Good-naturedly brushing up on my library disaster literature, I stumbled across the story of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University, and the disaster of Daniel Spiegelman. He'd been sentenced, by a very smart federal judge, to a stretch of years in prison that reflected the importance of the items he stole in terms of their cultural heritage, rather than monetary, value. I started writing an article on the case, but soon discovered there was no way it could cover the crazy twists and turns the Spiegelman story took. So I wrote a book. 

After that, I started writing a blog (called Upward Departure, for the Spiegelman sentence) in which I covered recent, or near-recent, book crimes. I also began reading everything - books, magazine articles, newspaper articles, pamphlets - on the subject, from the beginning of history up to present day. Pretty soon, I discovered that no one else was writing with any sort of insight - or, in most instances, accuracy - about these crimes. In 2008, I started teaching a class called Rare Books, Crime & Punishment at the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science
At about that time, I started writing several long pieces about different library and archives crimes. One of these eventually became my second book, Thieves of Book Row. The others will either become my other books, or be released as long nonfiction pieces, or maybe something else altogether - depending largely on the whims of the American publishing industry. 

I live in central Illinois - after a great deal of travel, back to within a few miles of where I was born - with my wife, dog and two cats. The picture on the left is my Spiegelman era (2006) author photo. It is me in my natural state, except for the leaning, which I hardly ever do.

The one on the right is my current author photo.