The Waverly Council Library took to Twitter to share a note from a patron who returned a copy of Philosophy for Beginners by Richard Osborne…25 YEARS LATE! When they finally returned the book, the patron included a nice handwritten note:
Kirkus Reviews might have called this examination of charms of the past and present that “the information is poorly organized and unevenly detailed,” but someone must have liked it. Or, more than likely, forgotten about it completely.
But forty-one years? Honestly, that’s not the longest overdue library book we’ve seen on Bookstr. Right now 82 years bites the cake, but we’ll add it to the ongoing saga anyway. The good news is that, for all you readers out there with library books crammed into every forgotten crevice of your place, you could definitely be worse. How much worse? Well, it’s possible that this library book was missing for longer than you’ve been alive, so let’s just say BAD.
So here’s the story:
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The Greensboro Public Library received an unexpected surprise in the mail when they received a copy of the book in the mail. Opening it up, it was discovered that the book should have been returned sometime in 1978.
News & Record reports that “[b]ased on the 5 cents-per-day fine (Sundays included) printed on the card sleeve, the overdue fine, not counting inflation, would be about $750.” Could that have been part of the reason the borrower didn’t return it earlier?
Greensboro Library hasn’t given away any information that would help us find the culprit, but if I were them I would just put in the mailbox so I didn’t have to put a return address on them.
(If I were them. In case you’re wondering, I’m not from North Carolina.)
It’s 1966 (not really, but just go with it), Lyndon Johnson is president, Vietnam protests are in full swing, and you’re 13 years old. Walking into your local library, you scan your school’s book shelves until you eye Lewis Gannett’s The Family Book Of Verse.
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It’s a poetry collection, and in the introduction Lewis Gannett explains that the poems were selected based on how they enjoyable they were and how pleasing to the ear they were if read aloud. It’s a book any child could get into – and so you check it out.
Then life happens.
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Now it’s 53 years later and you go downstairs to clean our your basement and—to your amazement—you find Lewis Gannett’s The Family Book Of Verse.
What do you do?
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This is the exact predicament New Jersey Fair Lawn resident Harry Krame found himself in. Guess when Kirkus Reviews said that Lewis Gannett’s The Family Book Of Verse had a selection of poets that “for the most part not only familiar but established favorites which should ensure the longevity of a collection such as this for home libraries” they were right on the money.
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65 years old, Mr. Krame knew he had three options: Forget about it, burn it, or return it.
Well, he couldn’t burn the book. That’s just plain evil, and if you burn a book then the book Gods will come after you—and that’s a fact.
So in reality he had two options: Forget about the book or return it, and at 19,345 days overdue the book’s $2,000 late fee was worth more than the $4.95 it cost when published in 1961.
Know which option he chose?
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Of course he returned the book, setting an example to his family, his town, and everyone else who learns about his story.
I mean, If he didn’t then this would be a really weird article.
Everyone was shocked. NY Daily News writes that Memorial Middle School Vice Principal Dominick Tarquinio “was stunned when the now-65-year-old adult entered the school with something to return”. Luckily he wasn’t speechless, because when he asked the 65-year-old man’s name, Harry Krame knew just what to say: “I told him I can’t give it to him because I was in the witness protection program.”
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Jokes aside, School librarian Susan Murray saw an opportunity. KLEW writes that Ms. Murray “plans to use the book for a display to teach students about returning books”.
Well, now the story has gone viral, let’s hope the whole country learns that lesson.
As for the $2,000 dollar fine? NBC Philadelphia writes that Principal Dominick Tarquinio told them, “the district will let it slide.”
Good things do happen in the world—you just have to make the right decision.