Lifestyle & Human Interest

Man Tries Returning Library Book That Was 55 Years Overdue to Old Middle School


You forgot, again. Your last trip to the library was weeks ago and now your books are overdue. You can drop them off in the drop-off box and avoid the embarrassment of face-to-face confrontation, but the charge will still show up on your account until you pony up and pay it off.

This is also why many people don’t lend books out. Even if you put your name and contact info on it, once a book is out of your hands, it’s as good as gone.

Harry Krame from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, had a surprising moment when he spotted a book on his shelves that wasn’t his but had been in his possession for 55 years.

“It lasted a few seconds,” he told WCBS-TV. “It was like, I still have (it), sorry about that.”

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At 13, he’d checked out “The Family Book of Verse” by Lewis Gannet from his school, and sidestepped the normal means of record-keeping by saying he had to remain anonymous.

“When he asked my name I told him I can’t give it to him because I was in the witness protection program,” he said. “I took it out to read and never brought it back.”

“We never saw it again,” the vice principal of the school, Dominick Tarquinio, said.

Krame showed up at Memorial Middle School to return the ancient tome. At ten cents a day for around 20,000 days, Krame could have been facing a hefty fine, but the school isn’t holding it against him.

“We’re not looking to collect,” the vice president assured him.

It has made an amusing tale, though, and one the school district has embraced and shared online.

“A library book overdue by more than half a century was returned yesterday to Memorial Middle School’s library, according to Vice Principal Tarquinio,” the Fair Lawn Public School District wrote on Facebook on March 14.

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“After being out for approximately 20,075 days, it was returned yesterday by an alumnus of MMS, who said he found the book after he cleaned out his basement. Mr. Tarquinio said the former student walked over to MMS and hand-delivered the book.”

“The book could not be scanned, as there were no barcodes on books back then.”

“Tonight, Vice Principal Tarquinio will be on WCBS-TV (Channel 2) and News 12 New Jersey (on Cablevision) talking about the overdue book — more than 50 years – that was returned to MMS this week,” the school wrote on March 15.

“Fair Lawn resident Harry Krame, who checked out the book when he was 13, was a good sport and agreed to participate in the interviews.”

Let this be a reminder to keep an eye out for books on your own shelves that might need returning!

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