1. To the shredder
You’d be surprised how many people use their credit cards as bookmarks.
Also, personal medical information… And notes and cards from their kids… It breaks my heart to shred an “I love you daddy” card, but if we have no idea whose it is, we have to.
I’ll never forget the time I was unloading the drive-thru book drop and heard this little girl. She was asking her mother about the drop, seemingly very curious and interested in it. She decides to experiment by dropping a single animal cracker. Then another. And another. I’m chuckling at this point, finding it amusing how excited she’s getting watching the crackers disappear down the chute. About 20 crackers later (this girl was going ham, mind you), her mom decides it’s time to drop the books in and puts them all in at once. Crrrruuunnch. The crackers at the bottom practically explode from the impact, causing the little girl to squeal with glee at the sound. I now realized that I would know have to clean up this mess, a real ergh moment. It turned out that some of these crackers were in her mouth and were wet and soggy, making them smush into the books.
3. Wealthy library users
50 $100 bills. Not a librarian, but I live in Mendocino county, which is well known for its cartel problems. After some highly publicized budget cuts caused our local libraries to have to cut staff and hours, some anonymous benefactor dropped a manilla envelope with $5000 in the book deposit of a small branch library.
4. A plethora of things
Oh glob, where to begin. I’ve found:
- $100 bill.
- Used bandaids.
- Plane ticket.
- All kinds of food & beverages. (Oreos, cheez-its, sandwich crumbs, purple drank cans)
- Books from the wrong library (this happens all the time)
5. Reading is a wonderful gift
A pair of panties with a sticky note that said “You and your books excite me. Thanks for turning me on to reading.”
6. Something is fishy about this book
Had someone put a whole salmon in it one year when we were closed for Christmas. Thing festered and rotted for 2 days it did not smell nice.
7. Bomb-proof bookdrop
I’ve found the strangest thing to be THE bookdrop. When I switched branches to staff a newly built library, the bookdrop was built to be bomb-proof. It was a 24 hour bookdrop and at night we had a procedure to close off the unit from the rest of the room and then close the fire door to the small room that enclosed the unit. This was not in a large city, but rather out in suburbia in a quiet town.
Other than that, I’ve found the same slightly boring things similar to what others have found. The most money I’ve ever found was a $20 note used for a bookmark. I called the last person to check out the item and it was picked up.
8. Lost and found
I’m not a librarian but I once returned my birth control pills to the library through the drop box. I was in university and had decided to have a few jars at 11am before a lecture and dropped off some books on my way to class. I had my because in my backpack and it must’ve gotten sandwiched between 2 books.
Anyway, after my lecture it was pill time, and when I reached into my bag they weren’t there. I was still kinda woozy and started panicking. I told a friend who was in class with me (who found my woozy-ness to be quite amusing) told me I should re-trace my steps. I went back to the library and asked someone if anyone had found a pack of birth control pills. She laughed at me and said “Yeah, we’ve been expecting you.” Thankfully the pack of pills had a sticker on it with the prescription as well as my name and address. So all I had to do was show them some ID and they gave me my pills back.
9. After the decimal system
Dewey the Library Cat was a famous resident cat who was found in a book drop as a kitten. A contest was held to pick a name, and “Dewey Readmore Books” was officially added to the staff.
10. A classic film
I worked as a page for a couple years and we always check the DVD cases when they are returned. Well, I found this one case and it had a blank disc inside of it instead of the correct DVD. If I remember correctly, it was a Morgan Freeman movie. I asked my boss what I should do and he instructed me to pop the DVD into the computer. Low and behold, the blank DVD was an adult film and I was welcomed by a pair of jugs on my work screen. But that’s not the weirdest part. My boss called the patron and told them there was a mix-up and the wrong DVD was returned in the case. A few hours later, a little old lady walks into the library, apologizes for the mix up, and takes the adult DVD. That was a strange day.
11. Can you finish this?
At my school, someone left half-finished coursework in the library bookdrop. He put it up on a board so it would be claimed but before it was, one of the teachers decided to grade it, quite cruelly. It wasn’t collected.
12. X marks the spot
This isn’t from the book drop but it was from when I was working in the library in University. I was in the bathroom and I saw a call number on the wall. Awesome! Treasure hunt! So I go find that book. Inside there is a scrap of paper with another on it from a different floor. I go through 3 more books (call it shelf reading… my job wasn’t the most important back in the day). Finally I find the “treasure”.
