Lost & Found: Library books in weird places

Here are some staff stories about losing and finding books, and other library materials, in odd or surprising places.

Blast from the Past! - Nikki Shaw, HCPL Admin; Veronica Urias, Fairbanks Branch


In 2020 we had someone return a book that seemed to be checked out in 1982. All it had were check out date stamps and the Fairbanks branch stamp on it. After asking around we found out that, back then, library borrowing was an honor system!

Legoland - Amanda Place, Barbara Bush Branch

Barbara Bush Branch's copy of The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire series by Tui Sutherland) was taken on vacation to Legoland, Florida, which is located in Central Florida’s Winter Haven, 45 minutes from Orlando and Tampa. The staff at the hotel found the book and sent it back along with a nice postcard! 

Library book on Ebay? - Teresa Granado-Law, HCPL Admin

I had an old book that I bought on either Abebooks or Ebay that was from Harris County from the 80s. I think it was a from the teen romance series Sweet Dreams. I should have taken a picture of the Harris County stamp or sticker or whatever it had. It had come to me from another state, too!

Across the pond - David Cherry, HCPL Admin


Over the years when I was doing social media, several folks reached out having found weeded HCPL books that were sold as used books by our vendor. I remember one from an airport in Sweden that offered to mail it back to us, and one from a pub somewhere in England.

The call is coming from inside the library! - LeeAnn Jennings, Aldine Branch


You know how thin JERs (Early Readers) are, right? About once a month I make a point to check INSIDE the bookdrop bin (the kind with the spring loaded bottom) because JERs like to slide right though the cracks and live inside the thing! When we went to change the rug in our Children's Area and found (again) a JER under the rug! It was so thin that no one realized it was there. Me and JERs don't get along it seems....


School bookdrop - Margaret Powell, Katy Branch


I used to volunteer at a local Klein ISD library. The librarian regularly had to disassemble the book drop catcher because the skinniest books would drop into the cracks with the spring.


Library unicorn - Rebecca Trent, Kingwood Branch


A unicorn stuffy was left behind at the Kingwood library this past fall. The staff took pictures of the unicorn having fun in the Children's area and posted them on their Facebook page, hoping to notify the family who'd lost it: "This little unicorn has had so many exciting library adventures over the past week but they’re ready to come home now. If this is your friend, they’re waiting for you at the front desk of the Kingwood Library!" The parent replied to the post and the library unicorn was soon reunited with its family!


Just below the Mason-Dixon line - Elizabeth Boggs, Katy Branch


My parents are volunteers for the Katy Library. They went on vacation to visit my sister in Richmond, VA, and I had found a book returned to us that belonged to the Chesterfield County Library System in that part of the country. They returned the book for us while on vacation, since they were there anyway!


Block-"savers" - Becky Roesel, Freeman Branch


From the olden days of Blockbuster:  We used to get Blockbuster and other video stores’ DVDs returned to the library. We would occasionally take a trip to the nearby video stores with a pile of their DVDs that had been returned to the library and asked them for any library DVDs that had been returned to Blockbuster.  When the mis-returned DVDs were checked in, many of them were claimed returned.  I like to think we saved people a lot of money in lost item fees from the video stores.


Globe trotters - Beth Krippel, Atascocita Branch


We had a customer call us about a book they found on a flight to Japan (I think); they lived in California, and asked how to return it to us so the customer wouldn't be charged. Once we had a book brought in by a customer who had just come back from Australia, and had found a library book that belonged to a library there; we emailed the library and asked them if they wanted it back. The joys of international airports being local!


What have I done! - Laura Smith, HCPL Admin


I had a stack of books that I was returning on my way in to work at Freeman Branch. Most of them were Pasadena Public books, but one of them was HCPL. I unthinkingly dumped them all in the book return at Pasadena Public & immediately thereafter realized what I'd done. I called them later that day when they opened to explain what happened. After we both laughed about it they explained their process for handling books returned to the them from other libraries and my book eventually found its way back to HCPL.


Thank you so much to all the staff members and family that contributed stories to this fun blog post!