Overdue Library Book Returned 75 Years Later

By Jason Hall

August 15, 2022

Old open antique book
Photo: Getty Images

A library book was recently returned to a New Jersey library 75 years after being checked out.

Bob Jablonski, 89, returned a copy of Oden Rudolph's book Hitler to the Jersey City Free Public Library last week, which he'd initially checked out at his school library, James J. Ferris High School Branch, in 1947 at the age of 14, according to the Hudson Reporter.

Jablonski said he recently found the book while reorganizing his family home and reached out to JCFPL in order to take the proper steps toward returning it.

The 89-year-old said he returned the book -- which warns the world about Adolf Hitler -- in perfect condition with its original reference card included and didn't have to pay any overdue fines.

JCFPL eliminated all overdue fines in March 2021, which made it the largest fine-and fee-free institution in the Garden State.

“The Jersey City Free Public Library decided to go fine free when we realized we were losing patrons who might have owed money for books they lost years ago,” said Assistant Director Kate Davis via the Hudson Reporter. “We want patrons in the library, and we do not want fines to discourage anyone from coming back to visit us.” 

“If anyone finds themselves in a similar situation to Mr. Jablonski, do not worry about owing thousands of dollars in fines – even after 70 years, Mr. Jablonski returned the book without owing anything, and so can you," Davis added.

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