Record returned to library nearly five decades late

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 5:36 PM MST|Updated: Jul. 8, 2021 at 7:44 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Better late than never?

“I was surprised that we had records in the system, if I’m being completely honest,” said Shawn Moser, with Woods Memorial Library.

Moser and Shivam Patel, who also works at the library, were taken back almost 50 years while working in circulation. After just talking about the oldest returns they’d seen, a record return was about to walk in.

“A couple (of) hours before I just checked in an item that was 361 days old,” Patel said.

“We’ve seen some 10 years, some 20 years,” Moser said. “I would say usually a year or two.”

When a man strolled in holding a Bessie Smith record, returning it nearly 50 years after it was due back, they couldn’t believe it.

“We were just gawking at each other,” said Patel.

The man told the two workers he had been going through some of his records and personal items, when he spotted the unreturned album. It was due back Nov. 13, 1973.

“I guess it got the better of him, and he decided he should return it,” Moser said.

The library system stopped circulating vinyl sometime in the 1980s, but there’s no exact date.

The record was returned in the plastic and in good enough condition to play. If the library had gone by the fines listed on the back, the late fees would have cost about $1,700.

Luckily, the library has done away with fees so there was no charge.

“In this situation, he got very lucky,” Moser said.

The record was actually checked out at the Woods Memorial Library, the same it was returned to.

At that time, the library had been open for only five years. The record will not go back into circulation but will fina a home with an employee instead.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.