Long-overdue Library Book Garners National Attention

Posted By:  Tina Walker Davis
Date Posted:  3/17/2023

Deschutes Public Library sees roughly 2,000 books returned to its locations every day. The vast majority of those are returned via the book drops inside and outside of each location. But one book was return via media mail, and it a bit overdue—by nearly 44 years.

The Hockey Trick, by Scott Corbett, was published in 1974 and was checked out by a Deschutes County Library customer in 1979. The book was never returned to the library that year. Instead, it made its way back to the library’s administrative offices in a media mail package along with a note from the sender: “To Whom It May Concern: Many apologies. This book was probably due in the late 1970s. Please accept this token of apology.” The sender included a $20 donation to the library for late return.

The library shared the story of the late return on its Facebook page on March 8, during National Return Library Books Week. It was then picked up by KOHD when local reporter Karli Olson noticed the social post. While the KOHD story and the library’s social post garnered local interaction, it wasn’t until a week later—when CNN picked up the story for their morning news segment on March 14—that the tale of the overdue library book was being told nationwide. That was quickly followed by stories with Fox News, Yahoo! News and Inside Edition.

Library staff were surprised with the national attention.

“I think it’s been a great opportunity to share a feel-good story with the public,” said Library Operations Manager Mayra Corn, who did an interview on Thursday, March 16, with Inside Edition. “Anytime we can remind the public about all the ways libraries make a difference—it’s a great thing.”

As for the long-overdue copy of The Hockey Trick: it will remain on display in the library’s administrative offices, a reminder that it’s never to late too get something off your chest—or in the mail.

Page Last Modified Wednesday, March 8, 2023