You’ve probably read the stories of long-lost library books, and even perhaps cringed if you’ve been guilty of failing to return books yourself. But, the latest case involves one of the most famous (and collectible) stories, Bid Time Return, by Richard Matheson.

The story of the “purloined” library book was reported by the Great Falls Library, in Montana. Really how often do you have a case where the severely tardy library patron includes a note, claims to have read the book 25 times, and even returns the book — fully restored, with the author’s signature. (By the way, the author died in 2013.)

How to Explain The Theft?

In his heart-felt note, he explained: “This is not my book, it belongs back in the Great Falls Public Library – wrongfully taken, yes, but if you can, kindly take into consideration it has been loved and cared for all these years and know I am sorry for taking it.”

He also included a $200 donation with the infamous, autographed Bid Time Return. You can see that it was probably not a very difficult decision to accept the nicely refurbished book. While no library/librarian (or book geek) could possibly condone the thievery, you’ve got to admit that it’s an intriguing story.

It’s usually something of a mystery about where the book has been all those years, but now, we know exactly where it’s been, and it appears to have been very well loved and cared for. As Director Kathy Mora even said, “the effort and funds he put into caring for the book are remarkable.”


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