Book Borrowed 120 Years Ago Returned to Pennsylvania Library

The staff at Carbondale Public Library in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, recently witnessed an unusual event that they probably never encountered before in their careers. A book that was borrowed from the same library almost 120 years ago ended up being returned earlier this month.

Carbondale Public Library shared the story on their Facebook, revealing that the book, The Cruise of the Esmeralda by Harry Collingwood, was originally taken in 1904 by a man named Horace Short. Mr. Short never got around to returning the book, and the library considered it forever lost.

However, their colleagues at Hawley Library in Wayne County discovered the book during a book sale and reached out to Carbondale Public Library in order to return it. The book was in great condition and had an original pocket with library rules alongside a library card from 1904.

Carbondale Public Library now plans to display the book as part of the celebration for its 150th anniversary. However, it won’t return to circulation to avoid the risk of it being lost for another century.

“If we use the cost of the book when he checked it out, it would have come out about $870 for a late fee. If we use today’s fine, which is 25 cents a day, it comes out to over $10,000, so Horace is very lucky that we cap book finds at $10 now,” librarian Jessica Pratt told WNEP.