Blogger Lisa Taylor

Librarian currency

Librarian “Currency”

pile of cash
Image credit:

No, not this.  No, not “relevancy” or “state of currentness” either.

I’m talking about items that are sometimes more precious than cash and harder to come by—librarian currency—traded for goodwill, future favors, or goods of equal value.

Here are some items that pass for currency in my library:

  • Oatmeal boxes: Useful for drums, tubes, castle turrets and more,  they’re an invaluable resource, and trade well in the children’s librarian barter system
oatmeal box
Photo credit: L. Taylor
  •  Toilet paper tubes: The “penny” of the YS currency system,  useful but low-ranking
Photo credit: L. Taylor
  • Lego ®: Need a program in a hurry?  Better borrow some!
Image credit:
  • Cans – hey, you never know
Photo credit: Lisa Ferrara
Photo credit: Lisa Ferrara
  • And these little creepy heads?  Well, I’m not quite sure what they traded for, but someone took them!
Photo credit: Lisa Ferrara
Photo credit: Lisa Ferrara

So, what items are in your barter system?  Share yours – the curiouser, the better. 🙂


  1. Jenni

    * Pinecones, which I think is weird since there are about a million on the ground at my apartment complex. I’m rich by library standards, if I could be bothered to collect my treasure

    * Markers that still work

    * Plastic tablecloths. People hoard these like they’ll never be able to find another one. I know a person who WASHES the dollar-store variety after each use and carefully folds them and sticks them in her secret stash.

    and the greatest gift of all

    * tape dispensers. I wish I had a picture of it, but one of my coworkers has a line of eight of them on her desk, and she KNOWS when you take one, even if you’re using it for “just a minute.”

  2. Lisa

    Pinecones – yes! They’re popular here, too. And shhh…believe it or not, I have a box of acorns under my desk. (I’m supposed to be saving less stuff!) I’ve never known anyone to collect tape dispensers – would love to know what that’s all about. 😉

  3. Julie

    I’ve been having nightmares about that new toilet paper ad for toilet paper with no tubes! What would we ever do if all the TP tubes disappeared? I think the staff here gets a kick out of the annual call for recycables that we put out for summer programs.

    Though I think our best recycled item was the trunk of a Christmas tree for a Maypole.

    1. Lisa

      I’ll bet the Maypole was a beauty! I wish I had that kind of room. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.