Thursday, August 4, 2011


Life and its obligations have kept me away (not to mention my laptop is rejecting Firefox lately and explorer does not want to play nice with gmail and blogger), but I've managed to scribble down things here and there on post-its or scrap paper that I can cobble into a post later.

Today I had no such need to dig through my notes as the library gods hand-delivered some weirdness into my inbox this morning:

A couple days ago I came to work to find an address book on our main desk. At night, after we close and the janitorial staff cleans up, they will place any items they find on the desk so that in the morning we can figure out what to do with it (usually it goes in the lost and found bin or the trash). This address book was slightly beat up, the outer snap closure was missing and it was being held together by a large rubber band. There was nothing inside that had the owner’s contact information, however there were two bills folded in the front that were addressed to the same person. Assuming this to be the owner of the address book, I looked them up in our system to see if they had a card. They had a card, but no phone number listed, just home address and email. So I sent an email:

To: Patron

Hello Patron X,
An address book that may belong to you was found at the library. If it is yours, please go to the front desk, describe it for them and they will retrieve it for you from lost and found.

Your Librarian.

A few hours later I got an email back:

Dear Librarian:
Thank you so much for finding my address book!!! I have been looking for it everywhere and thought it was gone! I will come by later and pick it up.

Patron X

I considered this to be the end of the transaction. I emptied my inbox of our correspondence, assumed they picked up their address book, and promptly forgot about the whole thing. Until today.

I was befuddled. Who?

The email address seemed strangely familiar. Could it be one of the volunteers I manage? I cut and pasted the email address into the search box function and clicked on the little spyglass.

Two emails were found, both in my trash folder – the exchange between me and the address book patron.

The hell?
Not only did I not know Patron X personally, I had never even met them, and had not been around whenever they came to get the address book. I would have no way of picking Patron X out of a police lineup.

Like the former junior high school bully sending me a friend request on Facebook, this involved the same level of confusion, but with a side order of creepy.


  1. I get this kind of email all the time. It's one of the reasons I hate when a website pops up the "Invite all your friends" option. What it really means is "Invite anyone you have ever sent or received an email from." On my last day at the library I may just run down my contact list and tell an elaborate story about a rich librarian prince that just needs a little money...

  2. I've made this mistake -- trying to set up a LinkedIn account early in the morning while still a little groggy, I accidentally invited everyone in my Gmail contacts list, including a lot of posters from digest lists.

  3. Oh, well now I don't feel so special anymore!