43-Year-Old Overdue Book Returns to Newport News Library

The Grissom Library branch in Newport News, Virginia has recently made an unusual discovery in their book return box. A book, entitled “How Wars Begin” by A.J.P. Taylor, has been anonymously returned to the library after being overdue for 43 years. The book was due on March 23, 1980, and its return has set a new record for the Newport News Public Library.

In an Instagram post, the library wrote, “The Grissom Library’s staff had a most unusual book returned in their book drop. The book was due on March 23, 1980! We believe this is a new record for a late returned book for the Newport News Public Library.” Despite the long wait, the library has no checkout records that go back that far and will only be offering their thanks to the mystery returner.

This is not the first time a long overdue book has been returned to a library in recent years. Last month, a British library was taken by surprise when a man returned a book that was due in 1964, 58 years late and with 42,340 pounds in late fees. Another library in Oklahoma, United States, received a book 46 years after it was due in September of 1976.

Overdue book returns have become a trend in recent years, with many libraries reporting similar instances of books being returned after several decades. These instances highlight the importance of libraries and the role they play in preserving knowledge and culture for future generations. The Newport News Public Library’s gratitude towards the mystery returner serves as a reminder of the impact libraries have on their communities.