'Happy Birthday Baby Jesus' book returned to Bethlehem Area Public Library after 40 years

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Library book returned after 40 years
Library book returned after 40 years. Beccah Hendrickson has more on Action News at 6 p.m. on January 13, 2020.

BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Forty years after its due date, a children's book has found its way back to Bethlehem Area Public Library.

"It's so old, we have no records on it, we don't know who had it out. There's no barcode on it, we don't have it on our catalog," said Executive Director Josh Berk.

In the span of four decades, it's accumulated quite the potential overdue fee.

"Twenty cents a day, which is a lot for 40 years. We did the math, it was like $2,400 or something like that," said Berk. He did also say overdue fees are capped at the price of the book and in this case it was waived. That may have something to do with the title, "Happy Birthday Baby Jesus."

Around New Year's Eve, the book was dropped off at the library in Nazareth, and then last week, it traveled to Bethlehem.

"You know, we are Bethlehem so, this book about Jesus came home to Bethlehem after 40 years in the wilderness. It feels made up!" said Berk.

Berk says he has no idea who had it checked out or where it's been for the past 40 years.

Now, the library says it's getting a lot of requests to check the book out again.

"An out of print picture book from 40 years ago would probably be weeded out of the library's collection anyway, but now it's like the most famous book in our collection, it's like a little celebrity so I think we have to put a barcode on it and let someone check it out," said Berk.