By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The staff at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne got a surprise last week when a Virginia man let them know he had discovered a 100-year-old book taken from the library at an antique mall.
The man reached out to the library staff last week with photos of the book “Gulliver’s Travels” he found in the Virginia Beach Antique Mall that carried an inscription indicating that it was acquired by the library in 1921.
Library spokeswoman Kasey Mossey told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that the man said the classic book was tucked away among other books when he found it.
“The book could have wound up in Virginia Beach through a wide variety of happenstance,” Mossey told Cowboy State Daily. “Someone could have never turned it in and the book was passed along through their possessions, or the book very likely could have been weeded out of the collection at some point and sold or donated elsewhere.”
Mossey noted that in 1921, “Gulliver’s Travels” would have been housed in the Carnegie Library, which was demolished in 1971.
Like the titular character, the book has likely been on many adventures and been passed through many hands (although likely not as tiny as the Liliputians of the book).
Mossey shared the story of the book’s discovery on social media on Friday, where it attracted many reactions and comments.
“It was very cool seeing a piece of Cheyenne history wind up all the way in Virginia and it was even cooler that someone took the time to share it with us!” Mossey told Cowboy State Daily.
In addition to sharing photos of the book, she also shared information about a state law passed in 1921 that prohibited the mutilation of books. According to the law, anyone caught defacing a book could be fined anywhere from $10 to $100 or spend up to 30 days in jail.
Mossey did say there would be no late fees, fines or warnings issued for the person responsible for absconding with the book. Which is a good thing for the culprit.
Even though no one knows exactly when the book disappeared from the library, even assuming it has been gone for only 50 years, the fine at 10 cents per day would total $1,825. However, the library’s policies specify it will charge only a maximum of $2 for late fees.