Day Fifty One of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!


You do not have to work for long in a library before you find some unusual items in your return box, or in the books themselves. Look through some of the materials identified in this article and laugh, or cringe, in our shared experiences!

The Most Bizarre Things Librarians Have Found in Returned Books

by Ariel Zeitlin

“As a librarian I usually agree that most things do go better with a book, especially meals, baths, and country picnics. Apparently many people agree—and they take it quite a bit further than I ever would! Here are some things that have been found in library books (not necessarily by me or my colleagues). Let’s break it down by categories:


Apparently valuables also make great bookmarks. We’re talking crisp $100 bills, credit cards, lottery tickets, Broadway show tickets, and even live paychecks (not a receipt of direct deposit). These are the habits of people who are good at saving money (Hint: They probably don’t leave their paychecks in library books).


Books seem to make great keepsakes for products of nature. Librarians have opened returned books to find pressed flowers, four-leaf clovers, dandelions gone to seed, and whole marijuana leaves. (No one got arrested, that we know of.)


What you do in your private reading time sometimes ends up in public. Imagine picking up a returned book and having one of these fall out: tampons (thankfully unused), unrolled condoms (ditto), a home pregnancy test (positive!), and a glass vial labeled “smallpox sample.”


Sharp objects and books should probably not go together, and yet librarians have found scissors, knives, a cheese slicer, and even a small hatchet.

Theoretically edible

Eating and reading are a natural combo, which is why snacks are a popular bookmark. We’re talking Cheetos (mostly crumbled), a pickle slice, a Pop-Tart, a Kraft Single (still wrapped), and even whole strips of bacon (both cooked and raw). If you’re going to read and munch, try these healthy snacks.”