The Most Bizarre Things Librarians Have Found in Returned Books

According to this librarian, people will use *anything* for a bookmark.

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 make great bookmarks. We’re talking crisp $100 bills, credit cards, lottery tickets, theatre tickets and even live paychecks (not a receipt of direct deposit).


Books seem to be a popular place for readers to store natural souvenirs. Librarians have opened returned books to find pressed flowers, four-leaf clovers, dandelions gone to seed and whole marijuana leaves.


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).

Way too personal

If you thought condoms and tampons were private, these other items make those look tame. Librarians have found genuine love letters, a visitor registration form for the local jail, divorce agreements and even naughty photos. If you thought these sound crazy, you won’t believe what these people found after the snow melted!

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