For years, a US librarian collected items she discovered between the pages of borrowed titles. Recently, all of the curiosities that Sharon McKellar amassed are available to visitors at the Oakland Public Library, California, in a special exhibit.
The curator of "Found in a Library Book" describes her motivation in an interview with the news portal Euronews: "I wanted to share something that was really interesting for me and which I thought would be of interest to others as well". The documents left between the pages of the book ranged from the mysterious to the mundane. You could find bookmarks full of children's art, Christmas snapshots, family photos, to-do lists or letters from lovers that had been written but never sent.
Each and every relic represents a snapshot of the life of the person who left it, McKellar adds, continuing, "There are some notes and letters that feel very unfinished. Where you really want to know what happened next. " She started collecting the bookmarks around 2012 and has been blogging about them for several years. Some letters are thoughtful, including one that thanks its anonymous recipient for "everything" and continues: "We tend to argue. I'm working to stop that."
A particular anecdote has to do with a Christmas photo of two children who were once sitting on Santa's lap, the library announced on its Instagram account: After spotting the photo on Instagram and the website, a woman recognized herself as the one child depicted on it again. Finally, the library was able to return her long-lost childhood photos afterwards.
The "Found in a Library Book" exhibit is on through December 2, 2022 at the Oakland Public Library.
Sources: Oakland Public Library, Euronews, Sharon McKellar's Blog