On Feb. 14, 1904, somebody curious concerning the rising potentialities of a key pressure of nature checked out James Clerk Maxwell’s “An Elementary Treatise on Electrical energy” from the New Bedford Free Public Library.
It will take 119 years and the sharp eyes of a librarian in West Virginia earlier than the scientific textual content lastly discovered its approach again to the Massachusetts library.
The invention occurred when Stewart Plein, the curator of uncommon books at West Virginia College Libraries, was sorting by means of a current donation of books.
Plein discovered the treatise and seen it had been a part of the gathering on the New Bedford library and, critically, had not been stamped “Withdrawn,” indicating that whereas extraordinarily overdue, the e-book had not been discarded.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 mentioned Friday. “Somebody clearly stored this on a pleasant bookshelf as a result of it was in such fine condition and doubtless obtained handed down within the household.”
The treatise was first revealed in 1881, two years after Maxwell’s loss of life in 1879, though the cranberry-colored copy now again on the New Bedford library shouldn’t be thought-about a uncommon version of the work, Melo mentioned.
The library often receives books as a lot as 10 or 15 years overdue, however nothing anyplace near a century or extra, she mentioned.
The treatise was revealed at a time when the world was nonetheless rising to know the chances of electrical energy. In 1880, Thomas Edison acquired a historic patent embodying the ideas of his incandescent lamp.
When the e-book was final in New Bedford, the nation was getting ready for its second fashionable 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 e-book is a testomony to the sturdiness of the printed phrase, particularly in a time of computerization and instantaneous entry to unfathomable quantities of knowledge, Melo mentioned.
“The worth of the printed e-book is it is not digital, it is not going to vanish. Simply holding it, you get the sense of somebody having this e-book 120 years in the past and studying it, and right here it’s in my fingers,” she mentioned. “It’s nonetheless going to be right here 100 years from now. The printed e-book is at all times going to be invaluable.”
The New Bedford library has a 5-cent-per-day late payment. At that fee, somebody returning a e-book overdue by 119 years would face a hefty payment of greater than $2,100. The excellent news is the library’s late payment restrict maxes out at $2.
One other lesson of the discover, in keeping with Melo? It is by no means too late to return a library e-book.
- Extraordinarily overdue e-book returned to Massachusetts library 119 years later
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