Sunday, February 19, 2012

LEFT INSIDE: Library Date Due Slips

Here's a spin-off on my post of yesterday where I discussed my shock at learning the main branch of the Chicago Public Library likes to pulp unwanted books.  Usually library discards get sold or donated and below is evidence of such books going on to live longer lives now that they have been retired from circulation.

While I tend to avoid buying ex-library copies sometimes a title is so rare or the edition unblievably scarce that I end up giving in and purchasing an ex-library copy.  Most of the time I will do this if it has a DJ and the DJ survived harmful damage unlike the books themselves which are often battered, dogeared, and have numerous food stains and other spillage showing the book's history of multiple careless borrowers.

Most of these ex-lib copies tend to be stripped of all the library tell-tale markings like old card pockets and date due slips prior to being sold. Some, however, escape this denuding process before being sold or perhaps "permanently borrowed" by new owners.

Below are scans of several date due cards for some of the ex-library books I've owned over the years. For a change you will definitely know what book these were left inside. I've marked all of them in the captions. Interesting to see how popular these books were when they were first sitting on the shelves all those decades ago.

From a copy of Death of Jezebel by Christianna Brand
(purchased at a Milwaukee used book store in 2009)

From Vintage Murder (UK edition) by Ngaio Marsh
(purchased at the Newberry Library Book Fair several years ago)
The House Party Murders by Edgar Allan Poe, Jr.
(purchased from a dealer located in British Columbia)


  1. John, this is very valuable data. I collect this when I can for my own work, in order to try to get some idea how many people actually were reading these given titles through libraries.

  2. I vaguely recall you talking about this in a Mystery*File post last year - or some other blog. If I ever come across any more of these I'll be sure to save them. I used to throw them out, but when they come from books by well known writers I usually save them. I only saved the one from THE HOUSE PARTY MURDERS because the author is so unique - he's a descendant of Poe. Would you like me to send them to you? I'd be glad to.