Sacramento Public Library

A tale of a well-traveled travel book

Lost Japan guidebook becomes our feel-good story of the summer.

The cover of Eyewitness Travel Japan advertises “The guides that show you what others only tell you.” 

This book really did show us something—when it arrived in a large envelope from Japan after being lost for months. As one of our patrons put it to ABC News10, “That goes to show you how good and kind people can be.”

The saga of Eyewitness Travel Japan began when it was checked out on April 25. The patron who had checked it out reported it lost in May and paid a replacement fee.

Then an orange-and-white package with Japanese writing printed on it arrived at our office on August 8. It was postmarked July 17.

When we opened it, we found the book and a note that read “To Sacramento Public Library, I found and picked up the book Eyewitness Travel Japan near Ueno Station, Tokyo, Japan. And saw that the book was borrow from Sacramento Public Library. So I would like to send this book the place that was borrow.”

Now we’d heard that people in Japan are very polite and considerate, but this went above and beyond. Still, we didn’t expect our Facebook post thanking the person to become one of the most-shared stories we’d ever posted.

Or for several radio and television stations to do stories. Here’s the ABC News10 story on the book, and another by CBS affiliate KOVR. Both stories also traveled a great deal, appearing on local news stations around the country.

We’re happy to report that Eyewitness Travel Japan is in good shape and will soon go back into circulation. The patron is getting a refund. The thoughtful person in Japan will soon receive a copy of The Slender Poe, the new Edgar Allan Poe collection from the I Street Press, our in-house publishing arm. We’re releasing it in cooperation The Poe Project contest and film festival from the Capital Film Arts Alliance, coming to the Crest Theatre on Friday, September 13, as part of the 14th Annual Sacramento Film & Music Festival.

Here’s the funny thing: our travel guide saga doesn’t even take the distance record for the month. That distinction goes to a Sicily travel guide which someone mailed 10,000 miles back to a Library in Australia. Earlier in August, a library in Kentucky received one of their books that had been lost 150 years earlier.

It just goes to show you.

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