'It was pretty overdue': Idaho library book returned 110 years after being checked out

Posted at 9:35 AM, Nov 26, 2021

BOISE, Idaho — A book made its way back to the Boise Public Library about 110 years past its due date, according to library assistant Anne Marie Martin.

"I think we were all very surprised," Martin said. "You know, you kind of wondered what its story was and how it ended up there. Was it in somebody's box? Did somebody pass away? Did they move? You know, what happened? We'll never know. but you could imagine all types of fun stories about it."

The book was checked into a library in nearby Garden City, Idaho. Library workers noticed it had a Boise Library sticker, so they sent it over to the Boise Public Library.

"We all went, 'Hmm, that's weird.' There is no record of this in our catalog. It says Nov. 8 of 1911, so obviously, it was pretty overdue," Martin said.

The copy of "New Chronicles of Rebecca" found its way back to the library shelf over a century later, but it's unclear how it got there or where it has been all of these years.

According to Martin, records from the Carnegie public library in Boise from Aug. 4, 1912, indicate that at the time, the library would have considered the book lost and paid for, missing or kept by subscribers.

The book initially cost $1.50. The Boise Library stopped charging for overdue books in 2019. But if they still did, the late fee would have totaled more than $800.

"The condition is great. It's a really good example of what libraries used to do before they had barcodes and things," Martin said.

The paper records are long gone, so it will be nearly impossible to know who checked it out. The book now sits in the Idaho Room at the library.

This story was originally published by Nicole Camarda on Scripps station KIVI in Boise, Idaho.