Just a bit overdue? Book returned to Cape Breton library after 82 years

·2 min read

A copy of The Adventures of Doctor Dolittle has been returned to the Cape Breton Regional Library a bit overdue — 82 years overdue, to be exact.

Jordan Musycsyn found the book while doing some work on his house. The book was checked out of the Sydney Public Library in 1939.

Musycsyn said the woman who owned the house previously is the person who most likely checked out the book. Her family lived there for close to a century.

"She would have been like 10 years old or something, so I just thought it was interesting," he said.

The Cape Breton Regional Library stopped charging late fees for overdue books last year.

"Good thing there's no late fees since this one's 82 years overdue," said Musycsyn.

Matthew Moore/CBC
Matthew Moore/CBC

Nicole MacGibbons, the technical services librarian with the Cape Breton Regional Library, said the person who took the book from the library would have been in the clear anyway.

"It's worth pointing out that CBRL actually never charged late fees for children's books that were borrowed on a youth membership, which would have been the case for this particular book," she said.

If there had been a late fee, it would have been close to $3,000, said MacGibbons.

The library that housed the book burned down in 1959, along with roughly 80,000 books.

"This particular copy probably wouldn't be worth very much from a financial perspective, but it certainly is a remarkable book to us because of the history behind it," she said.

Musycsyn said he flipped through the book and noticed the back page was missing.

Matthew Moore/CBC
Matthew Moore/CBC

"Most likely her, as a child maybe, lost this page and was embarrassed," he said. "She couldn't bring this book back with the missing page."

The library and Musycsyn are hoping to get in contact with the family of the woman.

"I would be very interested to hear from some family about what they thought about the whole story," said Musycsyn.