NY Times spotlights library ‘Whodunit’

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Reilly Rick Reilly’s decision to speak at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library November 21 after a mischieveous local hid his book, “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump,” has drawn attention from the New York Times. (Courtesy of Rick Reilly)

The Coeur d’Alene Public Library picked up a few new readers over the weekend.

More than 4.7 million, actually.

Our quaint library on Front Street grabbed the national spotlight after a Coeur d’Alene Press story circulated through the literary world, leading to a challenge from an iconic author and culminating in a Sunday New York Times article.

“Whodunit in the Library: Someone Keeps Hiding the Anti-Trump Books,” reads the headline on the Sunday edition, a story written by Times’ Seattle Bureau Chief Mike Baker. Baker detailed the plight of the Coeur d’Alene Library, where a mischievous reader has been removing books about President Donald Trump — as well as books about liberal issues including gun control and women’s suffrage — from their designated shelves and intentionally misplacing them, hoping they’ll be forever lost in the stacks.

One such prank targeted “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump,” written by Sportswriters Hall of Famer Rick Reilly.

“There was this article people kept sending me,” Reilly told The Press in a Nov. 2 article. “It was about somebody going around and hiding a bunch of books about Trump, and I looked at the list and yelled, ‘That’s my book!’”

“Commander in Cheat” details lessons the author learned first-hand (and through second-hand stories) from Trump’s golf game, often casting the president as a huckster and a cheat. Hence the title.

Reilly told The Press he will speak at the Coeur d’Alene Library at 7 p.m. Nov. 21. Before that, though, he’ll hide 10 signed copies of his latest book randomly on its shelves.

“It’s not that [Trump] offends me as an American,” Reilly explained. “It’s not that he offends me as a voter. It’s that he offends me as a golfer.”

Reilly’s involvement has since skyrocketed interest in the incident. Never mind the Times article that reached its 4.7 million subscribers Sunday: The news giant also published the story on its Twitter account, which serves more than 44 million followers.

So what does the incoming Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce boss think of his new community being spotlighted like this?

Derrell Hartwick, who’s still in Arkansas until the end of the month, was given the back story about someone anonymously hiding books he finds unsuitable for others to read and leading to some national notoriety.

“This is putting Coeur d’Alene on the map,” Hartwick conceded. “Everyone has a voice, but ... you need to think twice about it; is it really a good idea [to hide books]?”

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