Century-overdue library book is finally returned in Minnesota

by Gabriel Martinez
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Centennial Library Book Return

A library volume, titled “Famous Composers,” encompassing the works of renowned figures such as Bach and Mozart, has been recovered in St. Paul, Minnesota, after languishing overdue for over a century. The remarkable return of this tome occurred during the process of sifting through a relative’s possessions. According to reports from Minnesota Public Radio, the library’s checkout slip from the St. Paul Public Library indicates that it was last borrowed in the year 1919.

In a lighthearted tweet on Saturday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter quipped that no fines would be imposed on the tardy return. This leniency aligns with a trend seen in numerous libraries nationwide, which ceased imposing late fees in 2019.

The future destiny of this century-old book remains uncertain. John Larson, the digital library coordinator for the St. Paul Public Library, expressed doubts about its reintroduction into circulation due to its fragile state. Nevertheless, he anticipated that the library would preserve it as an artifact with historical significance.

Larson, drawing upon his 25 years of service to the library, remarked that this particular return marked a unique occurrence in his career. While there have been instances of books being returned after prolonged periods, with some having been checked out for two or three decades, this instance stands out as a testament to the passage of a century or more since its last checkout.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Centennial Library Book Return

Q: What is the title of the century-overdue library book found in St. Paul, Minnesota?

A: The title of the library book is “Famous Composers,” featuring notable figures like Bach and Mozart.

Q: When was the last time the book was borrowed from the St. Paul Public Library?

A: The book’s checkout slip indicates that it was last borrowed in the year 1919.

Q: Did the library impose any fines for the book being overdue for more than a century?

A: No, there were no fines imposed on the overdue book. St. Paul, like many libraries, stopped charging late fees in 2019.

Q: What is the future of the century-old book now that it has been returned?

A: The future of the book is uncertain. Due to its delicate condition, it’s unlikely to be reintroduced into circulation. Instead, the library is expected to preserve it as an artifact with historical significance.

Q: Has the library coordinator encountered any similar instances of such long-overdue book returns in the past?

A: In his 25 years of working for the library, the digital library coordinator, John Larson, noted that this return is the oldest book he has ever seen returned. While there have been books returned after prolonged periods, none had been checked out for some 100 years like this one.

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