I spent a lot of days reading and studying at the large desks of the BPI (*the library of the Pompidou Center in Paris). And when I came to see, a few years later, if my guide Paris Décalé (Unusual Paris), was on the shelves, I was disappointed not to find it. I then wondered how long would a book with a mock shelf-mark remain without being in the database.
That’s how, on March 10, 2010, I left a copy of Paris Décalé on a shelf at its right place, shelved by alphabetical order, between BOU and CAM.
A year later, it was still there. It was even there three years later when I shelved its little brother Où faire pipi à Paris ? (Where to pee in Paris ?, Attila, 2012) next to it.
I came back the year after, the pages had been turned, the corners turned down, the edges of the book were dirty. I was happy to see they were living a happy life in this place.
When I came back to see my disguised books in 2015, they weren’t there anymore. I went to look for them in the other possible section, on the ground floor in the section of the books about Paris and I found Where to pee in Paris with a nice green tag on it, in a more recent edition: it wasn’t my copy.
I immediately told the story to the head of the library, Mrs Carrier. She offered me to meet Mr. Cuffini (head of the department in charge of the public) and with him I understood how the acquisitions worked, how the books were discarded, shelved, how they could be stolen... However neither him nor I, nor Mrs. Hurrault (in charge of the sections concerned) were able to find an explanation for the disappearance of my two books.
I’m curious to know what happened to them.