Jan Jacobs has loved shells as long as she can remember.
The Farmington Hills resident said she became interested in them as a child when someone gave her a "pre-fab" collection as a gift. At age 12, she won a seashell contest while in Florida, because she was able to identify different types of shells.
"I already knew what I was looking for," she said.
Some of the shells in Jacobs' collection were on display in August at the . She said librarian Jessica Enget helped create the Farmington branch display, pairing shells with books about them.
The idea, Jacobs said, was to show people more about the kinds of shells they may have picked up while on vacation. "That's what made it interesting," she said.
Most of the displayed shells came from Florida's Sanibel Island, one of the top five shelling beaches in the world.
"If you're a shell freak, that's where you go, and I'm a shell freak," she said. "I started going when I was 40, and I've been there three or four times."
For the library exhibit, she chose cockles with bright colors, common disc shells, fighting conch shells and a cone-shaped terebra maculata mollusk shell, given to her by a baby-sitter when she was a child. A few shells with sentimental value stayed home; one belonged to a cousin who passed away, and her uncle brought the other home from New Guinea after World War II.
As someone who works in the field of medical billing, Jacobs likened her partnership with the library to a "coordination of benefits".
"I'm really happy with the way it turned out," she said.
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