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Never Too Late to Return an Overdue Library Book

overdue_stampIn 1936, 12 year old Thomas McArdle checked out a brand new history book from the Chestnut Street Elementary School library in Scottdale, PA. The book, The Birth of Rome by Laura Orvieto, told the story of Rome’s development, and the young McArdle needed it for his 6th grade history paper. “I just fell in love with the book and then I did a nasty thing, I kept the book. I read it about three or four times after that,” he explains in the Daily Courier. “I majored in history in college. That book, that class, and that teacher made a big difference in my life. I still read about Roman and European history.” For 73 years McArdle kept the book, taking it with him as he moved around the U.S. Recently, he contacted his cousin, who still resides in Scottdale, to help him return the book to its rightful owners.

The book, along with an apologetic letter, was delivered to the school district Superintendent, and now has a place on the Southmoreland Middle School history wall. “I was an English teacher and I love a good story and what an amazing story this one is. This book has taken quite a journey to come back to us,” says Principal Daniel Clara. When asked about any fines levied, he replies: “I don’t know what a fee would be on a book that has been overdue for 73 years but we are going to wave the fee since it has been returned.”

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