Forgotten but not gone, they lurk inside returned library books

Many people think that one of the best things about being a librarian is getting to hang around books all day. They picture us spending our days sitting quietly, lost in a happy haze of whatever it is we’re reading.

Lots of us do that on our off-time. It pretty much describes the behavior of my co-workers during breaks and at lunch. But on the clock, our book interactions are rarely confined to reading.

A couple of months ago, I decided, in increments of two shelves a day, to inspect our collection. Making sure every incoming item (returned material or new addition) is properly logged in and shelved precludes that degree of intense scrutiny.

I’ve found books with torn bindings, books with water damage, books that could be easily freshened up with tape, glue or a wet wipe. I have also had a lot of fun discovering things left inside some of them. In the rest of this post, I will share a few. Captions will be minimal. In a couple of cases, I have hidden anything that could possibly identify a borrower. Privacy matters.

Those are tissues. I guess it was a sad book.

Bookmark from 1995 Book Week. That’s Sheila Rae holding up the book.

That Walt Whitman bookmark is from the American Writer’s Museum in Chicago.

Boarding passes make great bookmarks.

Paint sample cards also make great bookmarks.

A close-up of the card is below.

That card is two sided!


This “what was returned inside” tied in with the book’s title. (You’ve been warned.)

Those light green specks….?
….are murder victims. Each and every one.

The coupon is for Pantene.

The receipt is for Crown Royal.

6 thoughts on “Forgotten but not gone, they lurk inside returned library books

  1. We get so many boarding passes! I swear everyone in town must be in a frequent fliers program. Lots of receipts too. Sometimes photos. Once a $200 check! (We called the person it was made out to and they picked it up).


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