Bibliomania Day, celebrated on March 20 every year, commemorates the anniversary of the great grand heist of 23,600 books executed by Stephen Blumberg. Many people confuse bibliophilia — the love of books, with bibliomania, the compulsive disorder of hoarding books. This obsession with collecting books can even go on to damage a person’s social relations or health. Let’s learn more about bibliomania, its symptoms, facts, and how to know if you are a bibliomaniac.
History of Bibliomania Day
The story behind Bibliomania Day started in the 1950s, then later made popular by Stephen Blumberg, also known as the ‘Book Bandit,’ from Iowa who hoarded thousands of books. He amassed over 23,600 books from 327 libraries and museums across 45 states, two provinces in Canada, and the District of Columbia. The combined worth of the books was estimated to be $5,3 million. On March 20, 1990, Blumberg was caught when his friend turned him over to the F.B.I.
The term stems from two Greek words ‘biblio-’ meaning ‘book’ and ‘mania’ meaning madness.’ In essence ‘bibliomania’ translates to book madness. The term was initially used in 1734 by book collector Thomas Hearne. He wrote in his diary, “I should have been tempted to have laid out a pretty deal of money without thinking myself at all touched with bibliomania.” But, it was in 1809 when the term became widely known to people as Thomas Dibdin published a book titled “BIBLIOMANIA or Book of Madness.” He mentioned in his book that bibliomania is a medical condition called “the book disease.”
Symptoms of bibliomania include habits of acquiring large quantities of books, an excessive possessiveness over the collection, and also feeling distressed. There are no reasons why a person might become a bibliomaniac. In most cases, bibliomaniacs often become addicted to book collecting when they are very young. They do this as a way of coping with a difficult hardship. So, keep a check on your love for books!
Bibliomania Day timeline
Thomas Hearne uses the word ‘bibliomania’ in his diary
Lord Chesterfield writes a letter to his son where he mentions “Beware of the bibliomanie.”
Reverend Thomas Dibdin publishes a book titled “BIBLIOMANIA or Book madness.”
Stephen Blumberg is caught and handed over to the F.B.I. for stealing books.
Bibliomania Day FAQs
What are the other words for Bibliomania?
The love for books can be expressed in many terms including bibliomaniac, bibliophile, bookworm, book-lover, and book reviewer.
Who popularized the term Bibliomania?
John Ferriar, a physician at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, coined the term bibliomania. He dedicated it to his bibliomaniac friend.
Can you become obsessed with a book?
Yes, it is possible to become obsessed with books or even a particular book. However, most of the time, the book obsession will be under control.
Bibliomania Day Activities
The best way to celebrate Bibliomania Day is by buying or getting as many books as possible. It would be much better if you were to buy them and probably not heist them!
Read books on bibliomania
Celebrate this day by reading books that give insight into bibliomania. Examples are books such as “A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books.”
Gift a book to someone
What’s better than buying books or reading them on Bibliomania Day to celebrate it? Yes, you guessed it! Gifting them! You can give books to your friends, family, or colleagues.
5 Interesting Facts About Bibliomania
Not a recognized disorder
The American Psychiatric Association refused to recognize bibliomania as a disorder.
It has a Japanese name too
In Japanese, bibliomania is called ‘tsundoku,’ and is good behavior.
They can be seduced by books
Bibliomaniacs can be aroused by the presence of books.
There is also a condition called vello-mania whereby the person accumulates documents.
It may indicate abuse
Some experts suggest bibliomania may develop due to trauma or repeated abuse.
Why We Love Bibliomania Day
Books are awesome
Books are not just some papers to read. They have been proven to promote brain growth, spark creativity and change us to be smart people. Well, what more can we ask for?
It fosters healthy relationships
Reading books and sharing the love for books on Bibliomania Day with your friends, family, or strangers fosters a healthy relationship. Books can get people to bond.
It teaches us life
Books are a gateway to another world where everything is possible and doable. Whatever book you may read, it can teach you something new.
Bibliomania Day dates