BOSTON — On Feb. 14, 1904, somebody curious in regards to the rising prospects of a key power of nature checked out James Clerk Maxwell’s “An Elementary Treatise on Electrical energy” from the New Bedford Free Public Library.
It could take 119 years and the sharp eyes of a librarian in West Virginia earlier than the scientific textual content lastly discovered its means again to the Massachusetts library.
The invention occurred when Stewart Plein, the curator of uncommon books at West Virginia College Libraries, was sorting by a current donation of books.
Plein discovered the treatise and observed it had been a part of the gathering on the New Bedford library and, critically, had not been stamped “Withdrawn,” indicating that whereas extraordinarily overdue, the ebook had not been discarded.
Plein contacted Jodi Goodman, the particular collections librarian in New Bedford, to alert her to the discover.
“This got here again in extraordinarily good situation,” New Bedford Public Library Director Olivia Melo stated Friday. “Somebody clearly stored this on a pleasant bookshelf as a result of it was in such good condition and possibly acquired handed down within the household.”
The treatise was first printed in 1881, two years after Maxwell’s dying in 1879, though the cranberry-colored copy now again on the New Bedford library isn’t thought-about a uncommon version of the work, Melo stated.
The library sometimes receives books as a lot as 10 or 15 years overdue, however nothing anyplace near a century or extra, she stated.
The treatise was printed at a time when the world was nonetheless rising to grasp the chances of electrical energy. In 1880, Thomas Edison obtained a historic patent embodying the rules of his incandescent lamp.
When the ebook was final in New Bedford, the nation was making ready for its second trendy World Collection, incumbent Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was on monitor to win one other time period, Wilbur and Orville Wright had performed their first airplane flight only a 12 months earlier than and New York Metropolis was celebrating its first subway line.
The invention and return of the ebook is a testomony to the sturdiness of the printed phrase, particularly in a time of computerization and on the spot entry to unfathomable quantities of data, Melo stated.
“The worth of the printed ebook is it’s not digital, it’s not going to vanish. Simply holding it, you get the sense of somebody having this ebook 120 years in the past and studying it, and right here it’s in my fingers,” she stated. “It’s nonetheless going to be right here 100 years from now. The printed ebook is all the time going to be helpful.”
The New Bedford library has a 5-cent-per-day late charge. At that price, somebody returning a ebook overdue by 119 years would face a hefty charge of greater than $2,100. The excellent news is the library’s late charge restrict maxes out at $2.
One other lesson of the discover, in accordance with Melo? It’s by no means too late to return a library ebook.
Story by Steve LeBlanc.