The Library Thief
Not to be confused with The Book Thief, a 20th Century Fox film, or with The Library Book” by Susan Orlean. The Library Thief is based on a true story. John Johansson, brilliant but hapless, is fired from his teaching job in Stockholm. The only job he can land is as a ticket-seller in a Stockholm subway station. Married with two kids and swamped with debt and expenses, he then takes a position as an assistant in the Swedish National Library. John has always been a reader of good books so this job is more to his liking. Unfortunately, it still does not provide him with the income he needs to support his family and his desired lifestyle. Surrounded by priceless old books, John finds a way out of his financial predicament. He assumes a new persona. He now represents himself as “John Manneus, International Rare Book Dealer.” He finds a way of stealing rare books from the library and peddling them for a fortune with a buyer in Amsterdam. He now can live it up, buy fancy clothes, and acquire an expensive car. All this is happening as he continues to work as a low-earning assistant at the library. When one of the stolen books is revealed to be in the hands of a European buyer, the library staff takes action. A team of three female librarians conducts an internal investigation. They are shocked and dismayed when they discover that, right under their noses, their unassuming, quiet assistant has stolen hundreds of rare books over the past few years. This destroys John Johansson, a man who grew up poor and underprivileged, and who obsessively strived only for status and respect.
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