Friday, 8 June 2012

39: Library Lost Property

You might think the lost property department of a library is likely to be a rather boring place.  Of course there are plenty of umbrellas, odd gloves, even a coat or two.  But sometimes we find things in the returned books that end up in lost property too.  People use all kinds of things of bookmarks and sometimes they come back to collect them.

There was one girl who had used her sick note to mark the page in a self-diagnosis manual.  She looked quite well when she came in to fetch it so that she could post it to work.  Then she remembered what she was supposed to have, and limped out, leaning on the wall as she went.

Then there was the elderly man who used a love letter from his late wife.  He was frantic with worry and almost in tears when he visited us.  He had been rereading the letter around the time he read his library book and somehow got the two muddled up.  He stroked the envelope, turning it over from front to back, relief and happiness dancing crinkling his eyes.

There was some discussion over what to do about the flight tickets to Cyprus found inside a travel guide to Turkey.  Checks were made on the computer to see who had borrowed the book lately, but that person said they had decided on a package holiday to Spain instead.  Before we could track any previous lenders, the date for outward travel passed.

Perhaps the most unexpected was the foil of contraceptive pills.  They were marking pages 4 and 5, so maybe the owner didn’t find the book to her taste.  Or perhaps to his taste.  For days we made up stories about who might be missing the tablets.  Did a young girl stuff her pills inside the nearest thing to hand when her mother knocked on her bedroom door?  Maybe a career woman misplaced them and spent days worrying whether she may need a maternity break?  Or even her husband, keener than she to be a parent, hid them in the hopes of engineering an accident?

We think it’s unlikely the foil will be claimed but we plan to watch out regulars very closely for the next 9 months.
Inspired by "Library Book Back After 80 Years"

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