A veteran Auckland librarian shares love notes, photos and personal items left inside library books

Postcard left in an Oakland Public Library book. It is part of a collection called “Found in a Library Book”.

For many readers, opening the pages of a book takes them on a journey where imagination knows no bounds. For an Auckland librarian, the gift of what lies between the pages of the book has taken to a whole different level.

For nearly ten years, Sharon McKellar has been collecting artifacts readers left behind in loan book sheets.

Sharon McKellar of the Auckland Public Library has cataloged a wide range of personal items found within the library’s books over the years. (Sharon McKellar)

They ranged from intimate love letters to pictures drawn with tiny, unsteady hands. They’ve included photos, old ticket lists, to-do lists, and even a dental report.

Behind each item is an untold story with unknown characters all connected to the hands that once opened the book in which the item was found.

McKellar has estimated that she has collected nearly 600 memorabilia since around 2013.

“I’ve been a fan of this kind of thing for some time,” the longtime librarian with Auckland Public Library (OPL) KTVU said.

At first, it was something I did for personal enjoyment. She was holding on to an unclaimed item that would fall off the pages of a library book.

Knowing that she wasn’t the only one at her workplace who came across personal belongings in the returned books, she decided to reach out to her colleagues and invite them to share their finds. Then I wrote about the discoveries in a blog.

This blog eventually evolved into a page on the OPL website I created last year called “Found in a library book. “

“I thought this would be very cool because it has a complete archive and catalog that people can look at,” McKellar said.

Inviting visitors to let their imaginations go to work, on the page asks, “Have you ever wondered what happens to the things you leave behind?”

Those things that were left in the scanned images of hundreds of found items can be seen, and uploaded to the site, so that these treasures can be shared with the community. For privacy purposes, addresses and other personally identifiable information are blocked.

see also: A California author shares an animated account of a reunion with a teacher credited with changing his life

Among the many memorabilia she came across, she said that two hold a special place in her heart.

The librarian shared “One is the drawing called ‘Dad and CJ’”.

In this pencil drawing, a child’s hand made a large picture of a man with demon horns and a demonic pitchfork, identifying the vile figure standing among the flames as “dad.”

Next to him, the artist painted a much smaller character, a frown evident on his face, by the name of CJ.

This image titled “Dad and CJ” is part of the Auckland Public Library’s personal items collection found in the library’s books. (Auckland Public Library)

“I’ve always loved this guy, because the kids are so cute and funny, and who knows what dad did that made CJ angry that day,” McKellar said.

Her other favorite card, she said, was a postcard by a man named “William” in which the writer made it clear that it would be her last in a series of unanswered correspondence.

“I must have sent at least 36 cards/postcards/letter,” the writer said. “I hope you have welcomed them all. I hope everything goes well for you and you are safe and well.” Then the writer went on to say, “A completely different level of support than me and I, right? But that was her time and this is now.”

McKellar said the words left her with plenty of questions. “I just think of this guy who wrote to this guy 30 times something and never got a response. I’m just fascinated by it,” she said.

This “That Was It Now” postcard is part of the Auckland Public Library’s collection of items readers have left in their library books.

The catalog contained several heartfelt notes, like this one, written on a yellow label: “Remember I love you, baby. The past, is the past, so let’s not take it home with us. I just want to love you, be happy.” Signed with a smiley face.

McKellar aptly titled, “Remember, I Love U.”

This note is part of the Auckland Public Library’s “Found in Library Books” project, a collection of personal items left on loan books.

In another borrowed book, someone left behind a story about heartbreak. The person wrote “Translation: When you broke my heart… you set me free,” and closed the note with “Thank you.”

A note left in an Auckland Public Library book and shared in a collection called “Found in Library Books”.

Sometimes the items found their way back to their owner, which is a joyful and welcoming event when that happens.

In one case, after the library shared photos of someone’s childhood, a woman viewed the photos and recognized the photos saying they were hers when she was a child. She reached out to the library to retrieve it.

“There is no other version,” McKellar said, noting that some were Polaroids. “They have been missing since she was a child.”

Most importantly, the woman was pregnant and was excited to finally be able to share her childhood photos with her baby.

“After I spotted it here on Instagram and on the website, we were able to reunite this amazing mom with some of her childhood photos that have been lost for many years,” Oakland Public Library: found in a library book Shared on social media.

This woman has recovered long-lost childhood photos after she saw them shared through the “Found in a Library Book” page at the Oakland Public Library. (Auckland Public Library)

The collection is becoming increasingly popular with people all over the world who visit the “Found in a Library Book” page in addition to its pages Instagramwith many sharing their own discoveries.

“The more it was shared, the more comments we got and emails sharing stories about things they found,” McKellar said, adding, “Just today I received a letter from Cincinnati, Ohio from someone who sent a letter they found in a used book store.”

The librarian, who has worked with the Auckland Public Library for nearly 20 years and currently serves as a supervising librarian for Adolescent Services, said she hopes to expand the “found in a library book” project.

She said she envisioned making the community, especially the youth, more involved by eventually launching a creative writing program based on found items and allowing people to submit their own stories behind these treasures.

For now, library-goers can get a glimpse of some of these items in person. They are displayed as part of an exhibition in Auckland Home Library at 14th St. It is expected to remain on display at least until December.

The main library of the Auckland Public Library displays a range of personal items that have been found in the library’s books over the years. (Auckland Public Library)

The collection was a gift and a snapshot of the community McKellar has long served, and like the books she helped nurture and nurture, it told stories and offered endless possibilities for imagination.

“This beautiful thing that’s out there that people find, it’s such an interesting and a bit of a bit of community and humanity in Auckland,” McKellar said.

Found in Library Books exhibition at Auckland Main Library. (Auckland Public Library)

Leave a Comment