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Missing book returned to Cincinnati Public Library 50 years later

library book returned after 50 years
Posted at 12:02 PM, Aug 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-17 14:02:50-04

CINCINNATI — One day, in 1972 or 1973, a teen walked out of the Cincinnati Public Library with a book that wouldn't make it back onto shelves for 50 years.

When it did reappear — in the Cincinnati Library's mailbox — it was sent with a note:

"To whom ever receives this, I am returning this book, which was not checked out, but was 'taken' from the Cincinnati Public Library (downtown, main branch) in or about 1972-1973. I was a young teen then. Anyway, I trust you will find it in good condition," the note said.

The note is dated July 26, 2022, though the Cincinnati Public Library posted a photo of the book and its accompanying note on August 13.

The book, "Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, did appear to be in good condition in the photo posted to the Cincinnati Public Library's Facebook page. Burroughs wrote many Tarzan books, but this particular piece of literature was one of the few he wrote aimed at teenagers.

What spurred the return of the book is unknown.

"The confession note says the date he took the book out, but doesn't say why he returned it," said Brian Powers, reference librarian in the downtown branch. "Obviously he felt bad — and probably heard that there's no late fees here at the library, we don't charge late fees. So this was probably a good opportunity this year to return the book."

The library eliminated fines for overdue materials in September 2021.

Powers said now that the book has finally come home, he hopes it will be just as appealing to teens today as it was to the teen who decided to keep it 50 years ago.

"It will get back into circulation — this book came out in 1963 and it's been not in our collection for 50 years, but now it's going to be a part of our collection again after all that time," said Powers. "It's fantastic that this is now back for somebody else to enjoy this book."

This article was written by Felicia Jordan for WCPO.