You won’t believe why this book was returned to Dayton library 16,863 days late

A Beavercreek woman has FINALLY returned a library book she did not want to read in the first place.

And it was ONLY 16,863 days late.

Theresa Gasper, a Dayton native and president of Full Circle Development, returned "Cricket Songs: Japanese haiku translated by Harry Behn," to the Dayton Metro Library Saturday during The Main Event, a grand opening party organized by the library's foundation.

>> PHOTOS: Were you spotted at the new downtown Dayton Metro Library’s Main Event?

It was due more than 46 years ago on Feb 20, 1971. 

In the years that have passed, Gasper says she never got through the book partly because she kind of hates haiku.

She thinks she checked the book out for school or something.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Gasper felt guilty over the years that it was never returned.

She wondered: At what point is it too late to return?
"That's like dust bunnies in the closet, my skeleton in the closet," she said.

The book was in her parents’ home until about 12 years ago when her father gave it to her.

“It has been sitting on my shelf all that time, and I have been looking at it,” said Gasper, who was raised in Dayton’s South Park neighborhood.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

>> MORE: Guide to South Park 

At the party, Gasper asked Tim Kambitsch, Dayton Metro Library's executive director, to calculate what her fee would be after more than 45 years.

>> MORE: Daytonian of the Week: Tim Kambitsch

When 10-year-old Theresa Wiedman (now Gasper) checked the book out in 1971, the fine was 2 cents a day for children’s books.

Gasper says she plans to donate the $337.26 to the library.

Kambitsch said that there is actually a cap to how much can be owed for overdue books, but is thankful for Gasper’s donation.

There is now no fine for late children’s books.

It is rare, but from time to time, people do return books after decades, he said.

>> MORE: What fine? After 40 years, book returned 4,000-plus miles to Dayton library 

People have an emotional connection to libraries and sometimes feel shame over late books, Kambitsch said.

“They have this guilty feeling,” he said. “It really causes people to feel that they can’t come back.”

Gasper said she is relieved the book is back in its rightful place.

“At least I got that off my chest,” she said.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

About the Author