Best-selling author holds book discussion at library

Kimberly Laferty

The University Library hosted a book discussion for Michael Blanding’s “The Map Thief” on Thursday night.

“The Map Thief” is a non-fiction story and a New York Times best-seller centered around E. Forbes Smiley III, a man who stole more than $3 million in historical maps from libraries to get himself out of financial debt.

“It’s an interesting story because Michael Blanding did all of the research (by) himself,” said Karen Hillman, the director of marketing and communications.

Blanding read a selection of his book to about 60 people. The beginning of his book sets the scene of the day Smiley got caught stealing maps.  

Blanding also showed a PowerPoint with the various maps that Smiley had stolen, and gave history on each of them.

After Smiley’s release, Blanding had the chance to sit down and talk with him. Blanding said they talked for four hours and he discovered that Smiley is no longer into maps, but now does water coloring.

Michael Hawkins, head of the Map Library at Kent State, said the book brings anxiety to people who work in special collections and the map library, which made the crowd chuckle.

“I had the pleasure of reading it last summer and it is a very intriguing and very interesting read,” Hawkins said.

Kimberly Laferty is the libraries reporter for The Kent Stater, contact her at [email protected].