Children’s book returned to Toronto library after 43 years

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Knock, knock. Who’s there?

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Just a Toronto Public Library book, Nicholas Knock and Other People: Poems, by Toronto author Dennis Lee, that was recently returned to the Danforth-Coxwell branch after being taken out in — wait for it — 1978.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know where it was and why it was with the customer for so long,” Michelle Leung, Communications Officer for the Toronto Public Library, said in an emailed statement to the Sun.

“While it’s not usual to hold onto a book for quite that long, we always welcome library books back,” she said. “This particular title is a children’s poetry book. Earlier this year, we announced that we are eliminating kids’ overdue fines in a move to remove barriers to library access.”

To date, the Facebook posting about the 43-year book return has prompted some ten comments.

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A book of poems checked out in 1978 was finally returned to the Danforth/Coxwell Library last month.
A book of poems checked out in 1978 was finally returned to the Danforth/Coxwell Library last month. Photo by Danforth/Coxwell Library /Facebook

“Smart. They must have been waiting till late fees are being waived. ; ),” wrote Sandra Mifsud

“I have one word. Seinfeld!” wrote Susan Lagosky.

If you recall, The Library episode of the ’90s sitcom Seinfeld found the title character Jerry with a library fine from 1971 for the book Tropic of Cancer and he was confronted by tough-talking library investigator Mr. Bookman (memorably played by acclaimed charactor actor Phllip Baker Hall).

But before you think we can all publicly shame the borrower of Lee’s book back in Toronto, Leung said the library doesn’t “keep/share customer borrowing information.”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

However, she did say “people are responsible for returning materials, and those who don’t will still need to pay the replacement cost.”

Lee, now 82, is perhaps best known for writing the children’s rhymes book, 1974’s Alligator Pie.

jstevenson@postmedia.com

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