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New Jersey library receives book return after 44-year mystery: 'Looking like new'

A lost library book about airplanes has been returned to its rightful owner in the Garden State. The tome’s whereabouts remained a mystery for over four decades.

The Mercer County Library System in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, notified its social media followers about the unexpected return earlier this month.

Photos uploaded by the library system show the returned book was a plain blue hardcover entitled “Back to Basics,” which was written by the 1977 editors of Flying Magazine, and was published by the Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.

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“This book finally found its way back to the library today after 44 years,” the Mercer County Library System wrote on Facebook and Twitter.

The library went on to note that the person who originally checked out the book was able to keep the checkout card “intact” and “looking like new.”

The blue checkout card, which stated the library book was due on Wednesday, July 25, 1979, disclosed that losing the card would incur a 10-cent fee.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Mercer County Library System for comment.

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The Mercer County Library System’s social media posts say the “Back to Basics” book was returned on Monday, April 3, 2023, meaning the book was returned 15,958 days after its due date.

The Mercer County Library System's Ewing Branch in Trenton, New Jersey

The Mercer County Library System’s Ewing Branch is located at 61 Scotch Road in Ewing Township, New Jersey. Ewing Township is located within the city of Trenton. (Google Maps)

The “Back to Basics” book, which dives into aircraft construction, cockpit mechanic and flight procedures, was checked out from the Mercer County Library’s Ewing Headquarters Branch in Trenton, New Jersey.

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Current online listings for Flying Magazine’s “Back to Basics” book on ThriftBooks.com and eBay have priced the introductory plane mechanics book at around $6.

Flying Magazine was established in 1927 and the niche trade publication continues to cover aviation news and airplane reviews.

Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. was acquired by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (AKA Wiley), an American multinational publishing company, in 1997, according to Berkery Noyes, a New York City-based independent investment bank focused on mergers and acquisitions.

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A hand returns a borrowed item at library book drop box.

Returning library books after the set due date can sometimes incur late fees. Policies vary at each library. (iStock)

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The Mercer County Library System was established in 1928 after locals voted in support of starting a county library the previous fall, according to the library system’s history-focused about page.

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