I started collection bookmarks at the same time I started collecting books. As a new librarian, I had opportunities to attend conferences, book fairs and festivals, book signings, and other events where bookmarks were given away. Our libraries also provided bookmarks to our customers celebrating our summer reading programs, special author visits and other events, such as the Red Dirt Book Festival and Pioneer Library System's 50th anniversary (50 special bookmarks highlighting the progress of the system, such as the year we first reached circulation of 1,000,000 items, the year one of our librarians was selected one of the New York Times Librarian of the Year, the year our system won the American Library Association John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award, and the year one of our branches won the Outstanding Rural Library Award from ALA).
My bookmark collection was much easier to transport home than the books I found myself buying when I traveled and they provided reminders of the accomplishments of our libraries and others across the country in guiding people to the best in reading and information. I found myself looking for bookmarks in museums and other places I visited on vacations and found they served as miniature pieces of art and history.
My collection grew as I received bookmarks as gifts and enjoyed the expression of love they represented. Those that are handmade are the most precious, as well as those produced as commemorative of special days in family and friends' lives.
Now that I'm retired and we have downsized, I find myself "weeding" out some of the books that I carried home from conferences. I no longer have room for 1,000 books (although I have room for thousands on my Nook and my Kindle). I also continue to use my hometown library and use my bookmarks to mark my place.
I'll keep my bookmarks until books are obsolete; that is to say, I won't ever give them up. I don't believe books will ever become obsolete, but if they do, my bookmarks will be even more collectible!