An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Bookmarks you don't want to lose!

A regular patron of ours returned Dan Brown's Angels & Demons to us last Wednesday. She slid it across the circulation desk to me and then walked away to find something new. I was about to turn the book around to better reach its barcode when I noticed something green sticking out of the top of its pages.

"Um... you do realize you left $20 as a bookmark in here, right?" I asked.

Our patron spun around, looked shocked, then came back to the circulation desk where I was pointing to the $20. The bill was only just barely visible as a $20. If it had been stuck any further down I would have missed it entirely. The patron took the book, removed her money and then began flipping rapidly through the pages in case she'd stashed any more cash in there.

"Oh, my gosh! I can't believe I did that. You're so honest to point that out."

Well, sure. If I left a $20 in a book, I'd want someone to point it out too. Besides, I didn't actually know that she hadn't meant to leave it in there as either a donation or for unpaid fines or what? I just wanted to clarify if she had meant to leave it there and what I was supposed to do with it if she had. No worries.

That, however, is not the worst thing that I've heard of being left in a book as a bookmark at this branch. This will sound like an urban legend or a friend of a friend story but Mrs. C said it actually happened to her.

Mrs. C once told me that several years ago another regular female patron came in and asked if we had any handbooks on getting a divorce. It seems the patron and her husband were going through some rocky times and it looked as though it wasn't going to work out, so she wanted to get her ducks in a row as far as what she needed to do should it come to divorce. Mrs. C looked up one of our divorce guides and sent the patron upstairs to find it. The woman did find it, but came back down looking pale and disturbed. Mrs. C said the patron came to the desk and laid a piece of paper out for her to see, saying that she'd found it in the book Mrs. C had sent her upstairs to locate.  It was a credit card receipt for a card belonging to her husband.  It seemed the two of them were on the same page, so to speak.

By the way, we had one copy of The Da Vinci Code on the shelf already--a feat in and of itself. Amazing me further is that the return of Angels & Demons on Wednesday and the return of Digital Fortress today means that we now have three of Dan Brown's books actually checked in and on the shelf side by side. That's an occurrence that I don't believe has ever happened even once at my branch since Da Vinci was first published in March 2003. In fact, when Digital Fortress arrived, I announced to the two patrons in the room that they were about to witness history, walked over to the shelf and shelved it with its two brethren.

The patrons were somehow not moved to tears at the beauty of the moment.

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