Most librarians are women. And most special collections librarians work alone -- like Gooch -- in specially designed soundproof rooms.
"As primarily women working in often isolated situations, we are always vulnerable to these kind of attacks," wrote Potter, the Morehead State University librarian, in a letter to Coffman.
Despite the recent cases, many institutions say they have no plans to bar the public from their collections.
But Harvey is concerned that inadequate security and more thefts ultimately will lead to less access to cultural objects.
"There is something incredibly powerful with coming in contact with books that have been around for hundreds of years, thinking of the hands that have touched it and the eyes that have wandered those pages," he said.
"It really does put you in touch with our history. For the sake of our culture I think more people need to do that, not less."
Transylvania book thieves