I could read at an early age and was very proud to have my own library card (with the number 5542 ;-)), and there were books I borrowed over and over and over again, so I just had to own them as a grown up - and yes, before you ask, sometimes I read one and if it brings up memories and the magic for a little while ... perfect!
Of course the internet was a great help with my search. Just one example. There was that series of books about Davy Crockett that my brothers introduced me to. 16 volumes from which I could quote at that time, so often did I read them. Well, not all of them. I struggled with volume 16 because of Crockett's death and only read that one as an adult, and volume 8 was missing from the library.
This is one of my favorite library stories (bear with me, people, who have heard it a thousand times). I reserved the book when it was not marked missing yet. These were the 70s. I filled out a postcard that was attached to whatever they used at the time to keep track of their books. Then I waited patiently. Until I got an overdue reminder for a book I never even had! I guess this is what kept me being open minded to the fact that even librarians do make mistakes ;-)
Many years later, I put a request on the ISO page of a sales website for used books - and got the chance to buy the whole series from one person which was really a stroke of luck, and the price was okay, too!
My collection grew, but one book was still missing. The problem was that I didn't remember the title or the author. It was a picture book and I had been very small at the time. All I knew was that it was about a doll in a shop, that this doll wore a beautiful dress and that her long lace knickers were peeking out at the bottom. Every, now and then I would try to google the words doll, shop, window, dress, picture book and more, always hoping for a hint among the found pictures.
I had been searching for literally decades when I stumbled upon an article about an archive of 6,000 historical children's books, digitized and free to read online, from the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature. Now the book I was looking for was not from the 19th century, but being reminded of children's books I decided to google once again. I have no idea what I did different this time or if was just lucky or if Google had become tired of my searches, but there it was!
A problem was, however, that I didn't want a new edition and of course I wanted the book in German although the original was in English.
I was lucky again. I found it on a used book site, but there was no picture listed with it and by now I had found that in German there was an edition with a grey cover instead of a picture, and I didn't want that. Next stop - eBay. And there it was. Not cheap, but still affordable, and they even accepted my offer.
And here it is - A Doll For Marie.
It felt almost strange that the search was over - now what will I be looking for next? :-D