Male only adult entertainment, badly photocopied.
I left it alone… we’re all adults at the University and there wasn’t anything illegal. It might float some other guy’s boat.
I worked at a library doing tech support for a while, one of the worst finds the pages told me about was shit; someone had literally taken a dump in the drop.
14. That’s one way to get rid of them
By far the most amusing was a spiral bound notebook that was full of poorly written rap lyrics. It was relatively full, and I read quite a few while trying to identify the owner. I never found a name, so I put it in the lost and found. Sadly, it wasnt claimed during the semester I worked there.
15. He was a slow reader
A book that was 16 years overdue. Luckily the max penalty our library charges is $5.
16. Don’t put your hand in there
Three live scorpions. Hurray for desert libraries.
17. How did she know it was homeless?
My wife was a page part time during grad school, all she found was homeless man semen on the nude photography books. Not in the bookdrop, but close enough.
18. Of all the things he needed
An old roommate of mine was a Librarian. He said one day it sounded like someone pouring water in their bookdrop. The bookdrop was one of those that is built into the wall. He opened the door to see and a homeless guy was sitting on the other side with a terrible case of diarrhea. My old roommate went outside to confront this homeless guy and the homeless man demanded toilet paper.
19. What if they need to return the item?
Receipt from a sex shop downtown used as a bookmark in The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology.
20. The FBI didn’t want them, maybe the library does
We had a woman who thought the bookdrop was a direct mailbox to the government. She would write conspiracy letters and fill bags with trash and dirty tissues and throw them in about twice a month. Those were always the best mornings to be at work…
21. A little spooky
I once found a book in the book drop that had an inscription inside. It was given to my mother, from my father, when they first started dating. It must have gotten lost and donated somewhere along the way after my mother died. I bought a newer version of the book and took that one home. I don’t know if I believe in the afterlife, but if I ever did, this would be one of those moments to truly believe my mother was watching out for me, checking in, reminding me that she loves me. I love you too, mom.
22. Inviting ID theft
Guy drops off this big textbook and when I go flipping through it, I find he’d been using his Social Security documents (paper with all his info) as a bookmark. Also, the social security number was underlined just in case someone didn’t know where to look. I like to think I was a hero that day.
23. Free dinner
Emptying the drop-in box one morning I touched something hard and oval with my hand, after reaching in and pulling it out I found a live lobster, rubber bands and all – One of the other employees took it home for, all I can assume, dinner.
A DVD case that was somehow filled with live cockroaches. They were pretty small, so I’m guessing that they were recently hatched. I was the lucky person who opened the case. Oh, the horror.
25. A healthy library is a happy library?
Found antique medical equipment. I managed to track the guy down and give it back to him. He had passed it onto his daughter who was also a doctor, and she accidentally donated it with a box full of books.
26. Inability to follow simple instructions
Not particularly weird but in the Winter months it’s not uncommon to find a snowball or should I say the remains of a snowball destroying the books in the drop bin. It’s also entertaining to see CD’s and Talking books in there because in huge letters taped to the front those items say “DO NOT RETURN IN DROPBOX.”
27. Crazy dragon
A vhs tape that had a handwritten label that read “Crazy Dragon” – oh how we wanted to see what was on that tape… but we had no vcr!
28. Free money?
The weirdest thing I ever found was what looked like what I can only best describe as a printing template for fake dollar bills.
29. Food for thought
One of the items in the collection is a poem etched upon an uncooked lasagna noodle. Apparently the author wanted you to cook and eat the noodle before reading the poem, then read the poem on paper and contemplate life.
30. It’s alive!
One morning my librarian friend calls me (which is weird, we’re not phone people at all) and tells me she found something alive in the book drop. It was a possum, and a very pissed off possum at that. It was actually stuck in the book drop. Since it was a small library, there was no ‘defense’ from the book drop destination and the rest of the library, so she was trying to push it back out with the flat end of a push broom.
It eventually calmed down enough and stopped attacking the push broom, only to push off of said push broom and back out of the slot. From there it walked about 10 yards from the building and keeled over, dead. The books in the book drop had to be replaced as they were soaked with various possum leavings and drippings.