Book Returned to Library after 81 Years

April 11, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. way back / ˈweɪ bæk / (adv.) – from a time long ago
Example: They met each other way back in 1990.

2. overdue / ˌoʊ vərˈdu / (adj.) – late or beyond the deadline, especially a required payment
Example: The overdue bills from last month need to be settled soon.

3. renovation / ˌrɛnəˈveɪʃən / (n.) – changes or repairs being made on something, especially a building
Example: The old, broken sink was replaced during the renovation.

4. infer / ɪnˈfɜr / (v.) – to reach a conclusion from the given facts or evidence
Example: The police inferred who the owner of the abandoned car was from the clues they found.

5. waive / weɪv / (v.) – to let something pass without consequence
Example: The student did not have to pay anything because the librarian waived the overdue fee.


Read the text below.
A book borrowed from the Albany Public Library in Oregon was finally returned—81 years after it was due.

The book was a copy of American Railway Transportation, found in good condition even if it was published way back in 1907. The long overdue book was discovered in a 116-year-old home in Albany, Oregon, when one of the carpenters, Amy Shaumann [SHAW-muhn], tore down the hollow inner wall of the house during renovation.

How the book ended up in the old house is still a mystery. Hasso Hering, a resident of the area interested in the old Albany house, started investigating about the book after he was informed of its discovery.

From his investigations, Hering found that the book was checked out by a man named Dallas W. Lovett, who worked at the Southern Pacific Railroad. The exact year that the book was borrowed was not indicated on its library card, but Hering inferred that it was checked out on April 24, 1935.

At the time, the library imposed an overdue fee of 1 cent per day. If the borrower had returned it in the present, he would have been charged a total overdue fee of $295. The fee was waived, however, because the borrower had already died in 1983.

Stories of books returned long after their due are not unusual. Among others, a book once borrowed by the first US President George Washington in 1789 was returned to the New York Society Library more than two hundred years after it was borrowed. The book accumulated $300,000 worth of overdue fees, which the library also waived. The book was returned in a ceremony in 2010.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you found an interesting library book that was long overdue, what would you do with it?
·         What is a fair penalty for people who fail to return library books on time?

Discussion B

·         What are the possible reasons why some of the things people borrow do not get returned right away?
·         What conditions do you set when a person borrows something from you?

April 11, 2016