Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thar's Gold in Them Books

Apparently there's money to be found in books, literally. Over the years, I have heard stories about how people have returned books with valuable items in them. I have always crossed my fingers while doing the morning book drop that I would find a crisp $100 bill stuck between pages 156 and 157 of the latest James Patterson novel. Albeit any form of paper money would have been a nice surprise to find but these millionaire patrons never seem to return their books while I am working the desk. Where are these patrons that use money as book marks? I know they exist somewhere out there.

At one of the county branches a father was hoping to reward his son for completing a book, which was required for his school's summer reading, by placing a $5 bill at the very last page of the book. Needless to say, necessary school reading was not enough motivation for the kid to finish the book and it was returned to their local library. When the dad asked how the book ended and the son said he never finished it and returned the book, the dad called the library and they found the book on the shelves with the $5 still there.

At another branch a volunteer was working the book drop when they came across a hollowed out book. It was one of those "safe" books, where you can stash your ever depreciating cash or your diamonds from would-be hopefully, illiterate thieves. The book was filled with old antique jewelry. The library staff ended up finding the rightful owner.

All I want to know is, when can I come across something good? The most memorable thing I have ever found was also the most disturbing. I was checking in your typical romance novel, you know the ones with the cover of shirtless six-pack Steve holding some long haired damsel in some far flung foreign country, when what happens to fall out on to the circulation desk ---- a condom. Thank goodness it was unused and still wrapped but still, a condom, really? I guess a lady patron did not get the "jumpstart" she was expecting from reading the book. Don't even get me started on 'Romance Novels' either, that's the topic for an entirely different entry. Anyways, I was considering putting a note on her account saying that she left something personal in a book she returned and that the item would be held for her.

I did find a credit card in one, actually it was for Ann Taylor stores. I was able to track down the patron who was relieved that it didn't fall into the hands of someone else. Granted, I'm sure if some ne'er do well teen had found it they would have been at the nearest 7-Eleven trying to score some free slurpees.

From what I have observed, patrons use just about anything as bookmarks. Nothing is worse than working in the middle of winter when you check in a newly dropped off book and out falls a plane ticket stub to some warm tropical country along with some grains of sand. Plane ticket stubs are the second most common impromptu bookmarks after check out receipts. The second most disgusting would be use band-aids followed by emery boards.

All I can ask is that if you borrow books, make sure you don't use anything of value or related to personal hygiene as a bookmark. Thanks.