In a story that would make Detective Bookman proud, Arizona’s Camelback High School received a package this month containing two half-century-overdue library books. Though neither was by Seinfeld’s favorite Henry Miller, the school was glad if a bit baffled to retrieve its aged copies of Community of Living Things: Forests and Woodlands and Field and Meadows. In an accompanying letter, the tardy bookworm described himself as “almost a graduate” of the school who, in 1958, was suddenly whisked away to Colorado by his parents without the chance to return his library property. He further explains that 51 years of late fees calculated at 2 cents a day would add up to $750, but he sent $1000 just in case the fees had risen. The school district, in fact, no longer charges late fees but was glad to have this generous donation for “book funds.” School librarian Georgette Bordine will put the books and letter on temporary display in the library. Gadfly finds his little entomological heart warmed by such dedication to the printed word.

Overdue books returned 51 years later,” by Betty Reid, The Arizona Republic, November 14, 2009

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