From Book Riot: Bacon Bookmarks and other tales:
This one’s a horror story: one patron walked out with a particular book, then walked back in in minutes to open up the book and show us where a previous patron had—and to this day I cannot imagine why—layered three pieces of cooked bacon in the very middle of the fairly large book, now calcified and half-moldy and pressed flat by the weight. …
Wow. But it could have been worse:
We had a patron return five DVDs and a few books to the library covered in sticky goo and absolutely reeking. This is fairly common for us, so staff took them in the back with bleach wipes and and the Stinky Book Box to see if we could salvage them. It wasn’t until the man was leaving that he mentioned that he had just gotten back from a fishing trip. Upon further (very kind and understanding) questioning, we discovered that he put the items in an empty cooler to keep them safe from the elements on his fishing trip, forgot they were in there, loaded his fish into the cooler, forgot the fish were in there, and left the cooler in the car for a week. Our items were covered in rotting fish guts.
You know, I did actually work at a library when I was a teenager. I even repaired a largish number of books. But I don’t recall that we had a Stinky Book Box, and we certainly never saw any books come back in remotely covered-with-rotting-fish-guts condition. I didn’t realize at the time that our library patrons were so much wiser, kinder, and more sensible than, apparently, those at other libraries. I hereby devote a moment of silent appreciation to all those patrons who did not do awful, disgusting things to books before bringing them back to the library.