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Librarian is sharing the treasure trove of items she's discovered in returned books

Who knew books could be filled with such sweet trinkets?

Librarian is sharing the treasure trove of items she's discovered in returned books
Photo by Rabie Madaci on Unsplash

Librarian finds lost treasures in library books.

Here at Upworthy, we try to find stories that will warm your heart so when NPR shared about a lucky librarian, we had to share. Sometimes, looking through forgotten things can be fun, especially when they give you a glimpse into someone else's life. Even the smallest things can feel like a treasure. In California, an Oakland Public Library librarian, Sharon McKellar, has been collecting things she has found left behind in books people return.


Who would've thought that there could be so many things left behind inside a library book? Sure, you can imagine the obvious like a bookmark or a Post-it note holding the reader's place, but this librarian has found some pretty cool things. Some things are unique, while others are things like tags or receipts—most likely things used to bookmark the page for later reading. But the collection is something that will give your heart a little smile and she has it all in one place for people to explore. Since McKellar's collection started to grow, she started a page on the library website just to display her treasures so their owners could claim them should they want them back.

Great Patient | Oakland Public Library.

oaklandlibrary.org

It's hard to imagine that people would want most of the things in the collection. Not sure what someone would do with a good dental report from a few years ago or an old Southwest luggage tag. But among the finds there are a few items that people would find priceless, like old family photos and little love notes.

McKellar told NPR that she had been collecting things from library books for a while, but about 10 years ago she figured other people may also find the items interesting. That's when she started adding images of the found items to the library's website. Other Oakland librarians send things they've found in books to McKellar, who then scans them and uploads them to the website. When speaking to NPR, she said, "I had always collected little things I'd found in library books and I knew other people did that too," McKellar said. "So that was how it started. It was pretty simple, I was inspired by a magazine called Found Magazine."

Couple at Drakes Brewing Co.

Couple at Drakes Brewing Company.

oaklandlibrary.org

There are now more than 350 items in the archive, according to NPR, and most remain unclaimed. There's no indication of what will become of the collection in the future or if McKellar will continue to collect until she needs to take out a storage unit. Either way, these little finds are a fun and wholesome glimpse into the lives of strangers.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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