The Library Thief





Foto: Swedish Television 

Swedish Television are currently sending a mini series called the Library Thief that I think is really interesting, especially if you love books. The series, that is based on a true story,  is a mix of Drama and Crime  and the main character is played by Gustaf Skarsgård (Son of Stellan Skarsgård).



John is a well respected man who works at the Royal Library in Stockholm. What nobody knows is that he steals old, rare and valuable books from the library and sells them. At first it is just a “loan” but as his habits are becoming more and more expensive he has to steal more books. He also has to cover for his family and colleagues who starts to get suspicious. 


Based on a true Story

That respectable employees at libraries steal is not something new. It has happened in a lot of libraries world wide. This story is based on a true story that took place in 2004 at the Royal Library in Stockholm. A man with a higher position that was well respected at the Library was arrested for stealing and selling rare and valuable books. When he was being released of custody he took his life by cutting his wrist, cut the gas-main to the stove that resulted in his apartment blowing in to pieces.  


The psychology of it

This case is remarkably thrilling with a lot of interesting details and the producers and writers must have been overjoyed with the big potentials in this story.  But the question is? How can a man who has devoted his whole life to books  take them out of a place where they are supposed to be protected and sell them? That goes against everything that libraries stand for.

A Swedish reporter called Jesper Huor did a documentary about the man that was really interesting. Huor lines up a number of events and circumstances in the mans life that can explain his behaviour. He grew up with friends that had money but his own family struggled financially. He changed his very normal name to a more fancier name. He applied for a professorship that he did not get even if he appealed several times. He married but when they split up he did not tell his colleagues what has happened (only his closest friends) and he had a life style that was over his financial level. Appearances and status seemed to be everything for this man. When he was revealed his life collapsed and he saw no other option then to kill him self.

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