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Library book a century overdue is finally returned to Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minnesota –

A library book awaited for more than a century has finally been returned to St. Paul, Minnesota.

Titled “Famous Composers” and featuring Bach and Mozart, the tome appeared while someone was sorting through a relative’s belongings. The St. Paul Public Library’s payment slip shows it was last borrowed in 1919, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

On Saturday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter joked in a tweet that there would be no fines. The library, like many others across the country, stopped charging late fees in 2019.

The future of the book is uncertain. John Larson, digital library coordinator for the St. Paul Public Library, said he doubted the work would be put back into circulation because of its delicate condition, but expected the library clings to it.

“It’s reached a point where it’s not just an old book, it’s an artifact. It has a bit of history,” he said.

Larson said that in his 25 years working for the library, it was the oldest book he had ever seen return.

“There have been one or two times where something has come back and maybe it’s been checked for 20 or 30 years, but nothing that looks like it’s been discovered for about 100 years,” he said.

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