Lynn Public Library (Owen O'Rourke)
Local Government and Politics, News

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction at the local library

A couple of local libraries have had some bizarre experiences with their patrons.

With Swampscott located so close to Salem, it may not be surprising that a witch and warlock may pay the library a visit.

"We had a witch and warlock who used to come and use the library all the time and they edited all of our Salem witchcraft books," Swampscott Public Library director Alyce Deveau said.

The pair wrote in the books to correct everything that they thought was wrong historically. She said everything was written in pencil, so luckily, it could be erased.

In the library's basement, there are a whole stack of art books, and one time, someone covered all of the pictures of nudes in those books.

Deveau said people tend to leave behind their personal belongings, including glasses, licenses and even false teeth.

She said in one instance, the library had false teeth at their front desk for about a month -- staff was waiting for someone to come get them, but no one ever did. In an attempt to find the owner, library staff called police, who asked what could they possibly do.

"After a month, we just tossed them," Deveau said.

Another time, someone returned a book with a piece of glass inside that they had been using as a bookmark.

"We can track down who had the book and we did call them and asked them to please use something else as a bookmark because it was dangerous," Deveau said.

The Lynn Public Library has also had some interesting patron experiences, according to chief librarian Theresa Hurley.

Recently, Hurley said a woman was getting aggravated because the color copy machine wasn't working, but she was actually trying to copy a black and white document.

Hurley said there's a Wi-Fi table in the library where people are able to plug in their tablets or laptops, but some people have used the outlets for different purposes.

One woman had to be asked to not flat iron her hair in that area.

Another time, Hurley said someone came in and tried to plug a desktop computer and monitor at the Wi-Fi station. In a different instance, a person brought in a printer to keep from paying to use the library's printers. In both instances, the people were told they couldn't use their machinery there.

"The plug-in table is for tablets or laptops, not for flat irons or desktops," Hurley said.

Hurley said a woman called one time to check on her account and gave her library card number, which didn't sound familiar. It turns out, the woman thought she was calling the Lynn, Ind., library.

What happens often, she said, is that people will be looking for a book they read when they were children, but will only give obscure descriptions such as it having a blue cover and being about a dog. At one point, Hurley said the library made a display of just blue books or a certain color.

But these bizarre library patron stories are not the norm, Deveau said.

"We have the greatest patrons," she said. "Those quirky ones are the oddity."

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