‘Bye, Book! Funny things overheard at the library.

One of the sweetest things overheard in the library: children feeding their books into our self check-in machine and calling out a farewell to each one as it is gathered up by the conveyor belts and propelled down the runways into whatever bin it is destined for. Sometimes they specifically name each book: “‘Bye-bye, Pete the Cat!”, but more often, they are all “Book,” the capital letter not merely implied, but reinforced by emphasis.  In the little voices, I can detect notes of wistfulness (that was such a good read!) and excitement (on to the next one!), as well as the usual curiosity and neato! factor that comes with peering through that little gap in the wall and catching our zippy self check-in machine in action. What they can’t see are the huge, knowing smiles on the faces of the team on the other side of the wall, as we wait for the books to drop.


Have you recently read a book so wonderful that you would wistfully drop it into the book chute and say “goodbye”?  (Or, on the other hand, gleefully say “goodbye” to, because it was so awful?).


  1. Yes, I have, Sheryl! Several times. And reading your delightful post makes me wish that children will do that for Myrtle the Purple Turtle, my children’s picture-book that was published in Canada just today. Thank you, Sheryl. You’ve given me something specific to wish for! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.

  2. Yes I’ve said goodbye woefully and gleefully in the past! My most recent woeful goodbye was after finishing fellow blogger Laurie Graves’ book ‘Maya and the Book of Everything’. It is written for young people and is a fantastic read! http://hinterlandspress.com/
    I would love to have heard those little voices as they posted their books!

  3. What a sweet story. When I take books to the thrift store (even the books I don’t like so much) I can be heard whispering ‘goodbye’. 🙂 And it takes a lot of willpower to walk away and leave them in the thrift store.

  4. Clare, thanks so much for mentioning my book! In my youth, there was a library book I loved so much that I hated bringing it back. It was “The Faun and the Woodcutter’s Daughter” by Barbara Leonie Picard. I took out that book over and over.

  5. I now have this lovely image of wide-eyed children imagining a machine sorting their books and replacing them on the library shelves! Yes, I recently read a book I could hardly bear to part with, but it was promised a friend for her holiday reading… Annie Proulx’s latest novel ‘Barkskins’. I recommend it. It has changed me! It was magnificent, depressing, uplifting, and more!

  6. Your words of description (wistful, neato, excitement) are definitely some of the words I use after finishing a good book. Thankfully, awful is not a word I’ve used much (but I have used it!)

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