US library exhibit shows ‘glimpse of humanity’ in lost objects in books By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Notes collected from returned library books are displayed in the ‘Found in a Library Book’ collection at the Oakland Public Library in Oakland, California, U.S. August 29, 2022. REUTERS/Nathan Frandino NO RESALE. NO ARCHIVES


OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – Photographs, to-do lists, plane tickets and original children’s drawings are among thousands of lost and forgotten items in library books carefully collected over years by a librarian in California.

The items are now part of a collection called “Found in a Library Book” at the Oakland Public Library, whose main display cases in downtown branches feature post-its, maps, drawings and bookmarks.

Among the items are a ticket to an Oakland Athletics baseball game on April 25, 2013 and a ticket to a Heineken beer-related event (OTC:) dated November 19, 2002.

Any item found in a returned book in the library system is sent to Librarian Sharon McKellar, who began collecting the items 10 years ago. A few days ago she opened envelopes containing polaroid photos, two post-it notes stuck together with a list of ingredients on one and a list of Bible verses on the other and a single square sheet of toilet paper.

“I like to imagine where they come from,” said McKellar, who has worked at the library since 2003. “It looks like a really interesting archive of our community, the city and the people who use our libraries and the diversity within those, and just kind of a glimpse into humanity and who we all are and how we’re all connected.”