive security systems to protect against a the possibility of an event that had never occurred before. Now the library will be forced to consider allocating more money for security, to the detriment of other things.

    The levy increase that KRL is considering has nothing to do with seeking dollars for increased security. Just the opposite. The idea is to pay for longer hours of operation and more books.

    Don’t you think it’s a shame that the library would have to consider spending any money at all to keep people from stealing something the are allowed to use for free?

    Jeff Brody
    KRL Director of Community Relations

  4. I’d like to report another example of great community reaction in support of the Port Orchard library.

    Several people had asked KRL to publish a list of books that were taken so people could buy replacements. There’s a real issue in doing that, because the library can purchase books at a significant discount, so cash in our hands goes a lot further than money spent by a potential donor on a book. In addition, with a public list posted, there would be no way to let people know when someone had purchased a replacement. Would could end up with 20 copies of the same title, and no copies of 19 other books.

    That’s why KRL is encouraging people who wish to purchase a replacement book to help the Port Orchard library restock its children’s collection to go to Bethel Avenue Books between now and June 5. The store will have a list of books that need to be replaced, and whenever someone chooses to order a replacement, that title will be crossed off the list (just like with a bridal registry). In addition, the generous owners of Bethel Avenue Books will donate 20 percent of the purchase price of each donated book to the KRL Foundation. The donor will have their name listed on a book plate that will be in the book they purchase for the library.

    KRL thanks everyone in the community who has expressed a desire to help replenish the Port Orchard Library’s children’s collection.

    Jeff Brody
    KRL Director of Community Relations

  5. Jeff – I have heard from a couple people that a family in North Kitsap made a very generous donation “in the mid four figures.” Can you confirm or deny that rumor?

    Chris Henry, reporter

  6. Roger,
    Sorry you choose to turn an event that has victimized the families of the Port Orchard community into an anti-tax statement.

    If 20% of a private sector company’s inventory disappeared through theft, many would be calling for better operational measures and improved accountability – not to mention employee terminations.

    Adopting a dismissive tone towards Roger won’t change that there was a breakdown in the process. His concerns regarding due diligence and property stewardship are valid, as is the choice to question other issues warranting scrutiny.

    I absolutely think it’s a shame a person or persons saw fit to steal something for which they are allowed free use. And even while I believe there should be insurance to address such a loss, it is highly likely I’ll contribute towards replacing the books.

    That being said, I also appreciate the importance of accepting responsibility. Playing the victim card to divert attention from holistic assessment of a community asset will backfire, particularly if it is a necessary step before approving more money and access to books which can be stolen.

  7. “Roger,
    Sorry you choose to turn an event that has victimized the families of the Port Orchard community into an anti-tax statement.”

    Mine was not so much an anti tax statement as it was calling for an organization to be better stewards of the taxpayers assets. Especially one who is choosing to put a multimillion dollar levy lid increase on a future ballot.

    I notice you include the families of the Port Orchard community, but leave out the taxpayers in southern unincorporated Kitsap County. That’s right, Port Orchard is not really a part of KRL, they are like an associate branch. Maybe that will change if Port Orchard runs its own ballot to join KRL directly. I wonder how their votes would go on supporting a levy lid lift where the many millions go north? It should make for an interesting election.

    I have never had a major fire at my home. I have home owners insurance. I have never had a major auto accident. I have vehicle insurance. I have not woke up dead as of yet. I have life insurance. If I based my life on “you have to base your allocation for security on the perceived threat.” then I would have dropped all that insurance years ago and saved many thousands of dollars.

    I worked retail for quite a few years. Theft happens. Sometimes by outsiders, sometimes by insiders, but it happens on a regular basis. One of the ways to prevent or at least slow it down is to be aware of what you have in visible inventory and where it is and to be present, visible and interact directly with the customers.

    Kudo’s to those supporting the replacement of Port Orchard’s missing books. It will be interesting to see how KRL responds, because we know replacing books and having better security will just be “to the detriment of other things.”
    Roger Gay
    South Kitsap

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