100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Fifteen Dollars: A Wholesome Library Story

Near the end of last school year, a student came up to the circ desk holding a ten dollar bill and a five dollar bill.

“I found this in my book.” he said.

Kids find all sorts of stuff in books: most often old bookmarks, but I’ve seen photos, drawings, random papers, even – shudder – bandages. But fifteen dollars was unusual.

We thanked him for his honesty and got to work on the mystery: who left fifteen bucks in a book?

Leslie, my collegue in the library, and I got to work. We started with the book where the money was found. Who had checked it out last?

We discovered that it hadn’t been off the shelf in years. The last student to check out the book had long since left our K-3rd grade school.

So we went to the phone book. Yes, the phone book. We looked up the student name and found a number listed.

Leslie called and an older woman picked up. It was the student’s grandmother.

Leslie explained the $15, and asked if there was an address where we could send it.

The grandmother explained that the student was a senior in high school, and was headed to college in the fall.

We sent the money back, eight years after it was lost.

Maybe he can use it for some snacks at college. Or a nice paperback to read in the dorm?

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

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