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In 1975, firefighters were checking a Greenwich Village apartment building when they entered the flat of 58-year-old attorney Joseph Feldman and discovered more than 15,000 New York Public Library books “piled to the ceiling, covering the stove and filling the bathtub and sinks,” according to a New York Times report.

Feldman, who didn’t even have a library card, explained, “I like to read.” Twenty men removed the books in seven truckloads. A library spokesman said Feldman might be charged the standard fine of 10 cents per book per day, up to the cost of the book, but I can’t find a record of the final judgment.

“Never lend books, for no one ever returns them,” wrote Anatole France. “The only books I have in my library are books that other folks have lent me.”

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