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Library Lost and Found

Library Lost and Found

Courier staff go the extra mile to return missing items to their owners.
Backsplash of thank you notes at warehouse

A social security card, learner’s permit, American Express … you’d be surprised what items wind up at our warehouse.

Imagine this scenario: You’re at home reading a library book and reach for something  – anything – convenient to use as a bookmark. You have every intention of removing said bookmark before returning your book to the library. But life gets busy and you forget. You place the book in the book drop at the library.

Soon after, the WCCLS courier team collects the book from your local library and drives it to our central warehouse in Hillsboro, where returned items are sorted and routed to their next destination. This is where courier staff have found everything from cash to ID cards to notes written to grandparents. They often go the extra mile to return missing items to their owners. “Our rule of thumb is if someone found something that was yours, how would you feel about it?” says Lee Evans, who oversees the courier team.

Fortunately, staff are often able to identify the owner. Items that list the person’s name are easy. If there’s no name, it depends. “Usually it’s a bookmark in a book and you can look up the title in the database and return it to the patron’s home library,” says Evans.

It’s occasionally difficult to trace something of value to its rightful owner. The team once found $5 after it had fallen out of a book and held onto it for the longest time, eventually donating the money to a charity during the holidays.

If you know you left something important in a book, contact your library. If library staff can’t find it, they can ask the courier team if the item has turned up at the warehouse.

If you enjoyed this blog post, don’t miss 30 Weird and Wacky Bookmarks Left in Library Books.