Family pictures. Tax papers. Computer games. Those are just some of the odd items staff members from the Smyrna Public Library tend to find stuffed in the pages of books donated to the library. However, none of these items come anywhere close to the surprise found in a donated book last week.
Smyrna Library Director Bev Hirt said the staff was going through a box of donated books the night of Dec. 3 when suspected marijuana leaves were found in a book about plants.
"This is the first time I've seen anything like this and we've seen some strange things, but not this," Hirt said.
Hirt said at first her staff wasn't completely sure if the leaves were marijuana; she thought marijuana had five leaves while this one had seven. So Hirt asked her husband, who is a retired Dover police officer and he confirmed.
Since there were children in the library, Hirt decided to lock up the book with a plan to go to Smyrna Police the following morning. She didn't want to cause a scene at the library.
"We took it into police the next morning," Hirt said. "We couldn't just throw it in the trash because that's not protocol. Whenever we find drugs, the protocol is to call the police."
Lt. Norman Wood said later in the week that all the police department could do was take possession of the leaves and destroy them since there's no way of knowing who made the donation.
Hirt said the book was in a box of donations dropped off earlier Dec. 3, but she doesn't know who made the donation. When donations are made at a busy time, Hirt said the donations are just put aside. However, she did say it looked as if the leaves had been pressed in the book for quite some time as the leaves were dry and fragile.
While Hirt got a laugh out of the donation, she said the donation could be used as a cautionary tale.
"We find lots of things people leave in books," Hirt said.
From using family photos as bookmarks to old checks, Hirt has seen it all. If the library staff can find a name, they'll even try to return the found goods.
However, Hirt noted that a lot of people put books out during yard sales and she suggests looking through books before doing so. If personal information such as that on a tax paper is left in a book that's sold, Hirt said this is an easy way to be a victim of identity theft.
With that said, Hirt still thinks the whole ordeal is funny.
"We don't know who did this but the person who did it, they'll see this and get a laugh out of it," Hirt said.
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.