Two books—“Basic Principles of Speech” and “Preface to Critical Reading”—were returned to the Portland State University library earlier this month after more than five decades on loan, reports the Washington Post.
The books were returned with a note:
“Borrowed” these books about 1963 for my high school speech class. They have moved with me many times. It is now time for them to go back home. Outdated—yes—but I’ll let you decide their fate now.
The library does not charge delinquent borrowers late fees but does charge for a book’s replacement. The Washington Post report indicates librarians never knew the books were missing, and have no plans to reenter them into circulation.
Here’s what we know about the suspect: he/she was in a high school speech class in Portland in 1963; he/she moved “many times” over the years but is still in the Portland area; he/she uses em dashes and has a rather lovely lowercase “Y.” The adorably disorganized and, frankly, impotent librarians at Portland State don’t have records from the time the books were borrowed. No late fees, no records, and no idea a couple of books had been missing for half a century. Good work, librarians.