Monday, March 5, 2012

Bookmarks and Facebook. Hahahaha.

Emptying the library's bookdrop can be one of the best times of the day because we never know what we might find in there. Books, of course, along with magazines, DVDs, and CDs, but we often find mysteries, things not commonly associated with books and libraries, and some of those things are pretty funny.

My first experience with peculiar bookdrop items happened within weeks of my employment. I had rolled the bin into the building and was nearly finished emptying it when a small movement caught my eye. I cautiously moved the remaining contents to one side and discovered several tiny crabs hiding in the cushiony folds of the bin. We're one block from the beach so their origin was no mystery, but we were bemused by their presence so far from home (far, that is, for a traveling crab.) Someone had clearly helped them into the bin. Crabs appeared for several more days, then stopped, no doubt due to the perpetrator tiring of the joke.

I've mentioned bookdrop contents before, like the $721 cash discovered inside a book about being more organized. People will use anything for a bookmark, apparently, and some of those bookmarks are remarkable. Ask anyone who has processed a bookdrop. They'll tell you of wondrous and puzzling bookmarks - a butter knife, socks, payroll checks, drill bits, organic matter both identifiable and disconcerting. One of the funniest this week was discovered by a librarian at another branch:

The book: "What's Happening To Me? A Book For Boys."

She posted the photo on her facebook page and, of course, I had to share it here. This entry has moved into the #1 slot on our list of Notable Bookmarks, dislodging the enormous well-pressed marijuana leaf that we found several months ago inside a book for boys on teen-age parenthood.

Speaking of facebook, I had a lesson in just how closely social media keeps track of my interests. I was unusually lethargic on Saturday, most likely a response to the last few very busy weeks. Ken was at work and I had no commitments so I watched the entire Neverwhere series at one sitting, grazed the pantry and fridge, and finished reading a couple of books. I posted this status on my facebook page near the end of the day:

"I was a total slug today. And it was glorious."

Within minutes, the advertisement column on the right displayed an ad for "#1 Snail Cream." It extolled the virtues of the cream with assurances that it contained "86% Helix Aspersa Snail secretion filtrate." I wasn't sure what disturbed me more about this, the active ingredient in the skin cream or the fact that facebook had so quickly picked up on the keyword "slug." The ad was completely out of context, of course (the joke's on you, facebook advertisers!) but still.

I logged into facebook the next day and there in the adverts was an invitation to purchase a SlugBell, "the world's best slug and snail control device." I mentioned this in a new status and fb friends instantly commented, including Who says they're not listening???

I'm tempted to post an odd facebook status just to see what ad might show up. I'll let you know what happens.

Overheard on Twitter: Today I got a UCLA library card. They let me take home a book that the Library of Congress only let me look at in a room full of cameras.

Until next time.

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