Lost Library Books Turn Up In Some Crazy Places

Roz Warren


From time to time a patron will check a book out of the library where I work and misplace it. Not to worry. It usually turns up under a car seat or behind the book shelf. But library material cam turn up in surprising places.

After a patron returned an overdue DVD that she’d found underneath her microwave, I asked my fellow librarians: “What’s the oddest place a patron has ever found a misplaced library book or DVD?”

As a public service, I’ve decided to share some of their responses with the library-going public:

On top of a ceiling fan blade! The patron, a college student, thinks that a friend probably hid it there as a joke. He found it months later when he turned on the fan and the book went flying.

A patron just found an overdue CD under the spare tire in her trunk.

One of our patrons just found a long overdue book in his Bichon’s toy box.

I once found an overdue library book hidden under my grandson’s mattress. He loved it so much he didn’t want to give it back.

Just got a letter from a patron telling us that she’d found a lost copy of “Finding Dory” in a potted plant.

We have a teenage patron who hid a bunch of “Vampire” TV show DVDs that her mother had forbidden her to check out in a dresser drawer and then forgot about them. Mom was not happy about paying that hefty fine.

When we replaced our refrigerator, we found a children’s book that the cat had batted underneath it to join her stash of rubber bands and milk jar rings.

Mom: “I though we already returned that.”
Kid: “No, it’s in the Barbie house.”

We once found an overdue book inside a recliner!

I have a friend who puts library books in her freezer to “kill the bedbugs” — and then forgets them there.

A patron was having some work done on her house. When they opened up one of the walls, they found a stack of picture books that had been accidentally dry walled over during a previous renovation.

One patron swore up and down that she’d returned a whole slew of books, only to find them the following fall when she unpacked her Christmas decorations.

A patron once found an overdue DVD under her stove. Her kids had apparently kicked it under there while playing “DVD soccer” in the kitchen.

A patron once brought back a book that she found in her washing machine. It had been thrown in with a load of sheets and went through the entire wash cycle. (And yes, it was beyond repair and she had to pay for it.)

A mom once found an overdue picture book in her wok. Her toddler left it there when she was playing in the cupboard.

We had a patron who swore the DVD he’d book had vanished into thin air. Turned out that he’d left it on the roof of his trunk, then drove off. Another patron found it in a ditch and brought it in.

Because patrons often find overdue books under the car seat, we always recommend that people check there. One patron protested that he didn’t have a car — but he later found the missing book under the car seat of their babysister.

The next time you lose track of a library book, be sure to check the usual places. Under your car seat. In the trunk. Behind the bookshelf. Then try inside the freezer and the washing machine, and on top of the ceiling fans.

And whatever you do, don‘t forget to search under all your appliances! You may not find the book under there but who knows what treasure you’ll turn up? You could find enough money to pay the replacement fee for the book you’ve lost!

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Roz Warren, the author of JUST ANOTHER DAY AT YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY, has appeared on both the Today Show and Morning Edition, writes for everyone from the Funny Times to the New York Times, and has been included in 13 Chicken Soup for the Soul collections. Drop her a line at roSwarren@gmail.com.

Bala Cynwyd, PA

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