Library book, overdue by 100 years, returned in Minnesota

A library book checked out more than 100 years ago, and never returned, has finally found its way home.

A century overdue, “Famous Composers vol. 2” would have carried a $36,000 fine, library folk at the St. Paul Public Library in Minnesota said after someone returned the book. Bach and other famous classical composers are highlighted in the tome, which surfaced when someone was sorting through their mother’s belongings, the library said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

The checkout slip was dated 1919, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Even if the library hadn’t stopped charging late fees in 2019, the borrower would have been off the hook, forgiven by St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, who joked on X/Twitter Saturday that it would be waived.

The 1902 edition, written by Nathan Haskell Dole, was a tad tattered but still had the original Saint Paul Public Library stamp and back pocket card, library digital coordinator John Larson said.

“There’s been a time or two when something has come back and maybe it has been checked out for 20 or 30 years, but nothing where it looks like it has been out for some 100 years,” Larson said, noting that it was the longest-overdue book he had ever come across in 25 years of working at the library.

Now that the book is back, it will probably stay there, Larson said.

“It has reached a point where it’s not just an old book, it’s an artifact,” Larson told Minnesota Public Radio. “It has a little bit of history to it.”

With News Wire Services

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