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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Electronic Bread Crumbs

This post might amuse readers who regularly use the public library. Others? Depends on your interest in following or leaving trails. Anyone prone to any degree of paranoia, skip this one.

For almost four years, a significant trail of electronic bread crumbs has been left in books I've borrowed from the public libraries in my county. Instead of discarding the computer slips issued by each library, I've made a point of leaving them in the returned books. Yes, my name is on the slips but so what? There is no other revealing information on there. And in the spirit of a kind of secret society of readers, I've paid attention to the names of others who've left their slips; maybe I'll run across the name of someone familiar to me. Far fetched you say?  Not so fast.

Several months ago, I had a long conversation with a reader new to the area who had left a phone number at my town library. This person had asked the librarians about local book clubs, they thought of my involvement with several and then passed the phone number onto me. Although the conversation was pleasant, I'd forgotten it had ever happened until today. Here is the paraphrased phone message:

"Hi Pat, you probably don't remember me but we talked some time back when you told me about local book clubs. I joined one a few months ago and after borrowing this month's book, I noticed a computer slip still in it with your name. Would you like to come to the meeting?"

Like my brother-in-law says all the time - "you just can't make up this stuff!"  

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