By Bill Shields

ATTLEBORO (CBS) – The Attleboro Public Library has been around since 1907.  They’ve had a few people walk away with books, and not return them, but the other day, a book came back that was checked out in November of 1938.

“From 1938 we have no records of whose book it was, you know we were not searching this person out,” says Librarian Amy Rhilinger.

The book was written by T.S. Arthur, and is titled “The Young Lady at Home” a kind of etiquette book, written in the 19th century. “It seemed to be some type of guide for behavior,” says Rhilinger.

Book returned to Attleboro Public Library 78 years later (Image credit: Attleboro Public Library)

A library regular found the book in a basement in bad shape moldy and torn. Library Staff members kept the book secure in an Attleboro archive but decided to get rid of it, fearing the mold could spread to other books.

Copy of The Young Lady at Home was returned to the Attleboro Public Library 78 years later (Courtesy photo)

Library Staff can’t help but wonder who checked the book out in 1938. Back then, the world was on the brink of war and maybe the person who checked it out was a young Attleboro woman who wanted to ignore it all.

“Who was it? was somebody sick and there was a family emergency or did they say ‘oh I thought my husband was going to return it, I thought Aunt Gertrude was going to return it,'” says Rhilinger.

These days, the library charges ten cents a day for an overdue book. So, if the person who checked it out in 1938 came forward, they would owe almost $3,000.

Bill Shields