When you returned your favorite summer read to the library, a little part of your week at the beach might have gone with it. As Cleveland Public Library lending manager Lane Edwards puts it, "We get to vacation with the person, eat the candy bar with the person."
But sand and Snickers wrappers are just the beginning. A vast assortment of items has shown up inside returned library books over the years. We were tipped off to the phenomenon after learning of a local librarian who once discovered a dried goldfish smashed flat between the pages of a hardback. The handful of librarians we talked to say their finds usually fall into one of three categories: edible, valuable or strange.
Euclid Public Library employees routinely turn up used toothpicks and lollipop sticks.
One book even came back with a banana peel inside. Meanwhile, a tome was returned to the University Heights Library with a strip of raw bacon tucked between two pages.
Then, there are the R-rated discoveries, classified as "things you don't want to find" by Cuyahoga County Public Library librarian Rhonda Keifer. She says co-workers at her Strongsville branch have stumbled across unopened condoms more than once and one book was returned with a pair of black lace bikini underwear slipped between the covers.
What about the valuable stuff? Jewelry and money have been found at one time or another by all of the librarians to whom we spoke. Strongsville found the most cash in one book: $300. And yes, they assure us the money was promptly returned.