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Excuse Me, You Forgot Your…

I spent most of my high school years in my local library. Most of the summers, I volunteered there and when I wasn’t “working”, I was still checking out books by the arm load to fill those nights I couldn’t sleep. Spending so much time with books gave me an appreciation for the fact that for a bookworm, location is not important. I always have a book handy…I have a book in my closet in the bathroom, a lot in my room, a couple in every level of the house and of course, in my car & purse. I read in line EVERYWHERE and sometimes at red lights. Add to that the fact that I am scatterbrain and a mess sometimes, it’s likely that I could leave things in my books. I’ve found money and bills and credit cards in books months after I finished reading a book.


So it’s no surprise that people who check out library books can tend to leave things behind when they return the book…But it’s also no suprise that people don’t come back for these things…because a library book isn’t at the top of your list of places to “leave” things. Librarians in AZ talk about the bookmarks that they’ve found over the years…

Most of the cash discoveries are just a dollar or two, but several years ago Pals found an envelope containing a $10,000 check. When she couldn’t trace the name of the recipient in library records, she returned it to the check writer. That person, whom Pals would not identify, sent a thank-you card in which he explained the money was sent to his son for a down payment on a house.

Hmm…missing your down payment? Maybe you’ll be more careful next time you return a library book. I’ve personally left paychecks in books…but found them quickly.

One of the most common – and unpleasant – discoveries is toilet paper,

Now…is that with or without a stain? *gross*

She also has found combs, deflated balloons and origami creations.

Why did I think “condom” when I read deflated…I have such a horribly dirty mind. You know that someone, somewhere, is going to leave a condom…Just watch…

Another odd one was the envelope marked “happy happy” stuffed in a book’s spine; it contained muscle relaxant pills, she said.

Bring a whole new meaning to “Take a Chill Pill”

Pals keeps a collection of creative and unusual “bookmarks” on display behind her desk in case people want them back. Her wall is covered with greeting cards, personal letters, travel mementos, board game pieces, doilies, playing cards and one recent addition: a list of “karma violations.”

Library collections aren’t the only books that come in with extras. Suzanne Kinsinger, operations manager for Friends of the Library, said some donated books for public sales have been stuffed with personal letters and even spoiled food.

Spoiled food? “Honey, what is this box next to the trash can? Why are we throwing out all these books? Oh well…*dump yesterday’s leftovers*”

It makes me wonder…What kind of bookmarks have you used while reading? What could possibly be something found in a library book that YOU return?


{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Cassie September 26, 2008, 9:36 am

    I rarely use bookmarks…but they a mostly random pieces of paper I may find around me at the time I need to use them!!! lol

    I have had JUST about everyone in my life give a bookmark, but they’re are never handy, ya know?

  • pecosa September 26, 2008, 9:57 am

    Spoiled food? Toilet paper? Ew.

    I’ve found tons of dry flowers in my books. Usually bookmarking a special place in there. I used to make my own bookmarks when I was little. Now I just use post-its.

  • Glyphrunner September 26, 2008, 1:04 pm

    Perhaps the oddest bookmark I ever used was a lock of hair. The most common bookmark is the most recent lottery ticket, when I actually use a bookmark. Most times, though, I just dogear the sucker. 😉

  • Melanie September 26, 2008, 1:39 pm

    I loved my high school library job. I usually don’t use bookmarks, just fold the corner down. If they are books that I bought that is. Our branch library pretty much only has icky romances and westerns. And parking at the main library sucks so I usually buy my own. I saw condom instead of balloon at first, too.

  • MPD Zombie September 26, 2008, 6:20 pm

    The oddest thing i’ve used as a bookmark? A bottle opener.

    Most of the time though I will read strait thru a book while at work so bookmarks arn’t a big deal.

    The creepiest “real” bookmark I’ve seen had to be this Chippendales Dancer bookmark my cousin used. She either used that or a Garfield one.

  • Kate September 26, 2008, 7:30 pm

    the only thing interesting I’ve ever found in a book was a piece of Hungarian money I found in a book I bought from a used book store.

  • Sherrie September 27, 2008, 5:41 pm

    I want to check out books at your house! ROTFL!!!!!

  • PrincessQ September 27, 2008, 10:26 pm

    No way!!

    I thought people only did that in movies…LOL

  • Jaime September 28, 2008, 11:37 am

    I’ve never used anything for a bookmark except actual bookmarks or in some cases, a neatly folded blank piece of paper. The bookmarks could be cheap flimsy bookmarks, free girl scouts bookmarks, ornate bookmarks, or my new favorite: my nephew’s school picture on a bookmark.

    mC and I have matching bookmarks from this time we went to the mall. They are plastic, and very good. 😀

    It’s so weird. I find that I’m the only person I know who doesn’t break rules. Even the unsaid kind. Like, it would never occur to me to use something other than a bookmark for a bookmark. Not that that’s really breaking a rule, but it’s still somewhat of a rule. I would never in my life have thought of using a paycheck or toilet paper or money or anything else as a bookmark. My mind doesn’t stretch like that. Everything has a purpose, I guess. I’m so weird!

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