US library exhibit shows 'glimpse of humanity' in lost items in books

US library exhibit shows 'glimpse of humanity' in lost items in books
Notes collected from returned library books are seen on display in the "Found in a Library Book" collection at the Oakland Public Library in Oakland, California, US, on Aug 29, 2022.
PHOTO: Reuters

OAKLAND, California - Photographs, to-do lists, airplane tickets and quirky drawings by children are part of thousands of lost and forgotten items in library books carefully collected for 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 downtown branch display cases feature post-it notes, cards, 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 dated Nov 19, 2002.

Any item found in a returned book throughout the library system gets sent to librarian Sharon McKellar, who began collecting the items ten years ago.

A few days ago, she opened envelopes containing polaroid photos, two post-it notes stuck to each other with a list of ingredients on one and a list of bible verses on another and a single square sheet of toilet paper.

"I like imagining where these came from," said McKellar, who has been with the library since 2003. "It just feels like a really interesting archive of our community, of the city and the people who use our libraries and the diversity within those, and just kind of a glimpse at humanity and who we all are and how we're all connected."

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