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Stealing or Damaging Library Books is an offence under Section 525 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison.
To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
- You stole, removed, secreted or damaged with intent to steal any book, print, manuscript or other article, or part thereof
- The item was kept for reference, exhibition, art, science or literature, and
- It was kept in a public library, university, college or government building
A ‘public library’ includes any collection of books in a school of arts, mechanics institute, or any building or room occupied or habitually used by members of any association or residents of any area as a reading room or library.
Defences to the charge include: