‘Little overdue’: Library book returned after 47 years

LAKE ELMO, Minn. — Better late than never: Nearly 50 years after it was borrowed, a car repair manual was returned to the library.

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The Washington County Library shared a video on its Facebook page that showed a package sent to the Lake Elmo Library with a book inside. The book, a car repair manual, had been borrowed in the 1970s and was never returned.

Karen Rodricks, a library services supervisor, opened the package and told WCCO that she was shocked to find the book inside.

Enclosed in the book, “Chilton’s Foreign Car Repair Manual,” was a handwritten note. Rodricks shared the note with WCCO, which read: “In the mid 1970s, I was living in Lake Elmo and working on an old Mercedes Benz. I took out this book for reference. A few months later, I moved and apparently the book got packed up in the move. 47 years later, I found it in a trunk with other interesting things from the 1970s. It’s a little overdue, but I thought you might want it back. My apologies to anyone in Lake Elmo who was working on an old Benz in the last 47 years. I probably can’t afford the overdue charge, but I will send you enough for another book.”

There was $200 cash included with the note.

The Washington County Library said on its Facebook page that it doesn’t charge overdue fees, so the anonymous sender did not have to worry, and “we’re just glad to have the book back!”

“The library always needs money, and we can always, we probably will put it towards books,” Rodricks told WCCO.

Rodricks said the book’s condition is too poor for it to be in circulation, but that she plans to save the note.

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