The Bookmark of a Reader by Kirsten LeClerc
In my four and a half years as a teacher-librarian, I have discovered a number of items crammed into returned books. Regular bookmarks, of course. The adorable and witty kind that can be purchased at a Scholastic book fair. But those aren’t what interest me the most. I love finding all the things accidentally left behind. The thinking tracks, the doodles, the random notes and breadcrumbs that readers tuck away.
Sometimes bookmarks are personalized for a certain book. Notice the specificity of the yellow bookmark that came back in a copy of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and the lovely drawing of Mo Willem’s Pigeon from The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!. (It actually looks more like Pigeon found a taco. So, Mr. Willems, in case you’re looking for a new idea for another Pigeon book, I’ll just leave this right here…)
Post-it notes are one of my personal favorites. They’re cheap and stick to a page, with the added bonus that they can be written on.
I also love upcycled bookmarks. I found this shiny oval in a returned copy of Jazmin’s Notebook by Nikki Grimes, and turned it over to find that it was actually the pull-off top to a box of tissues.
Sometimes bookmarks evoke a particular memory, like these two that came back to the library recently and reminded me of amazing author visits.
Most of the items left behind in books end up in the recycling bin or trash can, but I do occasionally track students down and return things that might be of personal value: family photos, Pokemon cards, invitations to upcoming birthday parties or certificates from a teacher.
But marking pages isn’t always pretty or cute. I never seem to have bookmarks on hand…they are like socks in the laundry that disappear into some kind of vortex. I am a page creaser. A dog-earer. Apparently I’m in the minority, according to a survey done by Debbie Ohi.
In this new year, I resolve to be better, to break the dog-earing habit. I also hope to find a few of those rare, perfect kind of books: the ones that don’t need a bookmark, because they are too good to put down.
Kirsten LeClerc is a writer and teacher-librarian in Asheville, NC. Find her on Twitter @kirleclerc .
I love this! What a treasure find.
Oh, the horror! Dog ears! One library worker (in a public library more than 70 years ago) told me the worst bookmark she ever saw was a “slab of bacon” in a returned library book. Made me wonder what that person fried up for breakfast…
Oh yuck–bacon! I think the worst thing I’ve ever discovered tucked in a book was a dirty paper plate *shivers* .
When my daughter was first learning to write, she made her own bookmark that said, “REED BOOKS!” She’s almost a teen now, an avid reader, and a much better speller. But that’s a bookmark I’ll never forget. Thanks for the lovely post!
Reblogged this on Let the Balloons Sail Me Away and commented:
I adore Bookmarks ❤
I have bookmarked books, and I have consistently misplaced those bookmarks, which has led to dog earing (but only in my own paperbacks). Now I have found The Solution: BOOKJIGS. This is a thing, a small decorative clamp that goes on the cover of the book, with an attached ribbon to keep your place. I always have multiple books going at once (a book in every room), so I have a whole collection of BOOKJIGS. Love ’em!
I’ve never heard of them! I’ll have to check them out.
Such a fun post! I’m trying to recall any miscellaneous items I used in books as a child…which isn’t to say I’ve stopped using miscellaneous items as bookmarks. It’s just now they are more likely to be envelopes or bills. 😉
I don’t think I turn down pages of stories I read although I do it all the time with holiday brochures and catalogues. I have book marks printed for all the books I write and give them away free at talks and book fairs. I tend to pick up advertising book marks and use them in the novels I get from the library although I do have a silver bookmark shaped like a crook which looks so good I don’t use it!
I love this! When I was little I had a huge bookmark collection, because I would always lose them:) ❤
I used to teach sixth grade ELA and now work in the youth services department at a public library. I dog ear pages all of the time, even library books. I’m facinated when I find other dog eared pages to see where others stop and start back up their reading!
Such a fun post! As a child, I would mark up my personal books to make them look like library books. I would draw a grid box on the inside cover, then write in my check-in and check-out dates and “room #” : )
I am also part of the minority- dog ear-er for life!
At my work we have seen all types of bookmarks including a $100 note and I rasher of bacon!
I LOVE finding notes in books I check out! And I like to put sticky notes in books I return. I only dogear books I own. 📚💚📚💚📚💚📚💚📚💚📚💚📚💚📚💚📚💚📚💚📚💚📚💚
Reblogged this on Notes from An Alien and commented:
As we approach the end of another year—a re-blog from the beginning of the year…
btw, do you dog-ear books from the library…?