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The mystery of the 49-year-old overdue library book has been solved

Larry Corrigan has been living in Nova Scotia, and put the book in the library return slot during a recent trip to Copper Cliff
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A photo of Larry Corrigan's note on the checkout card. (Supplied)

The mystery of how a (very) overdue library book came to be returned to the Greater Sudbury Public Library has been solved.

The book, “Great Moments in Chess,” was taken out by a man named Larry in 1970, and returned to the library's Copper Cliff branch — 49 years late.

It was accompanied by a note on the signout card inside the book (do you remember those?) that said “Librarian: sorry - I’m an outrageously slow reader...but here’s the book back.”

The library shared a photo of the extremely late book return on its Twitter page April 26, and local news media picked up on the story, including Sudbury.com.

After hearing the story on a local radio station, a man named Dave got in touch with library staffer Jessica Watts, saying he thought the person who returned the book was his uncle Larry Corrigan, and put them in touch.

Watts received an email from Corrigan, who shared how he came to return the late library book.

It turns out Corrigan, who was in Copper Cliff recently for a family gathering at the Italian Club, has been living in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the better part of 50 years.

Here's the email he sent to Watts:

Hello Jessica,

Thanks for your note. So glad that the story of the book return gave a smile to so many people. I was hoping to deliver it to you in person but the Library was closed (Library funding cutbacks??). I don’t have another 49 years on my countdown clock - so I just put it in the door slot.
 
Would rather not do a newspaper interview but feel free to share the information in this email. I was in Copper Cliff for a family gathering at the Italian Club.

I have been living in Nova Scotia for the better part of 50 years. I have been protecting that book the whole time. My deceased dad, Cecil Corrigan, would haunt me if he thought I wouldn’t return a library book!

Sorry to hear that the book won’t be re-shelved. Yes, it is dated but the 'Great Moments in Chess' are still relevant today. If the library would like to purchase a new chess book I would be happy to pay the cost. Please let me know.

Really enjoyed reading the social media comments. Hilarious.

I wish you all the best from Halifax.

Larry Corrigan




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Heidi Ulrichsen

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