making a circulating library of


Senior Member
[T]hen she tied it up with a smart red ribbon, and sat a minute looking at it with a sober, wistful expression, which plainly showed how earnest her work had been. Jo's desk up here was an old tin kitchen which hung against the wall. In it she kept her papers, and a few books, safely shut away from Scrabble, who, being likewise of a literary turn, was fond of making a circulating library of such books as were left in his way by eating the leaves. From this tin receptacle Jo produced another manuscript, and putting both in her pocket, crept quietly downstairs, leaving her friends to nibble on her pens and taste her ink.

Little Women

Scrabble is a pet mouse.
What does make a circulating library of ... mean in this passage?
Does it mean the mouse moves the books around?

Please help. Thank you.
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    a circulating library -> a library for his circulation -> a library in which he could circulate, i.e. wander about in.


    English - England
    The normal meaning of circulating library is a library that permits patrons to take books out.
    The mouse did not remove the books or scatter them - given your definition, I think circulating is used as a pun.
    < Previous | Next >