Long overdue book makes its way back to Ann Arbor District Library -- after 70 years

The book checked out by Mary Rowland was published in 1929. (Ann Arbor District Library)

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor District Library recently received perhaps one of its longest overdue books ever.

“Social Studies in the Public Schools of Ann Arbor, Michigan Grades Three to Six” was checked out sometime in the 1940s by local art teacher Mary Rowland Fischer. She worked at Tappan Middle School and Northside Elementary until her retirement in 1966.

The book was discovered by her daughter-in-law, Kari Magill, who was going through things at Mary’s home, which Magill now lives in.

Magill recently sent the book back to AADL with the following note:

Please accept this (rather late) overdue book return. Apparently Mary Rowland overlooked the due date. She was a local teacher, preparing to start a family at the time. Perhaps you might consider waiving the fine, as Mary passed away in 1967?


Kari Magill

Needless to say, library staff were thrilled that the book -- a snapshot of educational history in Ann Arbor -- landed back in their hands.

“The book is in excellent condition and includes lesson plans, learning objectives, suggestions for activities, and more,” wrote AADL’s marketing director Rich Retyi. “The library is happy to waive the late fee—POOF!—and we love this story and it’s great to see a book from the Ann Arbor Public Library of the 1940s.”

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.