Century-overdue library book is finally returned in Minnesota

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By usawebstories


St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter says that there would be no fine.

ByThe Associated Press

November 18, 2023, 1:38 PM

In a photo provided by the St. Paul Public Library is a book, “Famous Composers,” that was recently returned to the library in St. Paul, Minn. The tome turned up while someone was sorting through a relative’s belongings. The St. Paul Public Library checkout slip shows it was last borrowed in 1919, Minnesota Public Radio reports. (Claire Huber/St. Paul Public Library via AP)

The Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A library book that is more than a century overdue was finally returned in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Titled “Famous Composers” and featuring the likes of Bach and Mozart, the tome turned up while someone was sorting through a relative’s belongings. The St. Paul Public Library checkout slip shows it was last borrowed in 1919, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter joked in a tweet on Saturday that there would be no fine. The library, like many across the country, stopped charging late fees in 2019.

The future of the book is unsure. John Larson, the St. Paul Public Library’s digital library coordinator, said he doubted it will go back into circulation because of its delicate condition, but expected the library to hang onto it.

“It has reached a point where it’s not just an old book, it’s an artifact. It has a little bit of history to it,” he said.

Larson said in his 25 years working for the library it was the oldest book he ever saw returned.

“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,” he said.



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