March 30, 2017

Clear your conscience: return that library book


Who among us does not know the dread of discovering in her closet an old library book, a borrowed-from-an-ex book, or a very-much-on-temporary-loan-from-a-professor-with-sentimental-attachments-to-it book (just saying)? It’s very embarrassing—sometimes too embarrassing—to return such materials. Even though we know we should.

Well, perhaps we should all take a page out of the book of a man in Great Falls, Montana who recently returned to his local library a copy of Richard Matheson’s 1975 novel Bid Time Return that he’d checked out thirty-five years ago.

For Atlas Obscura, Erik Shilling reports that the man included in his return a $200 donation to the library and “a written apology, which stated that he was ‘hoping for a chance for redemption here.’” He also read the book “at least 25 times” (so, on the bright side, it didn’t go to waste) and said “It’s one of the, if not the, greatest sci-fi/romance stories ever written.”

And now, at long last, some other patron of the Great Falls library may get the chance to read it.



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.