or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

A Look Back: Library Finds

   January 5th, 2010 Brian Herzog

Unshelved comicAround now is when everyone is either reviewing the past year, or making their predictions or promises for the upcoming year. To vary that theme a little bit, I created a Library Finds flickr group and uploaded stuff collected by me and my staff in the library since I started working there.

What I've uploaded so far is just a fraction of what we've found. Mostly it is left-behind note paper, and it always amazes me what someone chose to write down, and then either left or forgot. Some of the most common things are:

  • call number and book/movie titles
  • quick math (but not so quick as to be easily worked out in your head)
  • urls (especially craigslist posts)
  • artwork and doodles
  • personal messages or notes to other people
  • signs warning people to stay away from their computer
  • lots of things obviously written by middle-school boys

I'm not uploading anything that seemed personally-identifiable: peoples' first and last names, phone numbers, email addresses, account login and passwords - and there were a frighteningly large number of these.

If you like Found objects, here are some related links. Also please add anything you find in your library to the flickr group - I'll keep adding more whenever I can.

I hope you enjoyed 2009, and that your 2010 is even better.

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Found Bookmarks

   June 19th, 2008 Brian Herzog

found.jpgThis is worth repeating: Kate over on Adventures in Library Land highlighted an AbeBooks article that listed a few examples of things that were found in used books:

  • Forty $1,000 bills
  • Piece of bacon
  • Credit cards
  • Valuable baseball cards
  • A diamond ring

I'm sure most libraries have a collection of odd things, too - just this week I found a Pokémon card (in a book about dealing with bullying). I tend to use receipts myself, or whatever random scrap of paper is handy at the time. Perhaps there should be a Where's George?-like program for bookmarks, too.

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