A librarian collects all the things left in books — from love letters to photos The Oakland Public Library has spent years collecting items its patrons have left in library books, from old photographs to love notes. The archive is available publicly on their website.

A librarian collects all the things left in books — from love letters to old photos

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Have you ever grabbed a grocery list, a ticket stub or, hey, even a crochet hook to use as a bookmark? Well, the Oakland Public Library now has a collection of those random items left behind in returned books.

SHARON MCKELLAR: A lot of postcards - sent and unsent, written and unwritten - concert tickets and Big Red gum wrappers and homework - anything you can imagine, really.


Librarian Sharon McKellar started a lost and found archive on the library's website. And under the banner of Found in a Library Book was an old, green sticky note that an eagle-eyed patron recognized as their own lost treasure.

JAMEE LONGACRE: The note says brat. B - banana; R - rice cereal; A - applesauce; T - toast. Constipation in babies.

KHALID: Jamee Longacre says she was not sure at first that the handwriting was indeed hers.

LONGACRE: I even, like, jokingly leaned further in closer to my computer screen and went, yeah, that's me. That's how I - yeah. Yep. How did this end up there? And I just kind of, like, giggled to myself.

MARTÍNEZ: Librarian McKellar likes to imagine the people and the stories behind the items.

MCKELLAR: It lets us be a little bit nosy in a very anonymous way. It's like reading people's secret diaries a little bit, but without knowing who they are.

KHALID: The collection now has close to 400 photos, sticky notes, cards, letters and artifacts. And it is, of course, growing all the time.


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