Fiction: Off the Shelf

Memos from Yvonne Kulas, as provided by Kathryn Yelinek
Art by America Jones

To all staff, Abbottsville Public Library

Subject: September missing books list

  1. Writing Your Perfect Online Dating Profile by Mindi Pepperberg. 306.7302 P294W
    Date missing: 9/27/2017

Note: Only one book reported missing this month!


To all staff, Abbottsville Public Library

Subject: October missing books list

  1. Smokin’: Makeup Tips for Women of a Certain Age by Allegra May McBride. 646.72 M772S
    Date missing: 10/10/2017
  2. Dating the Dark Side: True Stories of Bad Boys Turned Mr. Right by Brook Santos. 646.7708 S59D
    Date missing: 10/12/2017
  3. May-December: The Science Behind Why Older Men Date Younger Women by Jill Russo, Ph.D. 306.7308 R98M
    Date missing: 10/12/2017

Note: Our numbers are up this month, folks. Since evenings have been slow, I’ve asked Helen to do a thorough search to see if the books are simply misshelved.  While she does this, please keep an eye out for patrons who might deliberately misshelve books to make their own personal stashes.


To all staff, Abbottsville Public Library

Subject: November missing books list

  1. Candlelight Dinners for Two by Hunter Lynn Wellington. 641.561 W872C
    Date missing: 11/2/2017
  2. Virginia After Dark: Excursions for Starry-Eyed Couples by Jennifer Florey. 917.5504 F819V
    Date missing: 11/2/2017
  3. Garlic Be Gone: Recipes for the Allium Averse by Vincenzo Francatelli. 641.6526 F738G
    Date missing: 11/20/2017
  4. Treatment for Chronic Anemia by Christofer Paine. 615.85 P139Q
    Date missing: 11/20/2017
  5. A Field Guide to Bats of the World by Leland Whitenight. 599.4 WH25B
    Date missing: 11/29/2017

Note: I’m not the only one sensing a theme here. The teen who reported these missing is quite eager to meet a fellow fan, but I’m wondering if someone’s playing a joke on us. Vampires, really? Because Helen’s taking on some of Sanjay’s duties while he’s on leave, the search is on hold for now. So, please keep an eye out for suspicious patrons. And check all bags, purses, etc., if the alarm goes off.


I’m not the only one sensing a theme here. The teen who reported these missing is quite eager to meet a fellow fan, but I’m wondering if someone’s playing a joke on us. Vampires, really?

To all staff, Abbottsville Public Library

Subject: December missing books list

  1. 30 Days to Your Dream Wedding by Kay Parks. 392.5 P57D
    Date: 12/6/2017
  2. Romania for Lovers by Alexandru Croitoru. 914.9804 C346R
    Date: 12/8/2017

Note: The September and October missing books are mysteriously back on the shelves. Thank you, Helen, for pointing them out. (And, Sanjay, glad you’re back on your feet!) Still, folks, these books aren’t relocating themselves, and contrary to what some are implying, we have no reason to suspect our eager teen reader. Since we can’t afford to install cameras, make a note of any patrons lingering in the 306.87(advice on in-laws) section.


To all staff, Abbottsville Public Library

January missing books list

–no items–

Note: No missing books! And, as you may know, all books missing since November have been found. On a related note, Helen overnighted her letter of resignation, so we can post the job ad for the Evening Circulation Desk Supervisor position tomorrow. If you feel inclined to wish her well on her elopement, she says you can send cards via the US embassy in Bucharest. She also says she kept the books at her desk rather than checking them out because she feared what we’d think about her romantic choices if we saw what she was reading. Really, folks, must I remind you? Under no circumstances (even tall, dark, and mysterious ones) may staff keep books at their desks without checking them out. Under no circumstances should staff look to see what their colleagues have checked out. And most importantly, under no circumstances should you judge a person–patron or staff–based on the covers of their books.

Yvonne Kulas is proud of being a librarian, which means she loves to read, wears glasses, owns too many cardigans, and shares her life with a plethora of cats. In fact, only three of those things are true. She is delighted to serve the Abbottsville community and can often be found exploring the many walking trails in the area.

Kathryn Yelinek lives in Pennsylvania, where she works as a librarian. She is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Metaphorosis, and Deep Magic, among others. Visit her online at

America is an illustrator and comic artist with a passion for neon colors and queer culture. Catch them being antisocial on social media @thehauntedboy.

“Off the Shelf” is © 2019 Kathryn Yelinek
Art accompanying story is © 2019 America Jones

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