Bibliomania Day is observed next on Wednesday, March 20th, 2024 (365 days from today).
Bibliomania Day is annually celebrated on March 20th. Bibliomania is an excessive love of books to the point of needlessly collecting and hoarding them. We celebrate Bibliomania Day in honor of a thief. But a thief with good intentions.
History of Bibliomania Day
Stephen Blumberg loves books. It is written that "his habit is to read books continuously throughout the night, nap, walk, read, doze off, wake up, read again, and never fully fall asleep." Stephen Blumberg not only loved books, he was also a bibliophile. Bibliomania is when someone has a strong love of books, they collect them to the point of hoarding, and social relationships and health can be affected. Symptoms can include buying more books than would be useful for any reason or getting multiple copies of the same book. The term was coined by John Ferriar, who published a poem in 1809 with the word as its title, to his friend Richard Heber, who suffered from the condition. This term is used to describe people who are obsessed with books. That same year, Pastor Thomas Frognall Dibdin published Bibliomania; or Book Madness. There is a difference between Bibliomania and bibliophilia, which is a healthy form of love for books.
On March 20, 1990, Stephen Blumberg caught him. With the crime of stealing more than 23,600 books from 268 different libraries, universities and museums, he was arrested. He spent more than 20 years to steal and got them from 45 states, Washington D.C. and Canada. After initially being valued at around $20 million, the book's value was estimated at $5.3 million. He is known as the number one book thief in American history and is known as the Book Thief. They were also known as the "Blumberg Collection", including the first edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin among other rare books.
An acquaintance of Blumberg, Kenneth J. Rhodes, offered him a $56,000 reward. During Blumberg's trial, a psychiatrist said that Blumberg had undergone psychiatric treatment as a teenager. The defense alleges that Blumberg stole the book because of mental problems beyond his control. According to the defense, Blumberg thought he was saving the books from destruction by stealing them. He thinks the government is trying to keep them so the common people don't have them, and he thinks he's playing the role of custodian of the books and doing something nice. Out of goodwill, he said he would never sell any books for a profit, and hoped they would end up in the hands of someone else who would take good care of them after his death. However, he was sentenced to 71 months in prison and fined $200,000, and dementia or psychosis was not factored into the decision. He was released on December 29, 1995, and has since been arrested for theft multiple times.
On Bibliomania Day, we remember Stephen Blumberg and his remarkable feat of stealing more than 23,600 books. Can you buy, steal, or put together many of those books? Probably not, but you're not the most famous letter writer in the world. Maybe on Bibliomania Day, you can at least give it a try.
How to celebrate Bibliomania Day
Celebrate the day by getting as many books as you can. It's probably best not to steal them like Stephen Blumberg did, but that's a decision you'll have to make for yourself. You can start by buying some books about bibliomaniacs, such as A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and An Eternal Passion for Books or The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: A True Story of a thief, a detective and a world of literature Obsession. Then your options are limitless. Since bibliographers tend to collect any and all books, regardless of their value, you can start trying to collect any book you can find. But it's probably best to start by finding some of the best fiction or non-fiction books of all time.
ObservedBibliomania Day has been observed annually on March 20th.
Sunday, March 20th, 2022
Monday, March 20th, 2023
Wednesday, March 20th, 2024
Thursday, March 20th, 2025
Friday, March 20th, 2026