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$3,700 was the late fee for a book that was 40 years past due, but no one was finedby Jean-Sun Ahn
Feel Good#BookReturned40yearsLater

Watch|  A Seattle Public Library employee discovered a book called 'Rattlesnakes' by J. Frank Dobie that had been finally returned to the library after 40 years, with an apology note. 


'Apology note inside the book' 

Kirk Blankenship, who is a selection librarian, was helping sort books that didn't have proper identification tags to check them back in, according to affiliate KOMO News. 

One in particular caught his eye. He opened the book to find a note inside that said, "Sorry, I just cleaned (started emptying) my bedroom closet. It was in a box." 

'Book returned after 40 years' 

"I started looking closer because I wanted to see what was going on and I noticed the due date card, and just the fact that there's a card at all is remarkable, we haven't used cards for years, and it said June 15, 1976," said Blankenship. The book was finally returned to the library after 40 years.


"I was like wow, this is a little piece of history in our hands," said Blankenship. "So many changes have happened to us and the city and everything else that it was remarkable for that."

Kirk Blankenship, Librarian

'Posted a picture of the book' 

Blankenship said he was so fascinated, he posted a picture of the book, note and due date card on the library staff intranet.  

The Library then tweeted out the photo over the weekend. 

"I think it says a lot about us and the relationship with the community and the idea that someone found it and didn't just shrug their shoulders and toss it aside."

Kirk Blankenship, Librarian

Blankenship said they're not sure if the person who returned the book is even the one who checked it out but he says he likes the idea that someone found the book and still made a trip to return the book to the library.

"Who knows the story, that's the part that's very interesting," he said. "But regardless, they knew were to find us and they brought it back and made a trip to the library just to do that." 

According to the Seattle Public Library website, the fine for overdue books is $0.25 a day with a maximum fine of $8. If there wasn't a limit, the fine would amount to $3,700. But Blankenship said that because the name of the person wasn't in their system anymore, there were no fines associated with the book.