Overdue book returned to Washington state library after 81 years

ABERDEEN, Wash. — This book was overdue -- way overdue.

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A book was returned to a Washington state library on Monday, 81 years after it was checked out, KIRO-TV reported.

According to a Facebook post by the Timberland Regional Library in the western Washington city of Aberdeen, “The Bounty Trilogy,” by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, was due on March 30, 1942.

The library book was recently found in a storage unit and was returned to the library, where staffers were amazed by the relic.

According to the library, overdue fines accrued at the rate of 2 cents a day, with the exception of Sundays and holidays. If the fine had been enforced, the borrower would have racked up fines of at least $484.80.

The reader apparently was not impressed with the book. A note in the back of the book, located above the flap where librarians stamp the due date, read that “I wouldn’t read this book if I was paid to,” KIRO reported.

Library officials said the fines were eliminated when the pandemic hit the country.

The man who checked it out died in 2001 and was a graduate of Aberdeen High School, according to the television station.

For context, the newspaper headlines in Washington on March 30, 1942, noted the death of the state’s last surviving Civil War veteran residing at the Washington State Veterans Home in Retsil, 92-year-old William Ellingsworth. The veteran served with Company B in the 12th Missouri Cavalry, according to the Kitsap Sun.

The Timberland staff urged people to return overdue books, adding there would be no fines or any judgments made.

“If you have an overdue book collecting dust -- return it to the library,” staffers wrote on Facebook. “We’ll take it back, and the bounty will be considered paid.”

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