COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — As the story of a now-infamous library patron who hides Coeur d'Alene library books continues to go viral, the library says donated books and cash have continued to pour in.
Following write-ups in the New York Times and CNN, among others, the story has since found a national TV audience. Just last week, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert featured the book-hider in a segment and pledged to donate to the library an oversized copy of one of the books that's often hidden.
"Good luck hiding this one, sucker!" joked Colbert alongside a massive copy of "Whose Boat Is This Boat?" during the segment which ran on KREM last Friday.
"Whose Boat Is This Boat?" is a children's book of quotes said by President Trump during a 2018 visit to areas impacted by Hurricane Florence. While Trump is credited as an "accidental" author of the book, the quotes were compiled by Late Show staffers.
"Not in my wildest dreams," said Coeur d'Alene Library director Bette Ammon of her shock when she saw the Colbert segment. "That really surprised me."
The skit marks another instance of the library's bizarre problem continuing to receive national attention.
KREM 2 News was first to report on the issue in late September. According to Ammon, someone has been intentionally hiding books critical of President Trump in the library since August 2018. Other titles that have been misplaced include books discussing women's suffrage and LGBTQ rights. The hidden books are often later found on various far-flung shelves across the library.
"Your liberal angst gives me great pleasure," wrote the unidentified miscreant in an anonymous comment to the library.
Ammon said that her staff has diverted "valuable time" to reorder and replace the books on displays and return them to their proper shelves in the nonfiction section.
Many have felt for Ammon and the plight of her librarians, though. Since the story gained national attention, the library's private fundraising arm has netted $1,500 in donations. Various readers, including a couple from New Mexico, have donated copies of some of the books that continue to be targeted by the book-hider.
"People are encouraged that libraries are fighting for the right to read," said Ammon on Monday as she overlooked a cart of donated books.
An author of one of the books that has been hidden before is set to speak before the library this week, too.
That book, titled "Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump," was penned by Rick Reilly, a former feature writer and columnist for Sports Illustrated. Reilly is set to speak about "Commander in Cheat" on Thursday, November 21 at 7 p.m.
"It's just amazing to me how much attention this has gotten," said Reilly in a phone interview with KREM on Monday. The author added that he plans to hide 10 copies of "Commander in Cheat" across the library ahead of his talk.
"So I said, what if I came up there and brought ten more books? Just for laughs. I can put one in narcissism, one in true crime," joked Reilly, referencing the library sections where he would hide the books.
Reilly added that he's visited Coeur d'Alene to golf before and has a niece who's currently living in Pullman.
"I think the hider - I call him 'Hide-aho' - I think Mr. Hide-aho's plan has backfired," said Reilly of the anonymous disgruntled patron.
Ammon said that since the New York Times feature, the book-hider has appeared to have backed off. Staff earlier this month noticed a book relating to the second amendment was misplaced, but the shelves have appeared to stay calm since then.
As for where Ammon plans to display the large copy of "Whose Boat Is This Boat?" that will be donated by Colbert's camp?
"That's a great question," said the veteran librarian. "People are going to want to turn the pages and experience it. I'm just not sure."