Anyone who uses the Library of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters more than briefly will soon discover that its staff has a thing for page 17. Every book in that excellent library carries a stamp of ownership on that page.
Last night I was reading Frans G. Bengtsson’s 1947 essay collection För nöjes skull. A bit into his piece about Fagertärn, the little lake near Stjernsund whence the red pond liles once came, I found the stamp of the Saltsjöbaden Municipal Library — on page 17.
Is this secret tradition among librarians restricted to Sweden? To libraries of the 1940s and ones of today with long traditions? Dear Reader, please check any library books you have at hand, and if there’s an ownership stamp on page 17, tell us the name and location of the library.
Update 27 March: The page 17 thing must be pretty widespread. Only in the past three hours, at least three people have arrived here after googling “library stamp p. 17″, “why libraries stamp on page 17″ and “book stamp p. 17″. Too bad they aren’t commenting.