On Bibliorts

Thursday, August 23, 2007
So the whole posting-patterns-for-bookmarks thing got me thinking about all the stories I had heard about weird things people leave in bookmarks. And, that made me think - wait, I'm supposed to post librarianish content occasionally! Perfect!

I have to admit that the weirdest thing I ever found in a book that was returned to me was a leaf. It was fall, so the leaf was pretty dry. I've also found mail, photos (not as many any more), receipts, post its. Most of this stuff is paper, so it's not so horrible. However, the all-time most popular (and possibly fake) bibliort is a slice of bacon. Note: a bibliort is an item not originally designed to mark one's place in a book that is being used for that purpose.

So I did a Google search for "bacon bookmark" and found the BiblioBuffet Website, which has a lovely overview of food as used in marking one's reading position. This page has images of two food-related "please use a bookmark" bookmarks from the British Library, and some decent links, of which my favorite is to Strange Items Found in Books at Hypatia's Library Tales.

But of course as a librarian I am a total fan of the Unshelved cartoon. Everything that has ever happened to me at the reference desk has also happened in that strip - even though I'm in academic libraries and it's set in the Mallville Public Library - but it's much funnier when it happens to Dewey and co. The May 31, 2003 strip is the appropriate one for today...

To top off this discussion, though, I have to refer to The Bookmark Book. This is a totally not-funny collection of copyright-free bookmarks appropriate for all ages. I can't honestly think of a way to suck all the joy out of bookmarks more... and yet, I want it!


  • Knitty_Prof

    I have wild moments when I think of Derrida's "to whom it may concern" notion of organization, of putting things in order, and sending out mail addressed "to whom it may concern"...I often think about how the library might be if we were to just put things anywhere. You could just go in there and root around for hours on end to see what you might find, and then after you returned your books, you could shelve them yourself anywhere you might want to put them. Are you nervous yet????

  • KT

    Yes, but if we tagged all of our books with RFIDs, it wouldn't matter where they were physically, since we could just wander around with a locator until the book started blinking at us... and yes, this type of thing exists! See the MIT Media Lab's work - Patti Maes gave a great talk at the ASIST conference in 2005... of course, it did give rise to jokes about uses in medicine: (computer voice says to intern) "Do you see the spleen? Look around for... the spleen." Ok, inside joke. Sorry!

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