Bob Dylan’s “Self Portrait” album was ahead of its time – and 48 years overdue at an Ohio library.
Howard Simon finally returned his borrowed copy of Dylan’s quirky double LP to the Heights Libraries, where he checked it out as an eighth grader in 1973.
“As a recent retiree, I am taking the opportunity to turn my attention to some of the many vignettes of life that by dint of career and family have been neglected these many years,” Simon, now living in San Francisco, said in a letter to the library that he copied in a Facebook post.
“In that context, I am returning with this letter an overdue item (by my count, approximately 17,480 days overdue as of this writing) that I borrowed from the library in the spring of 1973 when I was 14 and in 8th grade at Wiley [Middle School]. So it’s quite late, and I’m quite sorry!”
The album wasn’t in the best shape when he borrowed it and it hasn’t gotten much more “wear and tear” in the decades since he took it out, he said.
“This is true primarily because ‘Self Portrait’ is among Dylan’s least-loved albums … and the library’s copy has spent most of these many decades in my collection quietly sandwiched between its predecessor and successor releases (“Nashville Skyline” and “New Morning,” respectively), which were, and remain, far more listenable,” Simon wrote.
He included a $175 check to the library as atonement for what he called a minor transgression “given the weakness of the album.”
The manager of the University Heights branch of the library said in a post on the library website she was surprised by the return of the item, due in June 1973, and by the donation.
“The funny thing about this is that we don’t charge overdue fines anymore–as long as we get the item back, we see no need to penalize people,” Philips said in an article describing the return.
“We’re grateful that Mr. Simon returned the record. I’d said we can now call it even.”
Simon also included a donation of Simon’s own album, “Western Reserve” which the library may include in its music collection, the article said.