10 overdue books returned to library after being checked out in 1937

A Massachusetts library said 10 books returned to the facility by a man who found them in a box in his basement had been due back at the facility in 1937.

Bob Alvarez, 63, said he was going through the basement of his home in Methuen when he came across a box of books that had belonged to his aunt, Helen Godimis, a Somerville resident who died at age 16 in 1937.

Alvarez said he took a closer look at the books and discovered some of them had been checked out from the Somerville Public Library’s West Branch and the library of the school Godimis had attended.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God,'” Alvarez told the Boston Globe. “There were at least 10 books that had been taken out of the Somerville Public Library. The stickers from the library were still in them.”

Alvarez contacted the library, and brought the entire box of 39 books to the facility. Library officials said the box contained 10 books from the West Branch, as well as school library tomes and some items that must have been Godimis’ personal books.

The library books included “Carpenter’s New Geographical Reader: Asia,” which was published by the American Book Co. in 1923, and “Language Lessons from Literature, Book One,” which was published by Houghton Mifflin & Co. In 1903.

Alison Mitchell, a librarian and interim branch manager at the West Branch library, said the timing of the books’ return is fortuitous, as the facility is preparing to reopen July 12, after closing in 2018 for renovations. The library is currently offering curbside service.