Life holds plenty of surprises, especially when you work at a public library. Last week, for instance, we found a banana in the book drop. Naturally, I logged onto my favorite librarian Facebook group to share the news.
The first response?
Curious George strikes again!
We once found a melted banana split in ours.
After which my fellow librarians began posting about the items they'd found over the years in their own book drops:
A full diaper.
A dead rabbit.
An empty wine bottle.
A used condom.
We found underpants in ours yesterday. At least they were clean.
A banana was beginning to sound like a relatively delightful book find. Reports of more discoveries poured in:
A slice of bacon.
A cell phone.
An empty soda can.
A live lobster.
An ice cream sandwich. Thankfully it was winter, so it hadn't melted.
A coffee maker. People be crazy.
As the comments continued, I began to wonder. Was there anything that HADN'T been left in a library book drop?
A dead fish.
A live chicken!
A small tub of unopened cottage cheese.
A dirty love letter! (And yes, we all read it.)
In my own workplace, a lit joint in the book drop is not unheard of.
As librarians warmed to the topic, book drop discoveries came in fast and furious:
An unopened box of sanitary pads.
An open box of Bisquick.
A full bottle of Jim Beam.
A bag of grapes.
A carton of eggs.
One of my co-workers used to get gifts in the book drop from a secret admirer.
Think that working in a library is all sunshine and roses? Contemplate these book drop finds and think again:
A dead bird in a shoe box with a note threatening the life of our library mascot, a Cockatiel.
A finger. Yes, an actual finger. We never found out whose. And it was my first week on the job.
Gravel. And ground beef. We thought somebody had been murdered. We had to throw every book in the drop away.
A severed foot. Thankfully, plastic. Obviously someone's idea of a joke.
Library patrons can be mysterious:
We once found a wrapped Subway sandwich in the book drop. Later that week, we also found one on the shelves. Weird.
Nothing odd in our book drop yet. But someone once put a hot dog in our suggestion box.
Somebody just left a deer head on our roof.
Last week somebody removed a garden gnome from a nearby house and put it in our book drop.
Some folks just don't deserve a book drop:
My library got rid of our book drop the second time it was set on fire.
Some idiot poured gasoline in ours. Now we have security cameras.
Ours was destroyed. We don't know who did it, but we came to work one morning to find that somebody had beat the living hell out of it.
We removed the book drop from our middle school library after the first wad of gum was deposited. Now the kids have to return books in the drop slot at the circ desk. #nasty. #notpaidenough #peoplecanbegross.
Finally? Librarians would like to remind you that Real Patriots don't include the library book drop in their celebration of our nation's birth:
If we don't close our drop over July 4th weekend, people put fire crackers in it.
Library life is full of discovery. And when it comes to the book drop, it seems, anything is possible! Which is why I'm hoping that the next time I open ours, I'll find it packed with hundred dollar bills. Or Oreo cookies. I'd even settle for that lit joint.
A librarian can dream, can't she?
(Roz Warren is the author of OUR BODIES: OUR SHELVES: A COLLECTION OF LIBRARY HUMOR. h. This essay first appeared on Zestnow.)