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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘You done messed up, bookie boy’: Stephen Colbert addresses CdA Book Bandit

In this screenshot from YouTube, Stephen Colbert displays the “Unhideable Edition” of “Whose Boat Is This Boat?” on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Friday, November 16, 2019. (YouTube)

Among those impressed by Late Show host Stephen Colbert’s announcement that he is donating an oversized copy of his book to the Coeur d’Alene Public Library is the library’s director’s 8-year-old grandson.

“He said, ‘Granny, that book is huge! They had to roll it out on a cart!’” Bette Ammon said.

The Coeur d’Alene Public Library awaits the “Unhideable Edition” of “Whose Boat Is This Boat?” promised by Colbert during his regular “Small Town Big News” segment on Friday. During the segment, Colbert took aim at the Coeur d’Alene “Book Bandit” – the person responsible for hiding books they deem to be “propaganda” in other areas of the library.

After poking fun – “You’re not creating liberal angst, you’re just making the librarian’s job harder. In the ranking of library villains, you’re just below the toddler pooping in the puppet nook.” – Colbert addressed the bandit directly, saying, “You done messed up, bookie boy.”

For Colbert, this was personal. One of the many relocated books was a project of Colbert’s, “Whose Boat Is This Boat?” The book, compiled by Colbert’s staff, highlights things President Donald Trump said to hurricane survivors. The proceeds of the book go to World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides food to victims of natural disasters.

The library hasn’t received the unhideable book yet, but Ammon said the library already is formulating plans for its display.

“That particular book was about hurricane relief,” Ammon said. “We’ll have books about storms and books about Democrats and Republicans and presidents of all types. We’ll just have a display that shows the breadth of material available in a typical public library.”

Ammon said she is happy that libraries are being spotlighted as places where people are free to read all kinds of books.

“Any librarian in any library anywhere in this country would be doing the same thing as we are,” Ammon said. “Somehow this has just caught the attention of the public because it’s kind of funny, and it reiterates our commitment to freedom to read.”