Surprises Found In Library Books (or Libraries): Part Deux

Josh Hanagarne

Staff Writer

Josh Hanagarne is a public librarian in Salt Lake City and spends his time at work trying to convince people that Nicholas Sparks is not a genre of one. He also knows how to tie a bow tie. Follow him on twitter: @joshhanagarne

Josh Hanagarne

Staff Writer

Josh Hanagarne is a public librarian in Salt Lake City and spends his time at work trying to convince people that Nicholas Sparks is not a genre of one. He also knows how to tie a bow tie. Follow him on twitter: @joshhanagarne

When I wrote Surprises Found In Library Books I wasn’t expecting such a response. That post got shared thousands of times and everyone seemed to be able to commiserate or at least empathize.

The post also resulted in a deluge of comments and private messages. I will share some of the best with you here below.

Also, since I wrote the first post, I have personally found, in books:

A lock of hair, like, the size a serial killer would take from a victim

Two shoelaces 

A Polaroid of a cat wearing a leather mask

Enough about me, though.

Okay, here we go with the quotes from readers:

Our AV items are always the grossest of our returned items at the library where I work. Just this week I was checking a stack of DVDs to make sure they all had their DVD in the case and smelled something horrid. Halfway through the stack I found two DVDs stuck together with a smear of something brown and vile. I nearly vomited. We think it was something from an animal, possibly fluid from a dog or cat anal sack, it smelled so much worse than excrement.

A $100 bill inside a birthday card signed, grandmother.

A letter to a woman detailing a plan for an escape from Folsom Prison.

And then there was Papercup Charlie, who used to pee in paper cups and leave them on the ends of shelves for the pages to find. Eww!!

The most I’ve ever found is a bookmark of mine that I left in a book. I have a bunch of Rapunzel ruler bookmarks that came in a box of Disney princess valentines, and a bunch of bookmarks from an author, so when I use those, I tend to not care if I leave them in a book I’m returning. Decided to try to read the book again without remembering about the bookmark, and it was in the exact same place I’d left off at months before.

I, thankfully do not work the circulation desk, but I have heard of another librarian finding bacon bookmarks, and a training bra!!! When weeding a little used section of reference books, I found a beautiful hand crocheted bookmark with a note that said it was a gift for the finder. The date indicated, if I remember correctly, that it had been placed in the book 5 years previously. The horror stories about findings come frequently from our AV staff. Or in books found in restrooms. Fascinating work!

I once found a single page typewritten informational sheet from the 1940s from the United States Secret Service about how to recognize counterfeit banknotes tucked inside a book from the 1990s about the Secret Service. That was pretty cool. I still have it.

Dead skunk

Explosives in the drop box

Important paperwork being used as bookmarks. Lease agreements, medical information, bills, a copy of a death certificate…

“Dear so-and-so, I’ve always felt that God was leading me toward a close friendship with you. As a fellow man of God, I know you will forgive me for waiting so long to follow through. And now that we’re friends, I have a favor to ask.” It ended before he got to what the favor was, and I’m still a little sad about that.

Many years ago I found a slice of meat in a junior book. However,least pleasant experience has to be a full set of toenail clippings.

I found Cheetos smashed inside a book on my very first day as a circulation attendant.

A boy’s tube sock.

I found a joint in Carlos Castaneda, once. 🙂

When I worked at my college’s library we had someone shoving pretty racy photos into random books in the stacks. We later caught the guy. The pictures were of his ex girlfriend and it was his way of getting back at her for breaking it off. To this day my old supervisor will text me whenever he finds another pic.

We found bacon in a book here in Tulsa, too!

We once discovered, in the bookdrop on a January 2nd morning, a French language book cassette set with a crumpled up pair of ladies underwear in the slot for tape number 1.

Condoms, unopened letters, a utility bill, old photos…

A cockroach.

NO WAY, one of my co-workers at a local public library also found a piece of cooked bacon/bookmark in one of our books. What are people doing with their bacon?

Working in the children’s department, my favorite was finding a baby carrot, uneaten and no book damage, in a copy of D.W. the Picky Eater by Marc Brown.

Author’s Note: There were so many more than I could share, but I do want you to know that my private messages also had a clear winner…bacon and more bacon.