Veteran once stationed at Fort Gordon returns library book 50 years overdue

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019
News 12 This Morning

A book was returned to Reese Library 50 years after it was checked out. (Source: WRDW)

(WRDW/WAGT) -- Probably all us at one time or another have returned a library book late, but the one just returned to Augusta University may take the cake.

Their library just got one back that's nearly 50 years overdue. It was only a few months ago when Melissa Johnson learned a book missing for decades had re-surfaced.

"People are usually trying to avoid paying their library fines. They don't want to admit that they have a library book," laughed Johnson, the assistant director for Reference and Education Services at AU's Reece Library.

This library fine would've been a hetfy one. That's because the Mark Twain book had been missing for 48 years. In the meantime, the library had replaced it with a different book.

"Someone had sent a message on there saying he had been stationed at Fort Gordon either between 1970 or 71, and he found this book in his house that said that it belonged to the Augusta College Library."

The Augusta College Library is now called the Reece Library. John Ham is the veteran who returned Twain's book, 1601.

"We responded to him 'Oh we'd love to have the book back we sent him our address and 2 weeks later he returned the book."

The book will now sit in a special collection, where it can be looked at but not checked out again.

"If the book provided him a little bit of pleasure at that point in time - we were kind of appreciative of that."

The value of the book isn't in money, but in something else.

"It's not a valuable book. It's just the sentimentality just knowing what the book has gone through​."

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