Posted on March 16, 2020 at 9:16 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Last week, NPR shared how a Cambridge University librarian found part of an old cookie in a rare sixteenth-century book.

So naturally it inspired us to ask our followers what unconventional bookmarks they’ve found — and we almost wish we hadn’t asked.

Here are some of the most eye-popping examples, with the ickiest at the bottom so squeamish folks can easily avoid them.

And especially nowadays, please don’t follow these folks’ examples unless the book is yours and will be yours forever ...

Ecofriendly bookmarks

Mary A.: A joint of marijuana.

Linda H.: I once checked in a book with a small tree branch used as a bookmark. I called out to the woman who put it on the counter, and she grabbed the branch and stuck it in her hair!!! It was kind of rat's nest anyway. Also, this was Alaska, where anything goes!

Tracey L.: A beautiful wildflower and small butterfly pressed between the pages. I still have them.

Jennifer M.: Rather than finding items in books, I put items in books. Specifically, flowers that I press from bouquets that mean a lot to me. The books I use aren't first editions or anything.

A little too personal

Jo C.: I once found a court summons in a library book. I knew the person named on it, and returning the document to him was a little embarrassing!

MDiane L.: Found someone's passport and birth certificate: boy were they glad I returned them!

Claudine M.: A driver’s license in a library book. Returned to owner.

Denise M.: I found a plane ticket stub and a note from a mom flying to her terminally ill daughter’s side and hoping to get there in time.

Ruth M.: Photos, a bus ticket, a check, and a letter — all being used as bookmarks, I presume.

Laura R.: I found this note in a Nancy Drew book I bought at a used bookstore. I hope Kara & Jenny were able to settle their differences!

Eileen S.: I found someone's arrest record.

Moira S.: Condom (unused, thank goodness!)

Good clean fun

Gale C.: I once found a child's drawing signed with an unusual first name & I knew it belonged to a co-worker of mine's kid. We never talked about this book, or any other. Returned it to her.

Lesley C.: A bookmark saying PAX, from New Norcia Abbey in Western Australia. I made a point of visiting the abbey when in Perth, Australia (very interesting) but didn't see any for sale bookmarks like it. 

Evelyn M.: Several times I've found old postcards. Actually quite interesting to read them. They get added to my collection.

Kay L.: A $50 bill in a book I was checking in.

Sharon M.: $20, probably used as a bookmark.

Edible (once upon a time)

Loretta B.: I have found crumbs and chocolate smears!

Nancy C.: I was weeding a juvenile nonfiction collection in a small branch and found a squished flat hamburger inside a j 398.2. It couldn’t be saved.

Dorreen J.: A cupcake was the worst I have seen..

Seriously gross

Dana B.: I bought Winter of the World at a used bookstore in Monroe, WA. Its previous owner must have taken it to work to read on his/her lunch break. Every Single Page had crumbs, smears, stains and when I (inevitably) came to a booger, I threw it away. So disgusting.

Donna B.: At our branch, we have found many things in books, including a 50 dollar bill that we returned to the customer. The worst thing has to be the moldy slice of bologna that someone apparently used as a bookmark.

H Lynn K.: A dead and desiccated lizard.

Marti M.: Dirt and boogers. That's why I stick to ebooks now!

Shirley N.: Crumbs from a bedtime snack, a moth, and something that could have been a smear of blood... all different books, of course.

Keli W.: Chicken poop. Thought it was mold at first. Patron informed us that no, it was chicken poop. She couldn't understand why we couldn't put it back out on the shelf.

Claudia Z.: Vomit.

Enjoy this post? Make sure to comment on our Facebook posts so we can share your bookish stories and opinions in the future!

There are no comments yet.
Add Comment

* Indicates a required field