Book returned to Wood Library nearly 50 years overdue

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Sun., Feb. 27, 2011
In her letter dated Jan. 15, 2011, Mable Snitzenfrozin explains that she is returning a book her grandfather borrowed from the Wood Library in 1963. Photos by Martha Marteney.
In her letter dated Jan. 15, 2011, Mable Snitzenfrozin explains that she is returning a book her grandfather borrowed from the Wood Library in 1963. Photos by Martha Marteney.

The staff at the Wood Memorial Library and Museum recently got quite a surprise, as a book from the 1940s that was nearly 50 years overdue was returned in its book drop one night.

In mid-January, the Wood Library received an unusual letter from Mable Snitzenfrozin, of Long Hill Valley, Ariz. In her letter, addressed simply to “Mr. Wood,” Snitzenfrozin wrote, “I am embarrassed that my grandfather never returned this book so I am returning it. I am not sure of the charge so I have sent what I can. Sorry. I hope this gets to you because my cousin Lloyd is bringing this to you and he is of a different generation. I hope you are still open.”

The letter had been left in the book drop, along with the book, entitled “Radio from Start to Finish,” by Franklin M. Reek. The book was added to the library’s collection in 1943 - the year it was published - and was checked out 19 times. According to the due date stamped inside of the book’s cover, the book was expected to be returned by Nov. 14, 1963. At that time, the Wood Memorial Library was the town’s public library.

“This is the kind of book boys would have loved to read,” said John Wadham, executive director of the Wood Library. “It would be like a book on the Internet now.”

Wadham indicated that the Wood Library will be donating the book to the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut, located in Windsor. “This will be our first donation to them,” said Wadham. “Mostly, they have old radios.” Although the book has some mold issues and the cover was torn, overall the book is in good condition. At the Radio Museum, the book will not be in circulation, but will be available for reference.

Snitzenfrozin sent along $23.84 with the book and her letter. “When I first saw the name [Snitzenfrozin], I thought it was a joke,” admitted Wadham, “but then there was the book and the money.”

“She certainly should be commended for getting the book back to us,” said Wadham.

“We haven’t calculated the late fee,” said Wadham jokingly. Late fees are only charged for the days the Wood Library is open, which is currently only Mondays and Thursdays. At 10 cents a day, on the library's current schedule, the fine would be approximately $10 per year. The book returned by Snitzenfrozin is nearly 50 years overdue.

Pleased with the return of this book, the Wood Library is considering an amnesty day for overdue books. The library staff encourages anyone with an overdue book to return it. “Don’t be embarrassed,” said Wadham, “just bring in your books.”


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