Books

Cracking the secret library code of elderly ladies

A Dundee librarian took to Twitter to share the mysterious tale of the Page 7 Vandal

It was a normal day at Charleston Library when library assistant Georgia Grainger first uncovered the mystery of the Page 7 Vandal.

An elderly lady approached her to check out some new books and pointed out something a bit unusual, an underline on the seventh page of certain books – wartime romances, in particular.

Georgia took to Twitter to share the story she dubbed the Mystery of the Page 7 Vandal.

https://twitter.com/green_grainger/status/981232100740419584

“As someone with a slightly overactive imagination who probably watches too many dramatic television shows, I started thinking of all sorts of possible explanations – a serial killer, a spy ring, a secret romance.” the Dundee based librarian told The Big Issue.

“The older woman who noticed the marks seemed nonplussed and happily went on her way with some more romance novels, but I was sat wondering what was going on in our wee library!”

But the Mystery of the Page 7 Vandal was soon solved after a quick investigation with the head librarian.

“I just had to ask her if she knew what it was. She laughed and told me that a lot of the older customers use distinctive marks on books – initials on a back page, dots in certain places, or lines under certain page numbers – to record which books they’ve already read, from the days before our systems were all automated and would let us know if the customer had borrowed the book before.”

When Georgia took to Twitter to share her tale she was flooded with responses from librarians and readers the world over sharing their own stories of elderly vandals.

https://twitter.com/jayd3mari3/status/981807146621956096

https://twitter.com/mindyhoyden/status/981500602604650497

“Apparently it’s very common in public libraries and most librarians are just totally used to it – some even put specific pages in the back of books to encourage readers to put their marks there rather than throughout the book.

“Although we don’t exactly endorse patrons drawing on books, I do think the evidence of previous readers and the previous life of the books is part of the charm,” Georgia said.

At the Big Issue we have championed the power of the local library and believe that better literacy means better futures.

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