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Evanston police are investigating after workers at the Evanston Public Library discovered that someone had defaced several books about Islam.

The incident was discovered Monday as librarian Lorena Neal retrieved books to be used for an evening lecture at the library co-sponsored by Northwestern University’s Middle East and North Aftrican studies program.

Neal says that the books, eight in all, were defaced with swastikas and racial slurs and that the books hadn’t been marked when another librarian looked at them about a week ago.

A message posted on the library’s website today says that if police can identify the perpetrator, the library plans to prosecute.

Residents who heard about the incident have already replaced the defaced books, and the library is asking others concerned about the incident to make a cash donation to buy more books instead.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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