In one of your recent columns a reader wrote to...
In one of your recent columns, a reader wrote to you because she was having a difficult time finding your book, CAR TALK. In your response, you mentioned the Library of Congress, and suggested that your readers "could try sneaking into the Library of Congress one night and stealing their copy of CAR TALK. It's on the third floor, second row from the left, right next to the cartography section."
While you are justly celebrated both for your mechanical expertise and your sense of humor -- we particularly enjoyed your "car-tog-graphy" pun --we are not amused by your suggestion.
The Library of Congress's collections have been subjected to widespread theft and mutilation. The problem is so severe that we have had to close the stacks to all patrons and take a number of other actions to ensure that Library materials are no longer stolen.
As the world's largest library, the security of our collections of 100 million items is a serious problem. Although your suggestion was made in jest, we must ask that you advise your public not to steal any items from the Library of Congress or from any other library. In this instance, your humor outdistanced your good sense and ran out of gas.
Jill D. Brett
Public Affairs Officer
The Library of Congress
RAY: Gee, Jill. We're quite sure that our readers have the good sense to know that we weren't really suggesting that people steal our book from the Library of Congress.
TOM: But we thought we'd print your letter just to be sure. If you can't find our book, CAR TALK, please do not attempt to steal the Library of Congress's copy (it's probably gone by now, anyway).
RAY: Instead, go to your favorite bookstore...and read it while standing in the aisle.