If you left something valuable at a public park, would you be surprised if you came back for it, and it was gone?

How about a public swimming pool?

Stuff has a way of disappearing there, and not being found.

One reason:  At public places, “public” means anybody, anywhere, anytime.

Which is not a synonym for safe.

So why would anyone–or any city–put anything very valuable in a public library, and be mystified when it goes missing?

Think about it:  If it’s small and valuable, and not very well protected, then the Boston Public Library is lucky to still have it.

But it would be very expensive to turn the BPL into a safe house.

So maybe the Library should be a library, and not a museum.

The public will be fine without a 500-year-old engraving worth $600,000 and a 375-year-old etching by Rembrandt in its library.

How about this?  Have the BPL gather up all its museum-quality art and artifacts and donate them to a real museum, which has more expertise handling valuable objects…And–just as important– guarding them.

It’s OK with me if the Boston Public Library’s biggest crime problem is overdue books.

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