• December 11, 2023

Scientist Returns Life-Changing Overdue Library Book After 60 Years

LINTON, IN (WTWO/CNN) – Paying fines for late library books can be a pain.

But after holding a bug book for decades, a scientist in Indiana who is paying up says the book helped launch his career. Jennifer White, the Linton Public Library director, said she has never known of anyone to return an overdue book so many years later.

The person who held the book, Larry Murdock, didn’t intend to become that person. “It was the right thing to do, and it occurred to me that maybe after all those years there are still kids out there who might get some benefit from it,” Murdock said.

In 1956, Murdock was just eight years old when he checked out the Moths of the Limberlost from the Linton Public Library. His love for this book launched a career, and he eventually became Purdue’s distinguished professor of entomology. “I realized that this is exactly what I love,” Murdock said, “insects and especially moths.”

Sixty years later Murdock found the book in a box and realized he had to right a wrong, and returned the book and pay his overdue fine of $436.44. With the money Murdock paid, the library purchased new computers for its children’s section.

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