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KOKOMO, Ind. — A book nearly 52 years overdue was recently returned to the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library.

The book “Little Men” by Louisa May Alcott arrived in the mail from New Mexico, along with a letter from the woman who checked it out when she was 11 years old.

The book, a sequel to Alcott’s “Little Women,” was due to be returned on July 31, 1969.

Melanie Faithfull told The Kokomo Tribune that she checked out the book, fell in love with it, and ended up keeping it past its due date. The book stayed with her when the family moved to Tennessee and then for decades after that.

Faithfull said she found “Little Men” while going through some books at her Santa Fe home. She mailed the book to the library along with an apologetic note and a donation to the library.

She told The Kokomo Tribune, “It wouldn’t cover what my entire fee would be if they had compound interest from 1969, but maybe it’ll keep them from being mad at me.”

Lias Fipps, director of marketing at Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, told The Tribune that library records didn’t even list the book as missing. She said the library doesn’t charge late fees for children’s or young adult books, but even at the rate in 1969, Faithfull would not have owed more than a $5 fine.

Fipps said the book will probably end up in an upcoming library sale. She told The Tribune she hopes to purchase the book for her own collection to commemorate Faithfull’s story.