Where’d You Go?

by Stacey


Library customers come and go.  A frequent conversation among staff is “Remember so and so”. Often there is a give and take with customers for years and one day you realize you haven’t seen them in a while. Where did they go?

The cat who turned on and off

We see so many people it is difficult to remember everyone’s name. We often identify people by their reading preferences.

I will say,”You know who I haven’t seen in a long time? The woman who only reads mysteries with cats, not dogs, just cats.”

She particularly loved Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who . . . series.

Sometimes the answer is as simple as I got a Kindle. I saw one woman in the local QFC, we said hello and she explained she still uses the library, only now she downloads all her books from Overdrive.

The barefoot bandit : the true tale of Colton Harris-Moore, new American outlaw

Years ago someone mentioned we hadn’t seen a certain young man who came in regularly to use the computers. He was always pleasant and quiet. Well, as it turns out he was too busy robbing homes on Camano Island to use the library. Yes, the young man was Colton Harris Moore, the “Barefoot Bandit.”

Sadly, sometimes they really are gone. We may become aware of their absence reading the local paper or when a relative calls to cancel a library card.  Recently, a woman stopped by to let the staff know her husband had passed away and he had requested all his World War II books be donated to the Stanwood Library book sale.

The most thrilling story occurred when a friend emailed me a Huffington Post article entitled “My Library Card to Redemption.” The library card refers to the Stanwood Library.


The author of the article is Joshua Safran, author of Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid. He lived in and around the Stanwood/Camano area from 1986-1993. After many conversations it was arranged for Joshua to speak in town about his book and local experiences. Over 180 people showed up for an evening with Joshua.

Young people leave town for college and jobs. Some return with families of their own.

This scenario is often repeated.”Have you ever had a library card in Snohomish or Island County?such

“Yes, but years ago. I used to come here for storytime and now I am taking my child and I am so thrilled Mrs. Jones is still doing storytime.”

One dad commented, “Mrs. Jones read There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon just like when I was a boy”.

Happily, sometimes they come back to tell us where they have been and the stories are inspiring.

One of our favorite homeschool families lives near Concrete and they used Stanwood as their home base. The family is gluten free and decided there was a niche to be filled. The gluten free baking and cooking books began rolling in. Lucky us! They used the Stanwood staff as taste-test guinea pigs.

Baked Fresh Daily

Well, they started the 5b’s Bakery and the restaurant became so successful we didn’t see the Beals family for two years.  Recently, the Beals stopped by to inform us they will be opening a second location and expanding the menu. We are anxiously awaiting the samples.

Have you ever taken time away from the library? What brought you back?

Tags: , , , ,


2 responses to “Where’d You Go?”

  1. Melissa says:

    It kind of makes me wonder how people remember me when they haven’t seen me in awhile…..

Leave a reply (comments are moderated before posting)