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article imageBacon As A Bookmark? Librarians Tell All

By Carolyn E. Price     Mar 20, 2007 in Lifestyle
So, what do you use to mark the page you've just finished reading? Bacon, perhaps? Librarians say they never know what they'll find in the book drop.
What do you use to mark the last page you read in a book? I want to know, just what is wrong with an actual bookmark?
Public librarians are speaking out about the atrocities that they see being wrought upon poor unsuspecting books all across this continent.
"People leave photos, Social Security cards and driver's licenses," said Kate Porter, assistant director of the Upper Arlington Public Library, "gum in wrappers, letters that need to be mailed, prescriptions, airline tickets - some that are unused and some that are used - ponytail holders, fines that they owe the library." Now, a lot of these things I can see using as a bookmark but who in their right mind would put their unused airline ticket in a book and then forget about it!
"We’ve seen a condom as a bookmark," said Vi Yarman, head of circulation for the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County. "It was not used. The patron was renewing the book. My staff opened the book up, and the patron said, 'Oh, that's my bookmark.'" Thank God it wasn't a used one!
Librarians say that books that are returned in the fall often have leaves in them. Books returned in the summer have sand. One librarian had a book returned with a butter knife in it, butter and all!
"I was working at the Parsons Avenue library and I found a piece of uncooked bacon," Gerald Schwab, who manages the circulation division of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. "It was a cookbook. They must have been using it in the kitchen."
"We have gotten love letters, charming love letters," Schwab said. "One of my colleagues was telling me he found a set of fake fingernails and an emery board."
And sometimes, library patrons make, well, little slip ups. In West Jefferson, Sharon Shrum, director of the public library, says that one patron returned a movie cassette that had been taped over in the middle of the film. The library didn't know it had been taped over until it was borrowed again and the borrower brought it back.
"I think it was like, My Fair Lady or something like that," Shrum said, "and all of a sudden there is this heavy panting. Someone had taped one of those soft-porn channels."
If you think that's bad, what do you think people put in book drops? Their pets?
At the Bexley Public Library, "someone put a live cat inside" the book drop, Director Robert Stafford said. "It was OK, and the staff released it later."
Dirty diapers are also a very common book drop return.
And here I thought that a librarian's job was fairly boring and sedate. I had no idea that people used all these weird and wacky things (I mean how do you "forget" you've but a piece of raw bacon in a book?) as bookmarks. I've got tons of them all over my house because I hate it when book pages are folded over or the spines cracked.
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